As you all know by now, as students go through Main Street Philanthropy, they are encouraged to blog each week about their experience – what they’re learning, the impact the course is having, etc. The number of incredible insights is way beyond our ability to share each and every one, but here and there we extract and share them.
This particular blog entry was written by a student from our MSP class in New Jersey. Read it, enjoy it, and if you feel so inclined, share your thoughts, or even consider supporting other students’ ability to participate in Main Street Philanthropy!
I cannot believe it is already over. It feels as if I was just walking into the Key Club room for the first session of Main Street Philanthropy where I met Mr. Levey and received my sacred course book. This journal will act as a reflection on all my work and progress through this course as well as a look to the future.
The thing I will remember most about Main Street Philanthropy will be the people. The reason I love activities like this is because it is a place to meet similar minded service lovers. Talking with others who had the same passions and visions as me was invigorating. Knowing that my concerns were not singular was comforting. A valuable lesson I learned during these weeks was how to handle my money when giving to charities. For me philanthropy has always meant doing service and giving time to a cause. Now that I earn my own funds through jobs, I want to be able to donate smartly, making sure that the money I give is being used wisely and towards the actual cause of the organization. I know that the experience I had with this course only got me more enthusiastic about donating my time and money towards causes I am concerned about.
If I was to give advice to a nonprofit organization looking to receive support from a philanthropist I would say a key factor is solid communication. If an organization returns calls and emails, and has dedicated members who are willing to explain and answer questions about their cause, people are more likely to volunteer and donate.
To others who are considering the Main Street Philanthropy Course– I say DO IT!!! It never hurts to try something you are curious about, or interested in, because you never know the positive results you can gain from a unique opportunity such as this. Programs like this one do not exist everywhere, and getting the chance to be a part of one is quite special. I can guarantee that people of all types and interests kind find a takeaway from this course, whether thats learning more about yourself, donations, charities, worldly causes, team work or planning a fundraiser.
I would rather be given $25 to keep than $250 to give away. Now I know this answer seems selfish but the reason I would rather be given funds is because when donating you get no control over where your money is going and you are not included in the process of it being used to help a cause. If I was given $25 of my own I would use it towards creating my own event to support a cause I care about. For example, last year I created a Battle of the Bands at my school on a budget of $0, lots of planning, and a great support system, and we raised over $800! It is possible that with $25 more than $250 could be raised and during the process you can have the power over where your money is going and who it is impacting. I know at the beginning of this course I would have chosen option b, to donate $250, because at first glance it seems like the better answer. But what Main Street Philanthropy gets you to do, is think deeper and harder about the change one can create, and become more creative with what resources you are presented.
~Ilina G., High School Student and Philanthropist
Thank you Ilina for your insight, your wisdom, and participation in Main Street Philanthropy! It’s young adults like you that give us the confidence that there is hope for our future! There are capable minds to lead us now and in the future. Keep up the great work!