The Big Payback: Celebrating Social Change

Each year, thousands of nonprofit organizations are forced to close their doors due to lack of funding. It is a challenging endeavor to start a nonprofit; many fail within the first five years. Founders struggle to keep a nonprofit alive day-to-day without the promise of personal financial reward. There’s no IPO in the future—the only payoff is social change.

JustGive was founded to give all nonprofits the opportunity to reach a wider audience through the Internet. And now that we’ve reached our tenth anniversary, we had the opportunity to honor the monumental achievement with a celebration at the City Club in San Francisco this past month.

Welcomed by the joyous bells of the Golden Gate Boys Choir, the event brought together our supporters and partners, and dedicated staff and Board members, past and present. During the night, three Bay Area nonprofits we’ve helped over the years spoke about their work and how JustGive has made a difference.

  • Reverend Cecil Williams of the Glide Foundation spoke about how we must all come together to end poverty and hunger.
  • Allison Rouse, Senior Development Director with Room to Read inspired us with the organization’s vision for world change that starts with educated children.
  • Don Margolis, a volunteer with AMIGOS told us how their students are bridging cultural gaps through student exchange.

The potent bats of the soon-to-be World Champion San Francisco Giants held the attention of the city, but our lineup of speakers was—in my humble opinion—more compelling.

The most moving part of the evening was hearing the passionate words shared by our founder Kendall Webb. It pleases me to share excerpts from her speech with you now. We’ll post the full speech and more photos from the event on the JustGive site in the near future!

Kendall’s 10 Year Anniversary Speech

I am so moved standing here, and looking out at all the incredible people that have come together to make JustGive happen. Getting ready for this event has given me the chance to pause and remember some of the most amazing moments in our history.

I was working at a for-profit Internet site…and I realized the Internet could make a significant impact for philanthropy. But when I looked at the few initiatives being discussed which were going to be set up as for-profits, I asked how they would balance the conflict of interest. They said “the cost of technology is too high” and they were going to “take the poor public.” I disagreed with the reasoning, and fueled by this, I was more determined than ever.

Now, 10 years later, I continue to be amazed by the number of people and hours that have been given to this mission for free, out of passion and interest in giving back…

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Our mission is to expand charitable giving and add new innovative channels and programs that keep giving easy, informative, current, fast and convenient.  To do this, JustGive focuses on developing charitable programs that seamlessly fit into today’s lifestyle and keep charitable giving a part of everyone’s everyday lives.

  • We were the first to launch charity registries, which raise millions of dollars for nonprofits.
  • We were the first to launch charity gift cards, which have generated $4 million for charities to date.
  • And finally, we were the first to initiate the creation of a new category for redemption pointsCharity to compete with Travel and Retail.  We have redeemed just under 1 billion points, generating over $9 million for charity.

And for all of us in the room, we’re most proud that funds from these programs generated money that would not have gone to charity otherwise.

We are raising significant money for charity—the top 10 charities have generated over $1 million. But more importantly, we are raising money for a huge number of charities.  While each charity may not receive large dollar amounts, to them, every check is significant.

I want to end with a story that gave me the vision and desire to bring together so many of you as a community to do something great.

There was a person who was walking along and he happened upon a construction site in a decaying urban neighborhood and he asked the first worker “What are you doing?” The first worker said, “We are stacking bricks.”  The second worker said, “We are not just stacking bricks, we are building a building.” And the third worker said, “We are not just building a building, we are building a school where children’s dreams will come true.”

We are each a brick in JustGive, and together we have built this incredible charitable vehicle.  I hope we continue to lay many bricks and that we attract new and more people to add bricks to this nonprofit we have built.  For those here tonight that are not currently involved in JustGive, I invite you to add a brick or two.

Thanks to our past and present team and Board, and a group of donors generously making personal financial gifts and providing donated services over the years, JustGive has grown and expanded its reach, becoming The Destination For Online Charitable Giving®.

Please join us in raising a virtual glass to 10 years of online charitable giving! Saluting not only that JustGive has reached this important milestone, but celebrating all of the nonprofits we’ve had a hand in reaching their significant milestones.

Have something you’d like to share about JustGive? Visit our Facebook page.

Home for the Holidays

Thankfully most of us will never know what it’s like to spend a night in our car, find shelter in a park, or not know where we will get our next meal. We identify homelessness with strangers—the man on the street corner asking for change, or the mom and child trying to find shelter to escape violence.

With home foreclosures at a record high, it’s no surprise nonprofits are expecting longer lines for their shelters this winter. Nighttime temperatures are dropping below freezing throughout the country right now, and obtaining a dry, warm place to sleep is necessary for survival.

In 2007, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty estimated 3.5 million people—1.35 million of them children—are likely to experience homelessness in a given year. According to Housing and Urban Development, last year, 1 in every 200 people spent at least one night in a homeless facility. The San Francisco Homeless Services Coalition (a branch of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition) estimates there are currently 35,000 homeless in the Bay Area: thirty percent are families with children, and more than half sleep on the streets at night.

Overwhelmed? JustGive makes it easy to give a little and make a big difference.

The problem of homelessness can seem too big, too far from our homes. So how can you personally make a difference? By donating as little as $10, you provide a safe place to stay, a warm meal for empty stomachs, and dignity and hope for a better future.

Here are several charities in my backyard that are helping the homeless:

· San Francisco Interfaith Council is a network of faith-based organizations “committed to the principles of human dignity.” For the past 19 years, the council has provided shelter and hot meals for the homeless in San Francisco. This year, cold weather shelters will be open from November 23 through February 28.

· The Oakland Army Base provides temporary winter shelter and hot meals for homeless in Alameda County from November through March. The Oakland Army Base Workforce Development Collaborative supplies housing, food, employment, and healthcare to low income residents and the homeless year-round.

· Glide provides three hot meals to the city’s hungry everyday—750,000 meals per year. For some who come to eat, Glide may be the only safe and welcoming environment they experience in a day’s time. In a recent interview for the San Francisco Chronicle, nonprofit leaders state that drastic increases in the need for food and shelter, combined with cuts in funding, are creating “a crisis in the emergency homeless services system.”

How can I help my local charity provide shelter from the cold and a hot meal to families in need this winter?

Search JustGive’s database of nearly 1.5 million charities and find shelters in your city or zip code that would benefit from your donation. Donate to a local charity you know and make a difference for those who otherwise would go without a roof over their heads and food.

Bringing it Home

Know someone having a house warming party? Going home for the Thanksgiving and don’t know what to bring? Make a donation in a friend or family member’s name to an organization that provides help and hope for those without homes. Don’t know what charity to choose? Buy a GiveNow Card and let them select from nearly 1.5 million organizations that make a difference.

Want to spread the word? Tell a friend.