Week 8 – Tina Bolek

As a team, we all decided to donate our money to Open Sky Education. It was a unanimous decision. I think we decided this because they have a really good cause and mission. When Zach came in for the panel discussion, he was very nice and gave us some really nice statistics. That was very impressive, and helped us decide that we would donate to them, rather than the other organization we had previously invited in. We are giving all the money we raised to Open Sky, and not splitting it up among other organizations. I think that it’s pretty easy to work in a group if the people you are working with all get along. Our group does, which is good, even though two of us are doing most of the work. We haven’t really had any disagreement, so it’s been smooth that way and we haven’t had to argue over anything. I think it will be interesting delivering money to some of the organizations other groups picked. I think the people will be very grateful and excited.

Week 7 – Tina Bolek

This panel discussion was much better than two weeks ago. The people gave a lot of info, and were very passionate about their organizations. The atmosphere was more cheerful and I felt that everybody was involved. I think that we will choose the organization that came in yesterday instead of the first week. We actually got a lot of advice from the people who came, which was surprising, but nice. They encouraged us to continue to volunteer and be involved with things that you’re passionate about. That was really cool. From fundraising, I have learned that you have to aggressive to get things accomplished. We had some problems with one of the businesses we were working with, so we kept calling and emailing to get the issue resolved. This resulted in us getting more money than we originally had, so that was a positive result. Other than that, it’s cool that as high school students we are able to conduct fundraisers and legitimately raise money for a non-profit organization. It makes me feel good about myself and my classmates, that we can do this and make a difference.

Week 6 – Tina Bolek

It was very interesting hearing what the people from the panel discussion had to say. It was cool to see people who devote their time to their organizations and be passionate about what they do. I learned that it takes a lot of money to continue certain programs that the organizations have, and also volunteers to do the work that is necessary. Nothing really surprised me at all. After listening to them, I don’t think we will change anything in our fundraiser, because it’s not necessary. But now I have a better idea of what our money is going to do and provide the organization that we end up choosing. I am learning that people are very generous and are willing to give money if you approach them. The other thing that I’m learning is that you have to be willing to put yourself out and be active, in order to get things done. For example, I had to make posters for part of our fundraiser, and I have been in contact with all the organizations we are partnering with and potentially giving money to. So it’s a lot of work, but worth it to get a good result in the end.

Week 5 – Tina Bolek

We evaluated the 990 tax form for different organizations, and it was pretty interesting. We got to see all the financials for the organizations and better understand how they’re doing that way. Granted, we didn’t look at two years ago or farther, so it’s hard to say if the organizations are doing better or worse than previous years. But overall it’s interesting. It is difficult to fully evaluate the organizations for a potential investment at this point, because all the information we’ve gotten is from online. This includes the finance stats and all the information on their websites. Even after contacting various organizations, it’s still hard to completely and successfully evaluate them. But after the panel discussions next week, it will become much easier because we’ll hear directly from people of the organizations, and they will be able to give us more concrete information that we can process, and then make our final decision.

Week 4 – Tina Bolek

I learned our organizations we contacted were very willing to cooperate with us. I emailed them, and within a day we got responses, which was really nice. We didn’t get a lot of info concerning what the organizations are about via emailing, but through their websites we learned some more. It’s important to look at the financial status of our organizations, because one might have better statistics than the other. One of the organizations I looked up had a total score of 10, which isn’t terrible. I was comparing it a bit to their previous year, and their total profits and such was down by a lot. So you can kind of figure that they were having an off year, which makes donating to them seem a bit more important. Another organization I looked at had a total score of 12, but they are more well-known, so that makes sense. Overall, I think that it’s necessary to look over the tax returns of non-profit organizations because you have to have some kind of idea of how they operate financially. If you go in without any knowledge, you very well may be donating money to a cause that won’t use it for what you intended and thought it should be used for. I think that the organization we will end up picking will have a decent score, but overall will be something that we think is worth donating to because of their mission and what they stand for.

Week 3 – Tina Bolek

It was interesting creating our Purpose, Vision, and Mission Statements, mainly because it was kind of difficult. It really made me think about what we actually wanted to achieve, and how that was going to happen. It’s slightly hard for a smaller project like this because it’s not like a company mission statement or anything. But these are all important in making sure that a goal is reached and that there is a definitive plan set in order to make that happen. I expect that the organizations we reach out to will be happy and interested in what we are doing. I would think that they would be willing to come in, so that they can both promote and possibly get money for their cause. I would hope that everyone is friendly and willing to work with us if they are able to. Even if not, I suspect that they would be nice about it. In general, I think the responses will be positive and willing to cooperate with us.

Week 2 – Tina Bolek

From doing the Brown Paper Bag activity, I learned that we all value different things, and that they were mostly things that were specifically special to us. For instance, I brought a cross, which represents my faith, while another person in my group brought a polar bear figurine, which represents their love to travel. We all brought things and talked about our family though, and in part what we wanted to do with our future. I feel that while it was a good idea to get to know people better, it didn’t necessarily make me feel like I knew the person super well after the fact, but it is still a good concept. Our team fundraiser is going to be asking businesses, specifically restaurants, to either sell a specific item and we will make some profit off of it, or to use the round-up method on bills when people are checking out. We will begin holding this once we get approval from the school, and have decided what organization we want to donate to, so that the businesses will know exactly what they are raising money for. By using this method of fundraising, we won’t have any initial start-up costs, and all the money will go directly to charity.

Week 1 – Tina Bolek

The MAD cards really put into perspective what I value as a person, but also what different values others have as well. When having to decide what charities and causes I thought were more deserving than others, I had to really think about what I personally value and believe in. The activity did make me feel a bit selfish, because I was clearly biased on some organizations that I like and support over others. But at the same time, it helped me see that there are many different causes to support, and although I personally didn’t pick some of them, other people did. And that’s the point, that everyone believes in something different, and therefore many different organizations are able to be donated to, because of those differing values. From participating in Main Street Philanthropy, I hope to better understand and be able to appreciate different organizations, and how they are all worthy are donations and philanthropy, regardless if I personally agree with the cause or not. I also would like to learn how to productively and efficiently raise money and donations for organizations, with the maximum impact on those that need the help. I hope to gain a sense of selflessness, and learn to become a more humble and grateful person. I believe that this program will do that, and will help me thrive as an individual. In general, I want to gain the attitude of philanthropy and be able to apply it to my life so that I can make a difference in college next year and beyond.