Dollar a day philanthropy adds up for non-profits

Memphians who donate one dollar a day to the Community Foundation’s “Give 365” initiative have a direct say in who gets their money.

Give 365 members gathered at Bridges in Downtown Memphis on Tuesday evening, October 4, to hear pitches from 17 Memphis area non-profit agencies.

A representative from each agency had a maximum of three minutes to give an overview of their mission and how they’d use grants ranging in size from $2,500 to $7,500.

“People like the efficiency of hearing from so many non-profits at one time,” said Ashley Harper, grants and initiatives officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. “They learn about good work they’ve heard about and others they had no idea were going on.”

Members of Give 365 have until next Wednesday, October 12, to vote on-line to decide who will share this year’s grants. The members’ votes will create a priority list of agencies most worthy of grants in 2011.

Donating one dollar a day, the inaugural Give 365 gifts totaled $34,650 in 2010.

Memphis philanthropist Silvia Goldsmith Marks has pledged a matching grant of $20,000 when the Give 365 reaches 200 members, a milestone nearly reached at the Bridges gathering on Tuesday night. The current membership total is 198.

Give 365’s website says the program is a new way of bringing people together for good. By pooling donations, Give 365 leverages “the loose change in your pocket to help create big change in Memphis,” according to the site.

Among those vying for grants from Give 365 this year are: Hatiloo Theatre, Junior League G.R.O.W. Supper Club, JIFF, HopeWorks, Brooks Museum, Memphis Music Foundation, Advance Memphis, CASA, DeNeuville Learning Center, Second Chances Foundation, Memphis Interfaith Hospitality Network, Porter-Leath, Veritas Prep, Exchange Club, Synergy Treatment Center and Su Casa Family Ministries.

You can learn more about the program by clicking on Give 365’s website, Facebook page, clicking on the Community Foundation website or by calling Ashley Harper at 901-722-0022.

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