The Ripple Effect in a Giving Circle

There has been a ripple in Midland and it’s turned into a wave. Eight people in Midland decided to make a difference.

Juan and Carolina Luciano, Matt and Kathleen Davis, Torsten and Andrea Kraef, Howard and Lisa Ungerleider   Juan and Carolina Luciano, Matt and Kathleen Davis, Torsten and Andrea Kraef, Howard and Lisa Ungerleider

Matt and Kathleen Davis, Torsten and Andrea Kraef, Juan and Carolina Luciano, and Howard and Lisa Ungerleider are friends who are linked by a common thread.  When discussing the factors that have enabled them to reach and exceed their professional goals, they all agreed that the access to academic opportunities was largely responsible for their success(es) later in life.

While these friends all went to different schools and have different backgrounds, they all recognized that the opportunities provided by K-12 education are really what shaped and molded their lives.  Specifically, the opportunities to join specialty academic and arts clubs in high school allows a young person to find a real direction in life that they want to pursue,” said Matt Davis. “I have the opportunity to be a leader today because I had the chance to be part of academic extracurricular programs in high school.”

After a few discussions, this group of eight found they were passionate about making sure the next generation of children has the same opportunities that they had. To make this happen, they came together and created a Giving Circle that funds the Stand in the Gap for Educational Excellence Fund at the Midland Area Community Foundation.

The concept for a Giving Circle is to bring a group of people together who rally around a common cause.  They each contribute to the Giving Circle and then recommend how the contributions are spent.

Matt Davis and Jan McGuire, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation met with Mr. Ellinger, superintendent of Midland Public Schools. During the course of the meeting, they discussed the possibility of extracurricular programs being eliminated due to the reductions of school budgets.  The Giving Circle decided that the Stand in the Gap for Educational Excellence Fund will help the public schools continue to offer programs that might have been eliminated due to budget cuts such as; Business Professional Association – Student Teams, Drama programs, Debate, Forensics, National Honor Society, and International Affairs Club.

“The Stand in the Gap for Educational Excellence Fund will help make sure that we offer these opportunities and programs for our area children.  Losing these programs means we will lose a part of our community’s future and all eight of us are unwilling to let that happen” said Davis.  And this group of friends knows about ensuring our community’s future.  All four couples give to the United Way at the Leadership Level as well as other charities throughout the community and will continue to do so.  “The Giving Circle is intended to be new capital into our community and not as a substitute for giving to other organizations,” said Davis.

The Stand in the Gap for Educational Excellence Fund will be directed towards the Midland Public Schools this year.  The group of friends who started it are interested in having others join them and help guide the future of the Fund’s growth.   Matt Davis cautioned, “We don’t want people to become members in place of their existing philanthropic activities, we want people to join us because they believe in the empowerment of our future leaders.  We want people to be involved with this in addition to what they already do.  We are seeking individuals and couples who believe in this cause and who believe in our community enough to step up and ensure our youth’s future success.”