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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year’s Resolution – Not a "Should" but a "Must"

The new year is approaching. I’ve vowed to work out three times a week. We’ll see how that goes. When we look at the people whose needs are posted on the Benevolent site, though, we get to see resolutions for the new year through a very different lens. As always, find these needs and help those seeking to meet them at www.benevolent.net.

The Benevolent members whose needs we see on the site this week are not talking about exercise, home improvement projects, or getting around to writing the great American novel. They have make-or-break goals for the coming year.

Al, who is seeking help in purchasing a tuxedo shirt, bowtie, vest and shoes so he can get a job with a banquet company, puts things very clearly as he explains that his housing subsidy will run out in February:

“I worked my way up from nothing. I gotta keep going.”

Alejandra, whose husband left her and their kids 6 months ago and whose need for a sewing machine was just met through Benevolent donors says:

“Now it is up to me and I must find work as soon as possible.”

Sierra, who has worked for the same shoe store for seven years and makes enough for rent and utilities, asks for help in the form of new clothes for her children. Here is Sierra’s larger goal:

“I would like us to be able to live comfortably without worries and stresses every week -- to have our basic needs met.”

It’s the “gotta,” and the “it is up to me” and the drive to meet basic needs like housing, income, and clothing that put these resolutions on a stage of their own. None of these individuals has the luxury of “should” this new year; each of them has a clear plan and path forward.

My real resolution is not about working out three times a week. That’s a “should” goal.

My “must” resolution is to meet the needs of the determined men and women who share their resolve, their drive, and their stories with us and who give us the opportunity to partner with them in reaching their goals.

I hope you’re in on that resolution with me, because it won’t work without you. We must have your help.

- megan kashner, founder & ceo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Transformers: The Gift-Giving Solution

This holiday season, here at Benevolent, we hope to set a new tradition together with all of you - that our holiday gifts will continue to give beyond the holiday season.

In the last weeks before the holidays, the focus is on gift-giving. There’s nothing wrong with that, but today I want to extend that focus to well beyond the holiday season. I want our gifts to have change-making power.

The new year inspires many of us to pursue goals and make positive changes in our lives. The individuals whose needs we’re seeing on the Benevolent site embody that desire to move forward and make change.

Christina wants to go to school to be a Pharmacy Technician.

Alejandra seeks an industrial sewing machine so that she can work at her trade.

Luis needs eyeglasses so that he can study for his GED and continue his education.

These are just some of the needs we’ve got posted. Others reflect some basic medical needs that are critical and nearly impossible to access, like dental care. Unfulfilled, they can hold someone back from making any progress.

When I think about the new year, I’m overwhelmed to know that Christina has already received the support she asked for to get trained as a pharmacy technician and that Luis is well on his way to getting his eye exam and glasses. I’m hoping that Alejandra gets the support she needs to have the right sewing machine to start to work in her trade. If we can accomplish that in time for her celebration of Christmas, I’ll be overjoyed.

Gifts through the Benevolent site this season will have an impact far beyond this month. Your gift this holiday season will make you part of the solution.

Getting to transform someone’s life… that is our holiday gift.

- megan kashner, founder & ceo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It’s a Big Deal - Time to Shout it from the Rooftops

This past week marked the introduction of Benevolent’s new website at benevolent.net. Our new system, new look, and a batch of new member needs made their debut on Thursday, December 1st.

As an early adopter of the Benevolent model, you can make it a really big deal. We’re loading more new needs into the site this week, and the holidays are approaching. It’s time to shout it from the rooftops and spread the word. At the bottom of this blog are all the links you’ll need.

In the five days since we launched the Benevolent site at benevolent.net, I’ve been envisioning what will have changed in some lives when we’ve met the needs of these first Benevolent members. Here are a few highlights I’m looking forward to seeing…

When Tori’s need for a computer is met, her kids will be able to come home after school, sports practices, and after-school activities to have dinner, do their homework, and be together as a family rather than waiting in line at the library to use a computer for homework, unsupervised and without their mom’s help.

When Luis gets the money to have an eye exam and get glasses, he’ll be a better and safer taxi driver and will be able to read and study for his GED. Luis wants to improve his English, learn computer skills and get a better job – perhaps a job during the day rather than at night.

When Jose’s need for winter clothes and gear for his kids is met, he’ll be able to bundle his kids into winter clothes that fit, buckle and zip in all the right ways. Jose is raising his kids on his own since his wife left them several years ago. Making sure his kids have the clothes and gear they need is only one of his many concerns and responsibilities as he works for a food distribution company and struggles to make ends meet.

The people who’ve listed their needs on the Benevolent site are putting themselves out there. The nonprofit professionals who have stepped forward to help their clients get the help they’re seeking have also put themselves on the line. Our Benevolent donors have started putting themselves out there as well, stepping up to meet people’s needs.

Now we’re ready to ask you to get the word out. Please:Spread the word in your own way.

- Megan Kashner, Founder & CEO