Remembering to Look Up -- Lessons from GPS

By: Ross
Ross participated in Allowance for Good's 2015 Global Philanthropy Summit in June, which focused on Global Engagement.

My time at the Allowance for Good Global Philanthropy Summit (GPS) was really eye-opening. One of my goals this summer was expanding my horizons in regards to philanthropy and service. Not only did GPS introduce me to incredibly inspiring organizations and individuals, it also gave me new and interesting tools and perspectives on philanthropy. I think much of the general population views philanthropy as monetary contribution. In reality, it’s so much more. As we learned on day one of GPS, philanthropy is giving your time, talent, treasure, and/or ties.

For example, Harvey Newcomb from Rotary International and Claire Dillon of Art Works Projects taught us about the large role marketing plays in a strong philanthropic campaign. The founder of World Bicycle Relief showed us how giving children bicycles not only allows access to education, but the responsibility of managing of contracts and who is given bikes builds a structured community that is strong and savvy. Lorraine Dillon of Right to be Free showed us how the efforts of one man have changed so many lives.

While we learned so many definitions and facts about philanthropy and ways to give, we learned a lot more by meeting people, and having conversations. I personally prefer a phone call to text or email, and I much prefer a face-to-face conversation to a phone call! At GPS, we not only listened to speakers, but we asked questions. We entered a dialogue about philanthropy. The speakers Allowance for Good chose not only did interesting things, but told interesting stories. They shared with us their experiences, and encouraged us to get out there and make experiences of our own. Experiences that will someday make really interesting stories.

I think my largest takeaway from GPS was this: Philanthropy comes in all shapes and sizes, and the biggest impact we can make is opening our eyes. Looking up from screens and schedules, taking a break from the daily grind to look out that window we sit by every day and noticing something new. Whether it be a birds nest, a squirrel on your neighbor’s roof, or even the way the sunlight shines. The more we look up, the more we SEE. We miss so much by not taking time to experience. Allowance for Good made me realize the importance of looking up. When I look up, I can appreciate my world. I can see what needs fixing and I can do something about it. The Global Philanthropy Summit is surely a week well spent, and taught me lessons that are sure to keep paying off. I encourage everyone who hasn’t yet taken part in a GPS (no matter how involved with Allowance for Good you already are) to spend a week engaging, learning, and experiencing life with your eyes open. Hopefully it will be as rewarding for you as it was for me.

Ross presenting his ideas at the workshop with Chapín Coffee and Right to be Free.

Giving for Greater Impact

By: Bella
Bella is a participant in the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Changemakers class. 

A giving circle in technical terms is a form of participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money or time to a pooled fund, decide where to give the funds away to charity or community projects and, in doing so, seek to increase their awareness of and engagement in the issues covered by the charity or community project. But a giving circle to me is a groups where you donate time, talent and money to a passion of you and your group. Giving circles can also have a greater impact on an organization, where as an individuals donation can only go so far. 
A giving circle has many benefits, the major on is a greater impact. Another benefit is having engagement with the community, friends, family and neighbors. In a giving circle engagement is key, because it is is participation. My group of AFG participants worked together and engaged together to raise money and talk about the most eye opening issues to ourselves and our passionate issues. This way we could make a difference in not only our lives but in others. 
Some of the challenges that I faced was deciding the organization that needs that most help, because one issue is not better that the other, it is where u are passionate about helping make a difference in that issue to support the solution not the problem. Another issue I faced was making my voice herd, because in a giving circle it is hard to all say an equal amount of ideas, but I found that listen is just as important as speaking and even then listen to some on can inspire even greater thoughts than u imagined. 

I am most proud of reaching our goal of 100 dollars which was matched by AFG. We raised 106 dollars and ended up to by 212 dollars, by the end. I am also proud, because I now realize how much more of a impact you/we can have on some one. With this money we decided to complete a project and donate the rest to working towards completing a project. 

Grant-making on the Ground

By: Sadie
Sadie is a participant in the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Changemakers class. 

This week in ELP we discussed creating mutually beneficial grantor-grantee relationships 
and expanded on the grantmaking process. So far, I have learned that the grantmaking process can be a hard but mutually beneficial for the grantor and grantee. Through a Request for Proposal or Letter of Intent, the grantor can identify the benefits or challenges involved in giving a grant to the grantee. Then, a grant application can further identify if giving the grant will be an efficient use of the money. The grantor can measure if there will be a mutually beneficial grantor-grantee relationship through these steps that help to measure the effect on the community the grantee will make with the money. 

We have learned that maintaining a mutually beneficial grantor-grantee relationship can ultimately lead to greater and stronger impacts on the community. Through communication, trust, and social impact, this relationship can become stronger. In our class this week, we had the pleasure of having Lauren Wolter from The Once Upon A Time Foundation speak and share her experience with us. The Once Upon A Time Foundation has three sectors; one of which is the Philanthropy Lab. The Philanthropy Lab organizes classes at several colleges and universities in which students are granted money that they can donate to an organization of their choice after learning about philanthropy. Similar to our learning at Allowance for Good, students are given the chance to learn about philanthropy and the grantmaking process and apply their learning to the real world. As a future college student, I think this is a great program to have because many students are unaware of the specifics of philanthropy and its impacts. As part of a foundation, we had the opportunity to hear Lauren’s perspective on the grantmaking process. She spoke of how grantmaking can truly be mutually beneficial and how that can benefit various communities. 

Because of my learning about the grantmaking process in Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy, I am now inspired to somehow be involved in the grantmaking process in the future. I am a catalyst for good because I think everyone deserves to have the same rights, resources, and opportunities as others and non-profit organizations and grantmaking is a way to bring this to action in my future. In the meantime, I will continue to educate myself and others on philanthropy and global change so that I can apply this knowledge in the future along with my peers.

Building Strong Communities

By: Meredith
Meredith is a participant in the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Changemakers class.

Asset-based community development is when groups in a community work to change and further expand their society. This development could be technological, numeral, or emotional. Asset-based community development demonstrates a community coming together to make a bigger and more significant impact. Groups include residents, voluntary associations, institutions, physical assets, economic activity, and stories. The mapping activities we did in class helped show how every group in a community works together. The map showed us that even though we may be a part of completely different societies, the same characteristics can be used in each society to create change. Mapping out our own communities and the different ones that we were a part of showed the class how much we all had in common. Most of our communities were not the same but served the same purpose for ourselves. It also showed us how many skills we have in common that we use everyday in our different communities.

Building strong communities is very important to the development of a society. Without strong communities our world would not be as unified as it is now. Strong communities create order and success that create change and advance the world faster. Strong communities consist of strong leaders and accepting members. Although some people may have more of a say or a bigger impact on final decisions, without all of the components of a community, nothing would function smoothly. Coming from the On The Table dinner discussion, our minds were much more open to the different types of communities in the world and how many of them function with and without the same characteristics. Something I took from the On The Table dinner was that even though some communities may have different levels of development, they all find happiness in their own way. No community needs electricity or running water or huge houses to have happiness. A community creates happiness based on their own needs and things they find essential to their life. This stood out to me because there are many places in the world that function perfectly well and happily, even though they don't have as many luxury items as developed cities do.

Something to Talk About: GPS 2013

On Monday, June 24th, 2013, Allowance for Good launched its second annual Global Philanthropy Summit, which brings together a catalytic group of youth for intensive gatherings to advance personal understanding in and encourage collective action toward global education equity.

Zoe reflects on Day 2 of GPS, during which we heard from Crossroads Advisors, Crown Family Philanthropies, and Google.

Sometimes life decides to hit you over the head with a big foam bat. Today traveling down Wacker drive, I had a small epiphany on a big idea. We’ve been talking a lot about asking “what’s wrong?” and making sure that our services are actually helping and are actually needed. That communication is one of the necessary things for any program to work, whether in Uganda or Louisiana. The idea that there are things people don't need aid with, or that people can actually suffer from the misappropriation of aid is not something I’ve really thought of. I have to admit, and I know its sad, but its not something that's occurred to me before. I don’t like to think that good intentions can go wrong.

When I was in the 6th grade, I organized a coat drive. I knew that the shelter, Connections for the Homeless, needed to increase their amount of winter clothes they could distribute if they wished to provide for the homeless in Evanston. I gathered coats from November till January and gave them to the shelter. This worked because I had close personal connections with the shelter. It doesn’t work nearly as well when the place the donations are going to is a NGO is a developing, third world country. We don’t know what they are doing and can't infer what they need from halfway across the world like we can in our own communities. The biggest idea I’ve gathered, as to working in and with philanthropy, is Communication. Talk about ideas, talk to people, and talk with people. Create a conversation.

Communications is an important part of the world, since more people have a cellphone than access to a toilet. Companies like Google are helping to create ways to open lines of communication and connecting the world. By using their technology and going above and beyond, Google is giving in several key areas both locally and globally. As an internet company Google understands how important communication is in the modern age.

Personally, I really like what Google is doing. They are applying their skills and the skills of their “Googlers” to help the world. They have such an expansive network, and do so much to aid in the creation of communication that I feel they were the real focus today. We have so many opportunities to connect with the world these days, we need to use them. We need to apply our ability to be able to chat with people on another continent to our ideas, and combine it in a way to benefit humanity.