Week 8 Blog

This past week has been probably the most eventful in Main Street Philanthropy so far. First of all, the second panel class was very informative and interesting and I enjoyed meeting the representatives from the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation and Bridge of Books. Both representatives were very helpful and we learned much more about their organizations, despite the fact that the charity we called, Crossroads, was unable to make the class. We learned that the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation helps the families of children who are terminally ill as they tend to undergo large amounts of financial and everyday stress struggling with the treatment of the child. The Emmanuel Cancer Foundation provides much-needed financial support, food deliveries, babysitting services, and counseling to the families of sick kids. Bridge of Books collects books to give to kids who are less fortunate and do not have access to a basic resource like books. This can help improve education and literacy rates in children. We also did all of our fundraising this week and went around our neighborhood selling candy canes and collecting donations. Emily and I were very proud that we raised around $130 from going around my neighborhood for two to three hours, despite the fact that it was very cold outside. Erin and Ilina raised around $250 in total, as well. We raised a little bit more during school afterwards from selling the leftover candy canes. Although maybe two or three people chose not to donate or buy a candy cane we were surprised at the amount of people who listened to us and donated when we went house to house. Also, doing the interview with my dad allowed me to learn more about his experiences with giving and handling money, especially considering he is a banker and is on a board of directors for a charity himself. I am looking forward to presenting our final checks to the charities in the coming weeks.

Week 6 Blog – First Panel Class

This week we had our first panel class. Although the representative that we called from the Crossroads Program did not come this week, it was interesting to hear about the other two charities. Despite the fact that we did not call them personally, I think my group might be interested in donating some of our grant dollars to one of these two charities. Both of the organizations were serving different purposes, one was for disabled people and one for child patients of terminal illnesses such as sickle cell disease, however after learning more about the charities we found that many of the experiences they went through were similar in that they had similar fundraisers and struggles in the organization. From what I saw, the Valerie fund was meant to give child patients and families full treatment for their terminal illnesses including therapy and outside treatments other than the basic treatment. Many times children and families are left devastated because there is no full treatment and therapy to deal with having a terminal illness and all they receive is the medication and regular check-ups. The Mental Health Association was more working with adults with mental health illnesses. I think their goal included more awareness to show people that mental health illnesses are not things to be afraid of and are very common. Mental health illnesses can include eating disorders, ADHD, and more. I did not realize the amount of people suffering from mental health illnesses. I am looking forward to the next panel class and meeting our representative that we called.

Week 5 Blog

This week in Main Street Philanthropy we went over the quantitative ratings for our charity, the Crossroads Program. We found that they had a total score of 11 out of 15 based on their program ratio, management ratio, fundraising ratio, cost to raise $1, and sustainability. Compared to some of the other charities researched by other groups, Crossroads had the highest overall score. Based on this, our group decided that we would like to ask the Crossroads representative on their sustainability and how their charity funds will look five years down the road because they scored a 1 out of 3 in sustainability, their lowest score. We also considered other questions to ask the representatives such as what percentage of their board is giving personally? Their answer would allow us to determine how dedicated their board is to the charity. Also, we thought of asking the representatives about their planned giving programs. Our group has decided to raise money for our charity by going around our neighborhoods asking for change and selling baked goods. We also are sending out flyers in some neighborhoods to collect loose change. Hopefully we can raise the target $250. I am looking forward to meeting the representatives of all the charities coming next week and getting to learn more about the programs first-hand.

Week 4 Blog

This week in Main Street Philanthropy we learned about taxes and how they work in charities. We were introduced to 990 Forms, which are documents that state all the information about a charity for a year in terms of their expenses and revenues. By studying these forms and the information we can determine how a charity uses the money they are given and whether it is worth donating to the charity. This is interesting to see because many times if I am deciding whether or not to donate to a charity I do not really look into where my money is actually going. After discussing this week outside of class, our group decided that we are leaning towards supporting the Crossroads Program because it seems to be the most relevant to our purpose and mission. We also have been discussing fundraisers for raising money for the charity and are thinking of collecting money outside Kings, possibly, or having a type of candy raffle or bake sale. I am looking forward to the upcoming panel classes and to meeting and speaking with the different charities called by the class.

Week 3 Blog

This week in class our group met to create our purpose, vision, and mission statements. We had some difficulty at first in narrowing down our topic to see what we really wanted to accomplish through the program and how we would go about doing this. We decided to focus on children and youth services and began thinking of different organizations that fell under this category. We decided to each individually look into some charities for women and children shelters for abuse or counseling for struggling kids. Personally, I feel that I am very privileged to live in a community with a great education system and ample amounts of support, yet other kids my age do not have the same opportunities. Our group all agreed that, in addition to raising money, we all wanted to have a hands-on experience volunteering at a shelter or a mentoring program or something similar. The purpose we formed was to serve our community through the provision of leadership and guidance for at-risk kids. In order to achieve this, we would need to make time to first call organizations and later on to actually volunteer and to raise money. The assignment for this week was cold-calling charities, which at first I was nervous about because I would want the organization to take me seriously and also about how to sound more professional and how to make the call itself. After seeing an example of a cold-call in class my nerves were slightly more at ease because I saw how to conduct the call and what types of questions I should ask. I am looking forward to meeting the representatives of these various organizations that the class ends up calling and learning more about their charities. I also am excited to actually go out and begin the volunteer work. Our goals for the class are much more clear and seem more attainable now that we have them laid out and planned.

Main Street Philanthropy Week 1

By the first day of the Main Street Philanthropy course, I had already begun contemplating and thinking about ideas that I normally would not. In the activity using the Make A Difference Cards, we were instructed to choose our top three concerns among the numerous issues listed on the cards. Personally, I am very indecisive and for me, the activity was challenging because it is difficult to choose just three main issues in the world when there are so many concerns in the world today. I found it difficult to choose one issue over another such as hunger over something like medical services, for example. All the issues presented on the cards were very important, so it was difficult to choose only three. I found myself feeling guilty for eliminating certain cards when trying to find my top three concerns, which is an emotion I think most of the other students experienced. In the end I chose Children and Youth Services because, in my opinion, children are the future and are the next generation and should have the opportunity to have a successful life, especially because the child is typically the victim in most cases and is innocent. I also chose housing as one of my top three because I think having a place to live is a basic necessity for all people. Also, my church is associated with an organization that houses people who were previously in shelters, were drug addicts, and more. If these people continue living on the streets and in shelters they will usually never have the chance to get back on their feet and move on with their lives, which is the ultimate goal of the organization. Lastly, my third concern was hunger because it is a basic necessity for life that everyone should have access to. Although I felt strongly about other issues as well, I kept returning to the fact that without food a person cannot live, which stopped me from eliminating the choice. Overall, I think it was a good, learning experience that allowed me to discover my top values and concerns that I feel most strongly about. I tended to gravitate more to the basis rights and issues listed, as I’m sure others did, as well, rather than less pressing issues such as art education. I am excited to keep having similar experiences throughout the course, to discover more of my personal values and to learn how I can make a difference.