Lets ask the questions!

This week in the program I had the great opportunity to interview my Grandmother with the list of questions that were given to us by Mr. Farnsworth. It was a fantastic learning tool for me to ask questions that gave me answers on how to become a better philanthropist and community server. I decided to interview my Grandmother, because I knew she would have a very experienced and wise outlook on this topic. In the interview I learned that my Grandmother’s parents had to give her a bit of a reality check when she was a young girl. She told me that her parents had to give the law enforcement a call to help the process of knowing the real world. My Grandmother was a little embarrassed or shameful about this but I was glad she told me, because it provided me with information on how such a great person came to be. I did not expect a story like this to be the outcome of this interview, but I believe that we all have to experience a complete wake up call at least once in a life, if not more. My Grandmother also gave me a very true problem that as citizens of the world, we need to fix. This issue is an obvious one but is never able to be evaporated. In this world today, there are many people or groups of citizens that are simply having a war, because of differences in religion. As citizens, we have the right to have our opinion on religion, but as human beings we are going to have disagreements. What is hard for me to understand is, why can not the world just accept this? I say “accept it for what it is”, but this world is unfortunately corrupt by selfish, uncaring, and disregarding individuals which is tremendously upsetting for me. Although my Grandmother did shine a light on the issue, by giving the idea that young people need to reach their communties by serving them and doing charitable work. When asked about how completing this work made my Grandmother she said “it makes your heart feel good”. This testimony by my Grandmother inspires me to do the most of this work that is possible so that not only can my community benefit from it but so can I.

Blow my mind away!

Oh! You want to hear about this! On Thursday¬† of last week Mr. Farnsworth came in and gave us a wonderful treat. For the second week in a row, we got to interview a representative from a local organization. Sherry Dombrowski from Pawsitive Action Foundation and Eric Gray from Give Kids the World both were interrogated by all of us. Mr. Farnsworth gave us a sheet of questions that we could use to examine the overall legitimacy of our organizations and lets just say on Thursday, we put that to good use. I don’t believe that these two incredible individuals thought that they were ever get out of that classroom. Although I think that it’s great that a group of teenagers that had no clue what philanthropy was, about 5 weeks ago, are able to formulate and word the type of questions that are recommended in finding a reliable charity or foundation to donate to. Another amazing thing that I will definitely keep in the back of my mind when I receive the capital that is needed to be a philanthropist is the difference between a small and relatively large organization. Mrs. Dombrowsi was with a small local organization that gives surgery to animals in need and trains service dogs for people with disability and she said “We are just hanging on” when asked about how the foundation was doing financially. Mr. Eric Gray on the other hand was representing an organization that was way better off than the small inspiring group of Pawsitive Action. The reality is, Pawsitive Action Foundation does great things not only for the animals, but for the people with disabilities and the trainers which get to see the dog grow into the animal they became when serving the fortunate recipients. This foundation is an outstanding organization that just doesn’t have the capital to grow into the one of their dreams, but I believe with a little courage and a heart of determination that this organization can become what it wants. I was also impressed by Mr. Eric Gray’s overall diameter and care not only for his organization, but for educating us on philanthropy and giving tips to the other foundation¬† on how to become more successful. Mr. Gray even observed a quote that was put up one of our students on the wall and applied to the world of philanthropy. These two individuals taught me so much about: their organization’s purpose and vision, philanthropy, and having a heart of gold in order to make the correct decision donating to organizations. I can’t wait to be apart of these two organizations, because I know that they are the works of the Lord and that’s the most amazing thing to me! I never thought I would get this much learning experience out of this program, not because I had low expectations but because it has just blown my mind away!

Are they good?

In week 4 of our journey in finding the right fit organization to donate to, we learned that analyzing the organization’s tax returns is not the only way in figuring it all out. There are many questions you can ask an organization to further investigate what they are about. This week in class, we had a representative the public humane society come in and answer questions that we had about her organization. Before hand, Mr. Farnsworth had consultanted us on what type of questions we should be asking. For example, what is the sole purpose of this organization?, Where do you see this organization in five years?, What do you want to change about the work you are in? These are all good questions that should be considered in deciding what foundation or charity a philanthropist decides to support or donate. I think its like getting a new haircut, you ask yourself before you leave that barber seat do I look ok? That’s exactly what you have to ask yourself with donating to an organization, because you do not want to end up with a bad hair due. I have asked myself all these questions and I think I have the right one. We are half way home in this program and I have learned so much in just these few weeks.

Keep on keeping on

In week 3 of the Main Street Philanthropy Program we are continuing to make progress in the philanthropy decision making process. It feels absolutely amazing to be just a small part of this extroadinary everlasting learning experience!!! I have narrowed down my possible recipents of organizations to the one who I think is the best fit. The organizations name is Give The Kids The world in Kissimmee Florida. Today I had the opportunity to do what Mr. Farnsworth told us to do and that was examining the 990 of our organizations. I was able to calculate the numbers to give my foundation an overall test on how well it completes the world of philanthropy. I found that in 2011 the total revenue of Give The Kids The World’s total revenue was $37,097,861 compared to the total expenses which were $33,392,643.¬† At the end of the examation I discovered that this non- profit organization is well qualified to recieve my donations. It is important to complete the process I did today to find out if the operation a donar is considering to give to is a valid one. I continue to have great anticipation in learning more and more about helping people in much needed support.

Learning our passions

In week 2 of this wonderful program our student council program was asked to conduct a brown paper bag activity in which we were in groups based on the MAD activity that we participated in last week. My group was put together because we all agreed that religious and spiritual organizations were important to us. The brown paper bag activity consisted of us choosing three things to put in the bag that described us. We had some very interesting objects that were chosen in my group, it was quite humorous. I had a lot of fun learning how the things we are describe the things we care about the most. We all are exciting about our group because we know that together we are unbeatable! We also completed a purpose, vision, and mission statement. The purpose statement gave us a reason to exist. The vision statement helped us discover what exactly what we are going to accomplish in this 8 week program. Lastly, the mission statement simply describes our goals for the program. This upcoming week I plan to find non- profit organizations that are related to the most important person in my life, God, in our area. I am tremendously exciting to help support the groups that God wants to work through. This experience is already one that I will never forget!

God’s promise

You will learn very fast that I am a strong person in faith and want to complete the promise that God has planed for me. This week in my student council class, Mr. Scott Farnsworth came in and launch us into the wonderfully relm of philanthropy. He introduced us to this program where Main Street Philanthropy gives every student in a leadership class at a high school $200 to donate to the charity or foundation of their choice. When I first heard of this off the wall idea I thought, this can’t be real but I am here to tell you that it is! During the first week of the Main Street Philanthropy program I learned so much about what my passion was for different concerns for non- profit organizations by participating in the MAD (Make A Difference) Cards activity. I learned that I care deeply about religious and spiritual organizations because I believe that God’s plan not only for me but for others is a very important piece of life that needs to be number one in all of our hearts. After God, I believe that your family should be number two because family can get you through anything, that’s why Family Services was chosen to be in my top three of the MAD Cards. Finally, I chose the people with physical and mental disabilities Card because I so happen to be one of those people that have challenges that bring the best out of them, not disabilities. I hope to learn much more about philanthropy and the concerns that I care so much about completing this outstanding program.


Hi I am Payton Poulin, a student at Harmony High! I am very exciting about this opportunity to help better the world!