Why did you decide to start or get involved with your group?
I started Giving Son in January in memory of my son, Rutger, who died unexpectedly in March of 2019. His absence created an extraordinary void in my life, providing me with time I never had before which I vowed to use to help others. To fully honor his memory, I wanted to find a way to make a bigger impact, an impact that was as big as him, as his smile, and his laugh.
I spoke with friends and family members about my desire to help and to learn about the causes they support. I thought about the good we could do by joining forces: a group of like-minded people coming together to choose the causes and organizations to support and to collectively donate to make that bigger impact. My desires and research led me to giving circles which are a simple, yet powerful way to increase the impact of each of our donations on our selected non-profits.
What draws members to your group?
I think there are a few things that draw members to Giving Son. The main appeal is the idea of collectively making a larger impact, which speaks to many. Then there’s the awareness that is raised by supporting the causes that are important to our members: we learn about new charities and support organizations and causes that we may not have thought of on our own. For some members it’s wanting to help, but not having the time to do the research, so our group provides a way to donate to reputable non-profits supporting causes that are important to Giving Son members.
How has your group evolved over time?
Giving Son is still in its first year so we are in the infancy stage of evolution. We are a small group with less than 30 members, yet we grew about 20% this year. In 2022, we’re looking forward to growing in membership and impact. We also hope to be able to expand beyond monetary donations to collection drives and in-person events as COVID restrictions lessen.
How can you see the impact that you’ve made with your collective donations?
Our median donation is $50/member and to date we’ve raised over $8,000 for three non-profits. That’s so much more than we could have done individually!
Our first two donation recipients were affected more than most by COVID so our donations came at a time when they’re need was at an all-time high. One of the non-profits was Hope Springs Farm in Hershey, PA which offers a day program to adults with mental disabilities, like autism. The donation helped them to establish remote programs so they could continue to work with their clients, called Growers.
Some of our members have formed a relationship with the non-profits we have supported. They are finding ways to continue to support them through donations, assisting with drives, such as collecting plastic bags that will be used for a new bench, as well as volunteering their time.
What is your group focused on right now?
Currently we’re focused on providing support to a non-profit that is assisting the immediate needs of the Afghan refugees, hurricane Ida victims and/or the citizens of Haiti. We will vote on our non-profit in the next couple of weeks and I’m excited to see which organization we select.
The holidays are a time of need, so this November, we are doing our first off-cycle, location donation, by asking our members to support their local food bank.
We’re building plans to grow membership, discussing a weekend of giving event and investigating how we can establish a giving circle in schools and/or churches.
How can people get involved?
Anyone that’s interested in being a member can request to join from the Giving Son page on Grapevine.org or Facebook.