Here’s how The Giving Group boosts Arizona nonprofits

Business News | 14 Jan |

It is human nature to give.  We all do it in one way or another.  Some of us give time while others give money.  Some of us listen to the people we love and support them when they are conflicted.  We try to make a positive impact any way we can for the people we care about.  That’s how human nature works. 

Why do you think we buy Girl Scout cookies?  Sure, the cookies are delicious, but so are a lot of other cookies.  There is something about that young girl in her uniform working hard for something she cares about.  There is something about that mother who makes the time to watch over the child in front of the grocery store.  Have you ever purchased cookies even when you’re on a diet?  Everyone has.  It’s because we like to give and help others succeed.

This year, my wife and I purchased a Coffee News franchise and our first advertiser was Brian from Orion Mortgage.  Brian is one of those over-achiever types and started a non-profit organization called The Giving Group.  My wife and I were fascinated by the concept, so we joined immediately. 

Here’s how it works: There are 100 members who meet four times a year.  At each meeting everyone pays $100 so we have $10,000.  Then the magic happens!  Brian randomly picks four members names out of a hat and they go in front of the group.  They each talk for 5 minutes about a local nonprofit they care about.  After the presentations, the rest of the group votes on their favorite of the four.  The organization with the most votes will then receive a check for $10,000.

Our last meeting was on November 29th and my wife and I had our name randomly selected.  We weren’t prepared, but we got up and talked about the Civitan Foundation.  The Civitan Foundation is a local nonprofit that helps adults with disabilities.  They have a program to give their members real world and work experiences to get them involved in the community.  I hired the Civitan Foundation to deliver my newspapers every week.  My team is near and dear to my heart and I stood and shared my heartfelt experience with them.

In the end, we got the most votes by 1, and The Civitan Foundation received a check for $10,000!  We were up against three other incredible and well deserving organizations in La Mesa Ministries, Vista Del Camino and Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS).

It’s one thing to donate a few bucks or a few hours to a local charity, and it’s another to tell them they will be getting a check for $10,000.  When my wife and I shared the news with Civitan, there were tears and hugs and a sense of disbelief.  On a selfish note, we could honestly say it was one of the happiest moments in our lives.  It was so surreal to be part of something so impactful. 

The Civitan Foundation will be using the money to refurbish their recreation patio.  Throughout the year the members, children and adults with developmental disabilities, use the area for sports activities, meals, games, special events and socialization. The area includes box gardens, courts, a shaded structure and a patio. When the weather is nice, the recreation area is used by nearly everyone.

To date, the Giving Group has now had an impact of over $44,000 to local non-profits in our community.  Past recipients include the Human Services Campus, The Joy Bus, Families Raising Hope and Boys Hope Girls Hope.  When talking to Brian, he believes that making significant contributions to organizations in our community is what will impact lives.  He said there is too much negative energy on the news right now and he needed to create an outlet with positive vibes.  We are helping our neighbors and we can see the impact we are making.

As owners of a new business, my wife and I need to budget carefully.  We think of our contributions as $8 a week.  That’s the cost of a sandwich every week.  Instead of going out, we make our lunches at home.  Another member told me they think of the experience as a form of entertainment and education.  He brings his kids, so they can see what people are doing to make a difference.  He believes the positive influence that 1 hour has on them is priceless.       

Due to its popularity, Brian is now expanding the group to 150 members.  The charity with the most votes will still receive $10,000, but the three runner-ups will share the remaining $5,000.  The next meeting is on February 28th at 6pm in Scottsdale.  You can get more information or sign up by visiting the website at www.TheGivingGroupAZ.org.

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