What a week! It’s hard to believe that this 6-week program has come to an end – it seems like yesterday we were introducing the concept to our students at McPhatter Middle School! Nonetheless, here it is, and this week we got to pile into vans and drive to non-profit organizations to deliver checks. I couldn’t be more proud of these students and the progress they have made in this program. From never having heard the word to “philanthropy”, to becoming true philanthropists! The work they have done in identifying organizations and evaluating them – both in subjective quality and the more objective measurement of their financials, they now understand more about investing in good businesses than most of us will learn in a semester course from a textbook. (At least I’m convinced of this – but I may be biased in my opinion.)
We were joined in our journey by Michelle and Joni, two wonderful individuals that were the benefactors of this program, providing the funds for these students to distribute. They flew in for the day to meet the students and see first hand how they would be dividing the donations. From their feedback, I think they felt very good about the impact that has been made on these students. As I’ve mentioned in the design of this program, the actual donations are important, but it’s the process that the participants go through that is truly the value here. The concept of Main Street Philanthropy can be used in any group, association, family, etc.
One of the more interesting parts of the day for me was to observe how each organization handled receiving the funds. We could quickly tell the level of experience that each have in fundraising. Some knew exactly how to receive a donation – making the donors feel wonderful, appreciated, impactful, and wanting to do more. Others expressed appreciation, but seemed to miss a bit on the opportunity that could follow. I’ll enjoy hearing how, or if, they leverage this story into more donations. The organizations that were selected: San Diego Humane Society, Father Joe’s Village, Becky’s House, PLNU Health Promotion Clinic, ARTS (A Reason to Survive), & Playwright’s Project. All great organizations!
All that said, this day was about these students getting to reap the rewards of their hard work these past 6-weeks. They won’t be getting a check to spend themselves, they’ll get something better: the gift of giving. Seeing their faces and the pride in delivering checks is not something I’ll forget. When we surveyed the class, nearly everyone raised they hands that they felt they would be much more likely to give of their time, talents, and resources in the future, as a result of this program. I don’t expect to be able to track that to confirm, but if even one life was impacted, and that results in a gift that may not have otherwise happened, several more lives will be positively impacted. From one to many; creating future philanthropists, strengthening bonds with each other – that’s what this is about.
A fine day in my life! Looking forward to the next group to participate!