Reflection of Interview and Last Panel Class

I interviewed my mom for the questions we had to ask because I know that she has done work with several charities and I could probably learn from her answers. One thing that my mom said that surprised me during the interview was the experience that changed her life that she shared with me. Since she is a social worker, she has worked with many special needs kids varying from very young ages to elderly. She told me about this teenager she worked with named Matt and how his experience (which she didn’t want me to publish on the blog) had completely changed her perspective on life and what is truly important. From this conversation, I learned that I should be deliberate with my money in the sense that I should keep track of how much I have, where I want to spend it, and how much I should save. I plan on keeping this in mind when donating to a charity in the near future. This past week, two women came in, one from the Bridge of Books Foundation and the other who is on the board from the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation. These women had very persuasive arguments of why we should be donating to them, and I could definitely see us putting in some money to both organizations because both work to help children. Since this was the last panel class, I have come to the conclusion that we will most likely not be donating to one foundation because there are so many terrific ones out there. Lastly, my group has completed our fundraising and we had a complete success!!! Deanne and I walked around her neighborhood for two hours selling candy canes for a dollar each and by the end we managed to raise $126.50, which I find to be very exciting. We have spoken with Ilina and Erin who also did a fantastic job by raising a little more than $250! Altogether we have raised more than $100 over our goal, which was $250! I am very pleased with the outcome of our fundraising experience and I look forward to giving money to a variety of charities.

Our First Panel Class

At our first panel class, we had two representatives come in. One from The Valarie Fund and the other from the Mental Health Association. Unfortunately, Crossroads (the foundation we arranged to come) had to cancel last minute and a representative did not attend. Yet, I was very reassured by the end of the class because I was very impressed by both of the organizations that were there and would be glad to donate to either one of the. I could definitely see our group donating a portion of our money to the Valarie Fund, yet I am not sure about the Mental Health Association. The only reason for this is that they do not specifically help children and I think that we are very set on putting our donations toward a cause that will guarantee support to disadvantaged children. In terms of our fundraising, we have not started anything yet, but we have a plan. Next week we will all go out and sell candy canes by going house to house in several neighborhoods. I am very excited about doing this and I hope that it is a success!

Evaluating Investments

This past week, the class discussed the significance of not only using quantitative evaluation, but also qualitative evaluation. Although the financial aspects of a charity are important, it is also necessary that a charity has a dedicated staff, lots of board members, and offers lots of services. By learning about what goes on behind the scenes in a charity, it can guide a person to deciding whether or not they are worth of their donation. In my opinion, I see more value to quantitative analysis. It becomes very clear what a charities priorities are by seeing basic financial spending. For example, I would be hesitant to donate to a company that has a larger management expense then program expense because it would show that they are not putting a lot of money into creating solid programs for the issue they are helping. So far, I have found it pretty challenging to decide what nonprofit organization is best for investing in because there are so many great charities out there that it is hard to choose one. Also, our group had been almost positive that we were going to donate to the Crossroads foundation, yet recently it came to our attention that they are located in South Jersey, which limits us in being able to do direct work with the charity (which is what a lot of our group members wanted). Regardless, Crossroads does have a great cause and after quantitatively evaluating them, they have proven to be strong financially. After the panel class tomorrow, I hope it turns out that they are also doing well qualitatively, therefore it will become clear whether or not we will be donating to them.

Analysis of Charities Week 4

As the Change Bakers continues to search more and more about Children and Youth Services, we have been able to narrow our options down. Although Family Connections and United Way (the charities I called) responded, I think that most likely we will be supporting the Crossroads Program. I have been in contact with my group members and we all believe that this organization suits our desire to help disadvantage children perfectly. This nonprofit organization offers support to neglected children that are between the ages of 12 and 21 by providing them with a group home to live in or to live with an approved family. When I looked up the IRS Form 990 for the Crossroads Organization, the results were very positive. According to the form, 83.73% of their total expenses have been spent on the programs. This is good because it means that the majority of their spending money is used to improve the homes that they are providing for disadvantaged children. Also, it costs them $0.12 to raise a dollar, which is a very small number, revealing that they must be a very efficient company. The only thing that sparked a slight concern for me was that if they had to survive on donations, that they would no longer exist after approximately 6 months. However, compared to other charities, I am not sure whether or not this is actually a long time, yet it seems relatively short. Overall, I am very excited that I think our group has found an organization that is financially smart and succeeds in helping many children who are struggling. Ilina has already called them and I think that they will be attending one panel class so I look forward to meeting a representative and hearing more about the charity.

Purpose, Vision, and Mission

In our last class, our group decided that we would be donating to a charity that focuses on Children and Youth Services. Each member of our group is very keen on the idea that we will not only be donating to an organization, but also interacting with kids who are struggling. Therefore, we identified our team’s purpose as serving our community by providing leadership and guidance for at risk kids. We all agreed that our vision statement is that we hope to raise funds and have a hands on experience with children who are struggling. In order to do this, there are several things that must be completed. First off, there must be time made to research and call several organizations so we can narrow our options down to one we know will benefit from our donation and help. It is also necessary that there is time set aside for the four of us going to see the kids and interact with them in some manner. Another important step is that our group stays communicated so we are all on agreement about what our overall goal is and how we will achieve it. To be honest, I am slightly nervous about the call I will be making this week to an organization. I have never called a professional organization and I fear that they may not take me seriously because they will know that I am a teenager. However at the same time, I am also very excited to find an organization that provides our group with the opportunity to donate money to kids in need. There are so many different issues in the world regarding children and I really look forward to making a positive change in one of these areas.

Reflection of the Brown Paper Bag Activity

On October 28th, Yale placed us in groups based on our similar interests from the Make A Difference Activity. I was placed with Ilina and Erin, who I turned out to have a lot in common with. The three of us all chose Hunger, Children and Youth Services, and People with Physical and Mental Disabilities for our main three concerns we want to address. When the three of us presented the things we brought in our brown paper bags, I was able to learn a lot about the personalities of Erin and Ilina. Regarding Erin, she is a very faithful person and she is very caring of other’s. I made this conclusion based on the fact that she brought in a prayer book as one of her items and that she also brought in a sewing kit that she uses to sew both her and her sibling’s clothes. Ilina values simplicity. This was revealed by the little turtle she brought in that reads “Keep It Simple” and by the post it note she brought in that says “SIMPLE.” Ilina admitted that she can sometimes over complicate things, therefore these items remind her that she should keep things in her life basic. When presenting my items, I learned about myself that I am greatly influenced by the people around me. I brought in a photo of me in Costa Rica and me with my friends, which both exemplify this fact about myself. Also, I brought in a tennis ball to show how I value time to relax because sometimes my life can get very hectic and I try to remember that it is important to spend some time unwinding, like when I play tennis. Overall, I found this activity very helpful in getting to know my group members and I look forward to working with them to find a good charity that we can donate money to.

First Entry: Make A Difference Activity

This past Tuesday, our class met for the first time and each student participated in the Make a Difference activity. During this activity, we got to choose what 3 cards seem to be most significant to us out of the possible 20 cards to choose from. At first, I found myself very conflicted about what I wanted to choose. Each issue seemed very important to me so I had trouble narrowing down which were the most important. I ended up choosing People with Physical and Mental Disabilities, Children and Youth Services, and Hunger as my three major issues. All of these topics relate in some way to past experiences I have had. For example, Hunger and Children and Youth Services relate back to the trip to Costa Rica I took this past summer because while I was there, I worked with many children who had very difficult lives and many of them only got one meal per day.  I tended to lean toward issues that were apparent during this trip while choosing my cards during the activity. My partner, Taylor, was very similar to me in the sense that she felt conflicted while choosing what issues to choose. In addition, she explained to the class how this activity brought up many emotions for her because it was saddening to see all these different problems in the world that need to be addressed. I hope that participating in Main Street Philanthropy that I will be able to gain a better grasp on how I can help different charities that would really benefit from my help. Also, I hope that I will be able to handle money in a more mature and responsible way after participating in this course. Ultimately, I am really looking forward to what is to come in this class.