PGK Bay Area – A Venture in “What If”

When you think of the Bay Area, what words come to mind? Technology? Innovation? Entrepreneurship? Amazing food trucks? OK, maybe the last one is just me (seriously, they are so good!). But I think everyone can agree that the Bay Area has a history of making the impossible possible by asking, “What if?”

As a 15 year resident, I find it amazing that an area with such a wealth of resources has so much need. The Bay Area is home to thousands of non-profit organizations working to strengthen the community. In recent years, these organizations have made great strides by tapping into their corporate neighbors and adopting innovative business strategies. Founded like a high-tech startup in 2005, Downtown Streets Team played a great role in the recent decline of local homelessness even in the wake of increasing rents. In 2014, Loaves and Fishes reinvented their 35-year old soup kitchen model, resulting in a 90% increase of meals. And most recently, The Art of Yoga Project (AYP), a leader in the rehabilitation of at-risk and incarcerated girls, partnered with YCore to design and build a platform that allows teachers to train virtually in AYP methods.  By asking, “what if?” Bay Area non-profits have been able to make the impossible possible.

As someone who has made a career working with youth, I have a “What if?” question of my own. What if we brought our high-tech culture and vibrant non-profit community together in a way that allowed youth to become more active, engaged, and empathetic? What if we used existing technology to connect youth with meaningful, timely, and fun volunteer opportunities? What if youth could lend their voice to the non-profit community using devices at their fingertips?

Fortunately, I don’t need to ask my “What ifs” any longer. Project Giving Kids- Bay Area is here. It’s changing the way we look at youth service and cultivating the next generation of givers. Project Giving Kids is allowing youth to become a part of something much bigger than themselves and realize they have the power to make the world a better place.  Maybe that’s the next great legacy of the Bay Area, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

When the Well Runneth Over

During the month of February, we had the privilege of being featured by the Well Coffee House in Boston’s South Station as their “Nonprofit of the Month.” The Well is a cool concept – a nonprofit itself that serves up great brews and educates its customers on nonprofits around the city doing important and interesting work. We were humbled to be in such good company as organizations like Boston Cares and Cradles to Crayons, as well as partners of ours like Room to Grow and Project Bread.

But beyond just highlighting nonprofits doing good stuff, the Well Coffee House does something more too. It takes the everyday staple that is coffee and turns it into something that builds community. At Project Giving Kids, that strikes a particularly resonate chord. At our core, we are all about building community too. While we tout that early service and volunteerism cultivates empathy, makes our children stronger and puts them on a path toward greater self confidence and success (which it does!), the other side, and equally important to us, is the fact that through these early connections between kids, families and nonprofits, we stand to strengthen the very fabric of our communities. We stand to tie ourselves together by providing for the collective good of all through the amazing network of nonprofits that make our cities and towns places we all want to live, whether we are on the receiving or the giving end of the transaction.

As we gratefully accepted the Well’s month-end contribution (because yes, they dedicate a portion of their proceeds to their Nonprofit of the Month), we are reminded that when we act in the interest of others, it is often our own cup that runneth over in ways we didn’t expect or imagine.