Last Week

After 10 weeks of dedication, perseverance and diligence, we have reached the end of this program. I am feeling a lot of weird emotions right now–I guess the best way to put it is I am feeling withdrawal. This program is addicting and realizing that it is ending makes me feel sad but also happy that I had a chance to participate in this program. I am grateful for the chance I was given to make a difference in my community. This program is something special. I think the lesson that this program taught me that I am most thankful for is that everything is possible. During this program, we were tasked with doing things that I never thought was possible or even permit-able. For instance, we COLD-CALLED CEOs and we asked businesses to donate money to our causes! Before this program, I would never have done such a thing! This program opened my eyes to the idea that anything is possible and that one cannot know if he or she doesn’t try.

In addition, to these invaluable life lessons, I have left this program with many blissful memories. It was addicting helping out a cause and I will definitely be doing more philanthropy work in the future thanks to Main Street Philanthropy which gave me the confidence and the optimistic mentality to do so. I think this program is very important because it helps individualistic development and advocates worldly awareness. For anyone who is considering doing this program, I 100% recommend it. It will change your life as it has changed mine (:

Week 7

This week we didn’t have much time to do things because of the impending midterms and truckload of work. The 3 Natives day made $124, and the manager generously donated more to give us $300! Partnering with businesses is really a great way to help both your cause and your community. Now 3 Natives has even more Benjamin exposure and they have helped end hunger.

We have officially decided on Feeding Children Everywhere as our organization of choice. We really would like to start a Hunger Project at our school, which would be a way to have the most impact on the school community despite the fundraising and awareness limitations. If we can host the project at school in the gym, we can invite all the students and faculty to come help us. We raised $1,910 so far, and when Main Street Philanthropy matches it, this will let us package about 16,000 meals for the hungry. The best part is we can choose where to send the food, anywhere from local neighborhoods to Africa or South America.

Hopefully, we can continue to fundraise throughout the winter break. If so, we can probably boost our numbers even more. I’m looking forward to hearing from the mother-daughter philanthropist team this week!

Week 6 and 7

From week six to now, I have been very busy (mainly with school but also philanthrophy) and was not able to blog. However, I now have time now to catch up. Our group has gone through a lot of changes since my last post. Our biggest change was changing our group’s focuss. We originally wanted to do something with organizations that focussed on social justice and civil rights. However, due to my friend’s recent passing, we decided to switch our focuss to organizations that assist in preventing suicide. In this way, we can show love towards our friend as well as help others. During this thanksgiving break, we were also able to finalize our mission statement and vision statement. We also started planning our fundraising. We decided we wanted to at least raise 300 dollars but our goal is 1,000. We decided to approach our fundraising by seekig out the assistance of local businessess. We were able to set up a donation box at Jupiter donuts (a great place to get delicious donuts) and I called seven businesses in a row for the same effort. The calls were great practice and I felt my communication skills improved through the repititious calling. In addition to the donation box, we also plan to have a meeting with Pelican carwash tomorrow to see if they can assist us as well. Besides, these efforts, I am going to set up a facebook page to spread awareness to our cause and see if we can get donations. One of our teachers, also suggested that we do a letter campaign: I think we are going to try that as well and see how successful it is.

During week seven, we had another panel of organizations enter our classroom. In this run, one of the organizations I emailed was present: it was a member of the Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition. We really liked her presentation and are seriously thinking about picking her organization for our project.

In reflection of these last few weeks, I feel I had grown. Through having to make many calls and organize meetings for our philanthropic efforts, I feel I am gaining more confidence and security with communicating to business (which is a skill I never had to use before). In addition, I learned in important lesson. I originally thought that these business would not be so willing to help out and I had a fear of being rejected (afterall its a weird thing to ask others to give money when they do not know who you are). However, after I made my calls, I realized how supportive these business are. I learned in important lesson in the dangers of coming to conclusions to soon.

Week 5

Our fifth week was mainly a catch-up week. We further researched the organizations we were considering and at the end of the class, submitted the phone numbers for organizations we were considering as our non-profits. We also did some cold-calling to invite heads of these non-profits to come and speak at our two panels that would occur in the following two weeks. I mainly worked on analyzing the 990’s during this class. I read the 990’s for each of the organizations my group was considering and found the ratios. These were used to compare the statistics of the organizations and to find the ones that had the best use of their money. This is important because 990’s show what organizations use their money most efficiently and having the panelists come in gives a better idea of what the non-profit does and is all about. I think having the panelists come in makes it a lot easier to pick our final non-profit.

Week 4

During our fourth week of philanthropy, we divided the groups up a little more to make them more even. Because of that, we lost a few members so now we only have four people. During this class, we learned about reading the 990’s for non-profit organizations. We started by, as a class, discussing a Junior Achievement 990 in our workbook. We looked at where to find certain information about the organization and what the numbers mean. Then we broke into our groups with whom we further analyzed the 990. With our groups, we used the numbers to find ratios for how the organization’s money was spent. We used the book as a guide to tell us whether or not a high ratio was good and for which parts of the 990 to use in order to find the ratios. This transfers over into looking at the 990’s for the specific organizations we’re considering and seeing how these organizations spend their money.

Week 6

This week, our group was very productive. After hearing from the panel of non-profits, we were motivated to start fundraising. After brainstorming the previous week, we decided that we would try to pair up with a small, local business. After a few failed attempts to reach a business that was willing to meet with us, we contacted 3 Natives. 3 Natives is a small business, but is rapidly growing in popularity. Annelise made the first call, and then I met with the manager, Anthony. I explained to him our goal and gave him some information on our non-profit, Feeding Children Everywhere. He was immediately very amenable to helping out and said that he had wanted to do a charitable event for a while. We came upon an agreement very quickly. On Friday, December 5th, we will have an event at 3 Natives from 3-5pm in which 100% of the proceeds from every “chronic” acai bowl sold will go towards our charity. We made flyers to place around school and in the 3 natives shop. We plan to make announcements at assembly, send emails to the school, and spread the word as fast as we can in the upcoming week. We are all looking forward to the event and hopefully it will turn out to be a success for 3 Natives as well as our cause.

Week 6

The panelists this week were very instructive and offered a lot of great information about nonprofits that I hadn’t known before. I was also surprised and pleased to see that they considered themselves all part of the same mission, improving the lives of people in their community and the world community.

Our group made great progress this week. Charlotte and I secured a deal with 3 Natives that will help promote their business while also fundraising money to help our cause. It was somewhat nerve wracking talking to the manager Anthony, but he was very eager to meet with Charlotte and quite generous. On Friday, December 5, from 3-5pm, all of 3 Natives’ profits from the Chronic Acai Bowl will go to our group! We are very excited about this development and hope that we can get as much support from the student body as possible. So we are going to make an announcement in assembly and put up flyers around the school to raise awareness of the event. Also, I have been asking some family friends for donations, and everyone is very eager to donate. It is quite opportune that this program falls around Thanksgiving, perhaps one of the most generous holidays. Everyone seems to be in the giving spirit.

Week 5

This week in philanthropy our group brainstormed fundraiser ideas and thought about which organizations we would consider donating to. We thought of asking some local restaurants to donate either a fixed amount of money or a percentage of their earnings. My group is a little bit nervous that we may not have enough time to successfully fund raise, so we our planning on contacting the businesses soon. We also narrowed down our choice of non-profit organizations to only a few. Some of these include Feeding Children Everywhere, an organization where you donate money and they supply you with food, and then you package the food yourself and choose where to send it to, and the Palm Beach Food Bank. Both of these organizations earned a very high score on the quantitative rating worksheet, so we feel that they are both very good choices. I am excited for next week when the club is gathering representatives from different non-profits to come and speak to us. I think that it will be a very good opportunity to get to ask questions and learn more about the various organizations. Someone in my group even got someone from Feeding Children Everywhere to agree to come and talk to us, and I think that it will be pretty cool getting to learn more about the organization.

Week 5

I think this week was very helpful for my group. I feel as though it was the perfect amount of time for us to get caught up to where we need to be. We have narrowed out decision down to 4 possible organizations; The Arc School, The Quantum House, The Palm Beach Habilitation Center, and the Special Olympics. After looking at each organizations 990s, on paper it looks as thought the Palm Beach Habilitation Center looks like the best organization to send our money too. However, the Arc School looks like they would need our money the most. So, it will be a hard decision in the end. In terms of fundraising, I went to talk tot eh manager at Swirls to see if we could arrange something. After our lesson today, my group and I are going ot go present out ideas to her and see if we can organize something for next Monday. I think my group has come together and I am excited to visit and connect with our organize.

Week 5

This week our group identified some organizations we wanted to come to the panel discussion and also analyzed their tax records. Giving each organization a score helped narrow down the choices. We contacted Feeding Children Everywhere, who said they will send a representative to the panel. I’m learning a lot about the inner workings of nonprofits and businesses in general, and I think it’s really interesting. The panel discussion will be helpful in showing us exactly what organizations stand for and how effectively they will spend our money. It also will give us the opportunity to learn more about how nonprofits function and what they do to raise awareness. This is a good idea too because we will get to interact with the non-profit professionals in person and develop our speaking skills. We also brainstormed fundraising techniques and thought of asking local businesses and restaurants to donate in some form, either one sum or a percentage of their profits from Benjamin students. I think this will be a great way to raise money, but I’m concerned that we won’t have enough time to raise a lot of money. Perhaps we should contact the businesses now to begin the process? I’m looking forward to the panel discussion and hope to get a chance to ask some questions about the organizations and their missions.