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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The word to spread is...

If you’re wanting to spread the word about Benevolent, here’s the word to spread:

“Starting in mid-November, you and I will have the opportunity to connect directly with individuals who are facing hurdles, opportunities and challenges, and who are open to receiving our help as they strive to overcome and succeed. There will be a new platform, www.benevolent.net and it will be our chance to make a difference, one to one.”

Here’s how we’re getting there…

Next week, the Benevolent team will start our work in nonprofits across the Chicago community, talking with staff members and clients of local social service organizations. We’ll be listening to the stories of individuals living on very low incomes, each one facing a hurdle on his or her path to stability and greater success. We’re looking forward to sharing some of these stories in future blogs and on the pilot of our website.

In these initial weeks of our work in the “field,” we’ll be capturing the stories of people at a moment of need or opportunity in their lives, through our partners at the Cara Program, the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C-4), Family Focus, and Bethel New Life. As our work unfolds, we’ll extend to other nonprofits in other neighborhoods across our area. We’re aiming to get our site up, with several dozen individuals represented and ready for help, by mid-November. When that happens, our members’ stories will speak for themselves.

Why here? We chose Chicago as our pilot site for many reasons, the first of which is that Chicago is our home – both professionally and personally. We’ve built strong partnerships with these first few organizations and their staffs, people who believe in our mission and the work we are gearing up to do. At Bethel, for example, the leaders and staff would happily have helped us fuel the pilot site with the needs of fifty, one hundred, two hundred clients and families currently served by their various programs.

This tells us a great deal. That the need is great and immediate: individuals living on very low incomes are striving for more for themselves and their families, and they need their community – us – to help them realize their goals and dreams. That the nonprofits who know their communities’ needs in the greatest depth are excited to introduce a new resource into the mix, one which will help their clients voice their own stories. That people are seeking connection, affirmation and dignity in their work and in their lives.

What we’ll find out in the coming weeks is how best to provide a meeting ground between people who need help surmounting specific obstacles and others who want to help steady them on their paths, in a way that is within their reach to do. We will find out what resonates and what doesn’t; what the snags are, and how we can overcome them. We’ll come closer to our goal of getting help and support to people at critical moments in their lives.

We’re glad to have you along with us for this journey and to explore these new steps together. As we do, we hope you’ll start to spread the word about this pilot across your networks.

- Megan Kashner, Founder & CEO

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