STEPPING UP IN A DOWN ECONOMY The Everychild Foundation proves their model works! By Joanne Galey
t's no secret that charitable giving has been hit hard in these lean economic times. Many non-profit organizations have had to reinvent their strategies to stay afloat, while others have had to implement drastic cuts that have negatively impacted their programs. In spite of a gloomy forecast, it's heartening to see a local foundation weathering the storm, and how a dedicated group of generous, smart, like-minded women can come together and create a tour de force of philanthropic giving with a difference.
Egrantachtoyear, the Everychild Foundation awards a single $1 million a non-profit organization in Los Angeles County that profoundly helps children facing disease, abuse, neglect, poverty or disability. This year’s all important grant hearing meeting will be at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica on October 18th. “Even in a struggling economy, where philanthropic giving is down by 40-60%, the Everychild Foundation has suffered less than a 5% dip and is still able to give away $1 million each year,” says group founder, Jacqueline Caster, who was inspired to start the nonprofit in 1999 out of her frustration with the ho-hum charity gala circuit.
W hat makes the Everychild Foundation successful is it’s extremely simplistic “low maintenance” approach. There are no fund raising events, no paid staff, no solicitation of friends, family or business associates and overhead is kept to a strict bare-bones budget. Instead, members pool their annual memberships dues and choose how much or how little involvement in the group they can afford. A philosophy that works well for busy L.A. women who are raising families and running businesses, but still want to be involved in their communities and make a difference to the lives of others. “With its democratic voting system, lack of hierarchy, and involvement flexibility, Everychild sets the new standard for a high level of donor engagement,” says Caster.
Left to right: Everychild member Hilary Nelson Jacobs, Founder/President Jacqueline Caster, and Everychild member Vicki Baker, present Jim Mangia of St. John's Well Child and Family Center with a check.
ts members are empowered to take on leadership roles, providing many well intentioned, well-educated and talented women a platform to get involved. The group’s tagline is “Women Reinventing Philanthropy” because it provides its members with the opportunity to give in a more stimulating, efficient and effective manner. No matter the level of volunteer involvement, the entire membership roster votes to award the $1 million grant to a different non-profit each year with an innovative, new dream project that can inspire replication – thus leveraging the dollars for maximum impact.
T his year’s worthy recipient will be announced the first week of November and will join the ranks of fellow organizations, who thanks to Everychild have been empowered to make a difference to children's lives throughout LA County.
Fwww.everychildfoundation.org or membership and project information visit Loyal supporter, Amber Valletta enjoys a fashion show hosted by Rodeo Drive's Christian Dior boutique. A generous percentage of sales went to boost the foundation's fund. BEVERLY HILLS
| Fashion Forward!