Delivering the check was really great. The lady from habitat was so grateful that she broke down in front of our little family. We all felt good for helping her, but I’ve never seen a grown woman go from beaming graciousness to controlled blubbering. Although it was a little uncomfortable I will never forget the experience.

Lasting impression – Future effect

The thing that i will most remember about the msp program is the feeling of honest discovery. When you get to highschool you have a foundation in most academic fields, not much is authentically new. New formulas in math still use addition and multiplication, but I’d never even thought about looking up a tax record before. It was enlightening and fun.

As to this experience’s effect on my future charity, well I’m already an avid volunteer which shows just how giving i am, but it has made me less naive and given me the tools to look deeper than what is on the surface.


I enjoyed working within a group simply because it allows us as all newcomers to the program to pool our collective understanding of tasks and work together to make it easier. It has been a breeze, mainly since my group at least is made up of individuals who I fondly describe as ‘doers’. The problem being that we are all doers so there isnt much discussion, we just latch on to the first idea that we can force into reality.

The lack of discussion led us to looking into charities that we weren’t really interested in and, at the last minute, changing to charities that had representatives come in and talk to us. Half went to give kids the world and half went to habitat for humanity. Since we all have our personal amounts to donate their is no friction to be had on disagreements, especially since both causes are so worthy and appreciative of the help.


I interviewed my grandma, one of the single coolest people I know. She is really super fun to talk to because she stays up to date with everything, but mainly I chose her because of her unerring philosophy of helping people every chance you get.
What surprised me the most about the conversation was how she had a problem answering questions about her own philosophy; she is such a blatantly and naturally nice person that it has never occurred to her why she does what she does, she just knows it is the right thing to do.
In all honesty though, i didn’t learn much from the conversation because I am really close with my grandma, she recently became my neighbor. I did, however, learn that my grandma is still grieving, understandably so, over the loss of my grandpa. She is so happy and busy that you would never tell it gets her all the time like that.

Numbers and beyond

The two ways that you evaluate a non-profit organization is by the numbers, quantitatively, or by what they actually do in the real world, qualitatively. A quantitative evaluation is more clinical giving you bare facts and figures, while a qualitative is more emotional and personal with certain issues coming closer to your heart.

The more effective of the two approaches for me is the qualitative approach simply because i care less about the size and strength of an organization than what they actually do for real life people.

Surprising realities

I learned that smile train is an international organization devoted to helping people with cleft lips. They provide cheap or free surgeries to children born with the defect. This makes them easier to feed and more likely to survive in the long run.

The numbers, however, are very important the organization is huge and very well run, but it is such an obscure cause that they need to advertise a lot. This causes them to spend a dollar for every dollar that gets donated. It is a  very stable charity though, it would last 4 years without any help. Having seen the fundraising factor though, I wouldn’t want to donate their because i feel like it would probably get used more on advertising than on helping someone.

MAD Cards

The mad cards were great, it surprised me how easily I prioritized the causes most important to me. One of my classmates had a hard time deciding between some of the areas that seemed very similar, like there was one card that was for child abuse and another for family abuse. Besides that I found through the cards that i really want to help at a veterans or active duty charity.

I hope that through this eight week process I will learn the skills of a benevolent philanthropist.

Brown paper bag, no strings

The real beauty behind the brown paper bag was that there were no limits to it. The creativity of the individual was all that kept you from learning something meaningful. I learned that I value my roots and personal talents as parts of my personality.
I learned that my group mates were very myopic in their focus on school related activities and their social agenda; while I wasn’t necessarily disappointed, just not surprised that two of them had their phones in their bags.