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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Through Al's Eyes

What do you see when you open the door to your place? When your hand extends to the lock with your key at the ready? If you’re like me, you take the fact that you have a key, a lock, and a door to your own place mostly for granted. Walking into your place seems like no big thing.

When I read an update that one of our recipients, Al, sent in this month, I started seeing my own front door differently. Here’s what he said abou the support he received from Benevolent and all the work that the nonprofit Inspiration Corporation did with and for him:
“I can’t believe that with the help of Benevolent and Inspiration I was able to turn my life completely around. I have a great job and a place to live where I pay my own rent. What a feeling. It’s nice to see that there are still people and programs out there that still care and don’t think that homeless people aren’t worth helping. For those people who donated thank you so much. For those who are still out on the street don’t give up - don’t ever give up.”

Reading that message, I suddenly saw things through Al’s eyes. Pictured him coming home from his job as a waiter in a restaurant, wearing the work clothes that Benevolent donors helped provide, pulling keys out of his pocket, turning the lock, and stepping into his own place. The image and the feelings that went with it were overpowering.  Picturing this new reality through Al’s eyes – the transition from jobless and homeless to employed and housed – made it all powerfully real.

Try it. Imagine that you’re Amaya and you’re getting ready to pack up for college – packing yourself and your daughter. Imagine that you’ve just heard that 25 people contributed the funds to pay for your security deposit for your college housing.

Imagine that you’re Toya, the oldest of a family of refugees from Bhutan, trying to acclimate to life in the U.S. and to help your parents and siblings navigate a new country, new language, city life, and more. Imagine the relief of receiving the computer that will help you all to establish yourselves here and then the sheer sensory overload once you start to take it all in.

It’s a cool and mind-expanding exercise, this seeing things through other people’s eyes.  I hope you’ll try it.

- megan kashner
  founder & ceo

Monday, July 9, 2012

We are the Donors, my friends

We, who give less than $200 a pop make up over 87% of all those individuals who give to charitable organizations each year. We’re the ones who make an impact, fuel services and supports and make things happen.

No one names a building or a brick after us. Our gifts don’t buy us influence in a political campaign – not as individuals, anyway. We’re certainly not the ones who give big in order to cover over a public gaffe. 
"I promise I will be the 
best  waiter this city has 
ever  seen. I will never 
forget what  you have done 
for me." - Al 

We give what we can, whenever we can, because we want to help someone. As it happens, we 87% are fueling the bulk of the change that happens for people across our country and beyond.

Where’s our ribbon-cutting ceremony, then? The newspaper piece about the incredible gift we just gave? Well, I guess our props come differently.
“I want to express my appreciation 
for your generosity in supporting 
me with the certifications.” 
- Christina

Not only are we – with our small gifts -- the major driver behind social impact in this country, but we’re also in it for a great reason: We want to transform someone’s life. The reward we want for our good work comes to us in the form of a note from Al telling us that he’s gotten the job he wanted as a banquet waiter and that thanks to us, he’s got the uniform he needs to start work.

We get excited when we see the photo of Christina with her nursing certification certificate or the video Bridgett sent us thanking us for her winter clothes for her commute to school and letting us know that she’s graduated. 

I’m pleased and proud to stand with you as a regular ol’ donor and to step up to claim our place at the head of social change in our country.

- megan kashner
  founder & ceo