Week 10- Holly Henk

The thing that I will remember most from Main Street Philanthropy is the panel discussions. It gave us a chance to learn about many different organizations out there and the struggles they face. After going through this program I feel like when I’m older and when I have a stable income, I will be more likely to give to other organizations, other than the ones I see at checkouts and at the doors of stores. I might even consider doing volunteer hours to just help others, not just to get service hours in. When I have to apply to certain colleges I will most definitely use this experience to my benefit. It is such an amazing thing that we went through and it looks very good on college applications. When I signed up for;leadership I didn’t realize I’d be gaining so much more than just a credit, it also made me a better person. Overall this class has benefited me in many ways and I’m glad to have participated in this class.

Week 9- Holly Henk

Delivering the checks to these non-profit organizations was a great experience for me. It made me feel really good knowing that our money is going to a cause that could really need it. I felt really proud that all of us, as a class, raised that money and it was going to help many people. What I will remember most from today is when we went to the food pantry and the lady was talking about how many families come in their to get their food. It amazed me how much our community has done for people in need and I knew that the money that we all gave was just going to help this cause even more. I will also remember how grateful these people were to receive our donations and to see their expressions on their face when we pulled out the big check.

Week 8- Holly Henk

My team and I reflected on the panel discussions and all the other activities that we did in class to come up with our final choice. We decided that Open Sky Education will receive our donation. We all liked how they handled the panel discussion, they had a better score on 990 forms, and overall we liked the things that they are doing for the children. Most of us in our group came to the conclusion for Open Sky, however one of our group members wanted the other organization to get the money. We handle this by saying majority rules and discussing our options a little further. I really enjoyed working with my group these last few weeks and I have learned so much from the experience. This project has made all of us go outside of our comfort zones and we realized that you need to be reliable and follow through if you are going to do something.This fundraiser has been a great experience so far.

Week 7- Holly Henk

This week’s panel discussion went really well. We had 7 people come in for it and I’d say that most of them did a spectacular job. Our group had Zach from Open Sky come in this time. Zach shared some really impressive things with the class like that in the last seven years 100% of their students have gotten accepted into a college. Another organization that appeals to our cause was Big Brothers Big Sisters. They help many children and teenagers get through the tough times in life and they create great bonds with the adults. As of right now, my group is leaning towards the decision of Open Sky because of all the success and the money that we donate will probably be going towards opening a new school. For our fundraiser we had our second night at the Chocolate Factory. We also finally heard back from Buffalo Wild Wings and they told us the amount that we made. Right now we are hoping to do another night at the Chocolate Factory before we have to turn in our money.

Week 6- Holly Henk

From this week’s panel discussion I learned that every organization has issues and difficulties and that many of them could really use our money. I didn’t realize before that many of these people are desperate for more volunteers in their program and that they don’t necessarily need more money, but more of people’s time. You could tell that each and every one of them was passionate for their cause and are willing to fight for it. For now I don’t believe that our group will change anything in our fundraiser because it doesn’t really affect us. The panel discussion is helping us understand what type of non-profit organization our money is going to. Our fundraiser itself is going really great. Before this I didn’t realize you could just walk into a business and just ask them if they were interested in helping us raise money toward a cause. The other thing that I have learned from this experience is that you have to be willing to put yourself out there whether it be making phone call and having a line of communication or making certain advertisements to get the awareness of our events out there.

Week 5- Holly Henk

One way that we learned how to evaluate a company is by their 990 tax form. By looking at this it helped us narrow down the choice on who we will be donating the money to. My group compared all of the quantitative scores from all the different organizations that we looked at and that’s how we picked the two groups for our panel discussion. Although the information that we get from these tax forms don’t give us all we need to fully evaluate them. This method also takes time to do especially if one of the websites don’t have the organization you’re looking for. The panel discussion will also help us evaluate these organizations because we get to learn more about their organization and any questions that we have. I believe that both of these methods would still be easier than researching online and on websites because this way you can find the exact information you’re looking for. My group is waiting to decide who to give this money to until after the panel discussions after we find out the most information we can about them.

Week 4- Holly Henk

This week while researching different organizations my group and I found out more about their mission statement and about their goals/what they stand for. This week we reached out to 2 organizations. Our group learned that these organizations are willing to cooperate with us and replied to our emails very quickly. So far we have been in contact with these groups and we have been exchanging information back and forth to each other. It’s important to look at a companies tax returns because it will help us make our decision on who gets the donation. One important aspect to look at on the 990 form is to see where their funds go. If most of their money is used for paying for management or creating advertisements, they might not be the right fit for us because want to help the cause more than their employees. Another important thing to look at is sustainability or how long they can survive with no donations. One of our groups that we are considering could need this money more than another group that can still last a long time without it. The group that I looked at had a score of 10 (all 2’s) which isn’t necessarily good or bad. If we are having a hard time on picking an organization I might look up previous years to see if they are improving or if they just had an off year because they might really need the money.

Week 3- Holly Henk

When my group was creating our mission statements it wasn’t as easy I thought it would be. The mission statement is important because it reminds us the reason why we are doing this activity and to make sure we stay on the right path and true to our initial statement. The statements will also keep us on track and up to date if we are going to achieve all the goals for this fundraiser. As we start to reach out to different organizations I think that most of them will want to come into our classroom because they most likely want to receive our donation money for their charity. However, we need to act professional so that these companies know that this isn’t a prank and that we are actually trying to do something good for our community. I also think that they will be impressed with the fact that high school students are trying to raise money for a good cause. My prediction is that these organizations are going to come in prepared with a good presentation and ready to speak about what their organization is all about because they will obviously want us to choose them so that they get the donation.

Week 2- Holly Henk

I really enjoyed doing the brown paper bag activity this week during class. I feel like I got to learn more about my classmates and I realized that a lot of us have the same values in life. For example, lot’s of different people put something about family in their bag. In my bag I had a necklace that my sister gave me, a polar bear toy, and a medal that I received from volleyball tournament. All these things represent something that is very important to me and I’m glad that I got to share them with the rest of the class. For our fundraiser my group decided to ask local restaurants if they would like to partner with us. We will give them several ideas on how they can help us out and they will get to choose the idea they like best. Our ideas for them include, selling a product and we get a certain percentage of for each one sold, rounding up to the nearest dollar, a donation jar, or anything else that they suggest. We haven’t picked our charity that we would like to help yet, but it will be something that is related to education. Once we get the organization passed through the school we will start approaching these businesses and begin our fundraising.

Week 1- Holly Henk

During the MAD activity I noticed that it took some people longer to choose between the cards and others had an easier time choosing. For me it was more difficult to pick between the different areas of concern because it seems unfair to put one issue above another. Even at the end of the activity when I picked my 3 cards I still felt guilty for leaving the rest out. Another thing that  I realized was that there is so many different cards that I didn’t really think about. Before the MAD cards I would just think about main concerns like hunger, health, education, and some others, but this activity brought to my attention other topics that I normally don’t think about like culture and animal care. Through this program I hope to increase my awareness of different needs in the community and understand how charitable organizations work. For example, some charities spend more on administrative costs than others and less money actually gets to the cause itself.