Join a Giving Circle, Make an Impact
By Ben Tierney
What exactly is a community foundation? I get asked this question a lot. In the community foundation world, we often struggle with providing an adequately concise answer. This is mostly because there are a lot of important aspects, and you try not to leave anything out for fear of losing a potential volunteer or donor. Here's a full response to the question. And here's my best effort at making it as concise as I can: We're leading the way in community philanthropy.
One recent method the Midland Area Community Foundation is involving others in community philanthropy is by opening two new funds: The Big Give and The 100 Young Professional's Club. These two groups are known as giving circles, which is a relatively new trend (based on very old traditions). The idea is so simple you'll wonder why we haven't been doing this in Midland for decades: Bring a small donation with you to an after-work get together, talk about some nonprofit organizations in need, and vote as a group to determine which cause deserves the combined donations most.
For The Big Give, these gatherings netted $32,100 for local causes this year alone. That's a little over 100 men donating $100 three times a year. Benefiting from the donations were the Diaper Alliance, Midland County Great Start Collaborative and Midland County Former Offenders Advocacy and Rehabilitation (part of Caregiving Network).
The 100 Young Pros meet twice-yearly and each bring a $50 check. During their latest meeting, the group raised $1,200 which was donated to Hidden Harvest, which redistributes surplus food from area hotels and restaurants to soup kitchens and food pantries throughout the area.
Now when people ask me what we do at the Midland Area Community Foundation, I make sure not to leave out these giving circle funds as yet another opportunity to give back. Both groups are actively seeking new members. Want to get involved? Call the community foundation at 989.839.9661 or email me at email@example.com.
We're leading the way in community philanthropy, and joining a giving circle is an effective, fun and unique way to give where you live.
PS: We hold funds for a men's giving circle as well as young professionals, but what about a women's group? While not a fund held at MACF, the Midland 100 Club has done great things in our community for over five years. With over 270 members, their cumulative impact stands at over $313,000. To find out how you can get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org.