About 100 women, and a handful of men and youngsters, donned yellow plastic “hard hats” today and stood in snow-dusted grass smiling at a camera.
They posed in mid-morning winter cold for a group shot to celebrate the founding members of Impact 100 Richmond, an empowering organization of ladies from the metro area who pooled money to transform a non-profit.
The photo was taken at the Southside Child Development Center, the recipient of the first $100,000 grant awarded last year. The center provides affordable child care and preschool for working parents earning less than $22,000 annually.
When I learned about the new initiative last year I immediately signed up as a member of a giving circle. Impact 100 requires individuals or giving circles to donate $1,000 and to vote for the grant recipient.
Our circle, which I named Beloved after the masterful book by Toni Morrison, remains intact. The six of us will help choose this year’s grant winner. Three Beloved members pumped our fists for the camera at a time we’d normally be snuggled under the covers. A party we had attended the previous night made sleeping in more desirable. Still, standing there feeling appreciated for pooling our money to help children meant more than a few more hours of snooze time.
Week two of 2011 is a great time to map out your philanthropic endeavors. Just choose what works best.
Form a giving circle.
Instead of individual gifts, pooling money with others can yield a bigger impact for an individual, family or nonprofit. Start with friends or family who share a similar philanthropic vision. Learn more about giving circles.
Donate your time and talents.
Short on funds? Many nonprofits need mentors and volunteers for as little as an hour a week. Share your time and skills. Become a lunch buddy or a mentor or tutor for a student. Spend time in a nursing home. In the spring, volunteer to mulch, clean and plant flowerbeds at a school. Or clean up a park. Just have fun doing something out of the ordinary to benefit people, your community, the environment or animals.
Make loans globally.
All you need is $25 to help launch or expand an entrepreneur’s business on another continent at Kiva. That’s the minimum amount. The same amount spent on a movie date goes a long way in Africa or Latin America. Times are so tough nationally you can even donate to entrepreneurs in the United states.
Give to creative endeavors.
Give any amount, as little as $1, to help fund a movie, book, performance or other creative project at Kickstarter.
Share a philanthropic vision with children.
Learning to be altruistic can begin at any age. The younger, the better. Like adults, children who volunteer not only make a difference in their community, they can show they are responsible, explore career options and make new friends. Get tips.
We all become richer when we share. As 2011 unfolds, aiming for a wealthy spirit creates a powerful gift that keeps giving.