Final Blog

One thing that I’ll remember about MSP would definitely have to be about the various quantitative and qualitative aspects of a non-profit and how to assess whether or not they would be a suitable fit to our cause and a worthwhile investment. In addition, MSP has taught me about the importance of finding your passion and to devote time and effort on supporting only that cause because if you try for too much, you won’t get anything done. I think it’s important for more people to practice philanthropy and giving because it not only makes you feel good, but others around you. It’s also really important to give back to your community as that is what made you who you are today. For instance, for the past few years, I have been donating my birthday money to a charity that supports aid for natural disasters. It might not directly benefit me, but it has made me feel good to know that I am willing and able to help those in need and allows me to create more connections with people. I definitely see myself using the things I have learned in MSP moving forward because these lessons and experiences not only pertain to philanthropy, but in life in general. MSP taught me how to understand a tax return and how to discern good and bad charities, which could benefit me in my future job and beyond.

Second Panel Class

I thought the second panel class was slightly different than the first one. I think one part I really liked in this one were the story of out guests, and how they first got involved in their organization. It really gave me a new perspective on what life could be like after college, or even during or right after high school. I find it unbelievable how just meeting one person can make you really think about what you want to do. Anyway, Justice League now has to make a decision on to who we would like to give our money to, and first how we will get the money. Which organization will receive the money is going to be very hard to find out, as both the Partners For Women and the New Jersey Citizen Group both represent our team purpose and share very similar values as our group does. I am also very interested in finding out whether donors will be willing to help us, and maybe match the amount of money we raised.

Did anything from the second panel class surprise me? // Isabelle W

After the first panel class, I was so sure that I was going to choose FoodShed Alliance to be the organization that I give our money to and that no other charity could possibly change that thought. That was, until, the second-panel class when Community Food Bank of NJ came to speak. Michelle Janson was the Director of Schools and Community Outreach, and we were so lucky to have her come in for the second-panel class. She was, simply put, wonderful. I felt the passion she felt for CFB and how she felt about all the programs and people at CFB. She made the panel class interesting and intriguing (not saying Lisa Kelley didn’t). I went into the panel class thinking ‘We’re definitely going with FoodShed Alliance. CFB is so established (getting a 13/15 on the tax return test). They don’t need any of our money. They have enough of their own’, but what Michelle Janson spoke about made me doubt my stubbornness. I realized how foolish I was, making the decision before I even heard about CFB. They might be well-established and (of course) the biggest food bank in NJ (and in the country), but they can always use extra funds and even extra hands around the warehouse/office (Teen Leadership Institute, etc). So, as of right now, I haven’t decided who to choose, regardless I’m glad I realized how stupid I was picking before I even knew. Thus, I believe that regardless who the Hunger Project decides to give the money to, the charity will put our money to good use, and honestly, that’s all that matters in the end.

Panel Classes+Experience

What I enjoyed the most from Main Street Philanthropy were the panel classes. All of us got to meet the representatives from the charities. We asked questions, and they answered them, therefore giving more information about the charities. Even though I am part of the Hunger Project, the charities that came in for the Justice League also had interesting stories. I am very excited in seeing what happens next!

P.S. Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve been doing blogs.

What or Who Stood Out for You during the Panel Class? // Isabelle W

During the panel class, I think the thing that stood out the most was the difference between the two people we had come in last week. Beverly Brown from NJ Citizen Action was very personable and very much so an extrovert, while Lisa Kelley from FoodShed Alliance was a little bit more nervous about talking to us. While Lisa talked and moved her hands, I kept noticing that her hands were shaking, and this made me feel in a way more connected to Lisa. When I gave class presentations, I would shake, stutter, and stumble over my words or myself, and I realized that Lisa Kelley wasn’t some supreme adult that knew 10x more than me. I realized that she just wanted to work on a great cause on a great organization, and it made me feel comfortable during the rest of the panel class.

Panel #1 Blog Rebecca

I thought the panel was a very eye-opening experience as I was able to learn more about these two organizations and all that they do to make a difference. It showed me that there are many aspects to running a successful non-profit that I had not considered beforehand. Hearing the panelists discuss their passions for their respective organizations and philanthropic areas inspired me to become more involved, and I became excited to become more “hands-on” and help these organizations.

Earlier Main Street Philanthropy: Mad Cards

What I learned about myself on my first of Main Street Philanthropy was that there are so many charities in the United States and in the world. I believed in many causes and wanted to donate a lot of money to several different charities. However, I learned that there is a lot to be considered when contributing large sums of money to nonprofit organizations. One must consider that they can only support a few causes (meaning at a maximum of three in MSP), and they must really know the charity that they are donating, too. Also, a person must be aware of how much the money is spent by the charity to causes or problems.

Considering Charities

Last meeting, I learned about tax returns and other financial information that should be considered when examining a charity. There are a millions of charities in the United Sates alone, and many of them are helpful and devote time for a good cause. No matter how committed or dedicated they are to making the world better, if their revenue is too small, or even when it is in the millions, their expenses could be too much that it would be a major problem for a donor to contribute sums of money. Charities should have a financial score of 10 or better if they want to be considered for large donations

The Numbers and Calling

It is important to look at numbers to see whether of not the organization is a good investment through their tax returns. I had called a certain organization called Food Shed Alliance. The person I had talked to had agreed to come to one of our panel classes to explain more about her organization. Prior to the panel class, we looked at their tax return during this week’s class and saw that the organization that we found had a 9/15, and only really lacked in the section with sustainability. From what we saw in the tax return, we felt that they were still a good organization to invest but if we found some place with a higher score, we would consider giving most of our time and effort to that other organization.

Research Calls

I feel like the research calls we are about to make are going to be interesting, as I expect many different reactions. Some organizations might actually be very excited about us, but some others might not be as much interested as they really do not think it will be worth their them. I expect only the very large non-profit organizations to act this way. However I think most organizations will be very interested in our support, and their interest will be probably be shown within the first minute of the call. And that is the exciting part of the call; to really see the excitement of the organizations to have a group of high school kids trying to help.