Last week’s panel on innovation and action to change prevailing issues around food equity and access.

FEAST founder Sam Polk introduces panelists at Accenture.

We were blown away by the stories of panelists Dana Rizer (FEAST), Gabby Rodriguez (HarlemGrown), Alex Godin (Lemontree), Angela Chiappara (Brooklyn Community Services), and Mohamed Attia (Street Vendor Project). 

What stood out most to us is that whether you’re discussing food affordability, education, advocacy, or accessibility, everyone can connect to a food story.

These panelists shared personal anecdotes regarding the importance of family dinners; talents as burgeoning chefs; living in food deserts; and the rights of street vendors. And we feel confident saying that every guest of the event felt empowered with the tools to take a step towards change.

We’re proud to support this event and encourage you to explore the missions of these amazing organizations. What’s more, every organization from the evening’s panel is listed on DonorUP! If the Fair Food Fight is important to you, consider making a donation through the app.

As always, 100% of your donation will go to the nonprofit, and you’ll be eligible for rewards and events from us!

And a special thanks to Accenture SoHo Innovation Studio and Taylor Durland for moderating such an engaging panel. You can read more about Taylor in his recent Impact Profile!

Let’s DonorUP!
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We sat down with Taylor Durland, the FEAST New York Advisory Committee Chair, for this month’s Impact Profile.

Impact Profiles, is a series celebrating our community. We’re talking to non-profit founders, executive directors, and donors alike about what they care about most and their unique missions. 

Thanks to Taylor for taking the time and for including us at FEAST’s Fair Food Fight event next week: Perspectives on Food Equity, Food Access, Innovation and Action. A discourse on the prevailing issues around food equity, with a focus on opportunities to innovate, take action and create change. You can RSVP here!

Impact Profile: Taylor Durland

Let’s start with some Fast Facts!

Where are you based? New York City

Occupation? Innovation @ Accenture

Favorite Non-Profit: FEAST

How do you spend your free time? Travel, wellness and doing cool things with good people. Time is my most precious resource. I want to spend it with people who challenge, inspire and enrich me.

What first got you interested in philanthropy?

I was blessed with parents who pushed me and my brothers out of our comfort zones from a young age…prioritizing travel and seeing people that were different from us. I started to wrap my head around this idea of privilege (though I’m not sure 5-year-old me would have known to name it as such) and I felt energized at working to support those who weren’t brought into this world on such a solid footing as I was.

Has this outlook changed over time?

Not really. It’s still a passion, but manifests itself in different ways. While I haven’t landed any local news segments since my kindergarten debut after launching the General Mills cereal box tops for education program at my school (remember when kids ate gluten?!)…

Great, now all I can think about is Lucky Charms!

(laughs) Food and health have become a more central part of how I strive to give back.

I’m most passionate about helping empower underserved communities with the tools to lead healthier lives and health + wellness education.

FEAST (Food, Education, Access, Support, Together) is an amazing LA-based organization I worked to bring to NYC. FEAST provides comprehensive wellness programs that combine food education and group support. Knowledge is power.

It’s hard to believe we live in one of the most progressive cities in the world yet the gap between places where there’s a Sweetgreen on every corner (and patrons who can afford a daily $15 salad) and those where the only option is a corner bodega, is staggering. FEAST works with partners around the city like Wellness in the Schools, Edible Schoolyard NYC, Harlem Grown, Misfits Market, and Tom Colicchio’s Crafted Hospitality Group to educate and empower around this most basic need.

How can people get involved?

Here’s a quick layup – donate to FEAST on DonorUP!

And we’re always looking for educators who are willing to get certified to teach our programming, especially as we expand throughout the five boroughs and beyond.

It sounds like giving back is a big part of your lifestyle and goals.

When I’m in an environment where I’m pushed to my limits, it fuels me to ask more questions, reach for the next milestone and unlock a new confidence and presence that is part of who I’m becoming. Mindfulness is priceless.

Taking part in making the world we live in just a bit better, a bit fairer…grounds me in appreciation for what I have. It gives me mindfulness that fuels me in work, play and everything in between.

Taylor Durland is a NYC-based management consultant, wellness fanatic and lover of 90s R&B. Catch him sweating it out in NYC’s Hudson River Park or exploring the world off the beaten path @tdurlo.

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Thanks to everyone who joined us at Barry’s Bootcamp!

As part of our WorkUP A Sweat event series, we partnered with Barry’s to reward our growing community for giving back again and again.

 (Big shoutout to our trainer Oliver for a killer class!)

This event was made even more special by the participation of our event partners WOLACO and Charley St.

Both offered exclusive discounts for our donors, and we are so psyched to be connected to such socially conscious lifestyle brands.

But… why these events?

Because giving is a lifestyle.

And we’re committed to connecting where you give with what you already do, so we programmed this class to fit into YOUR routine.

Donors who gave $36 (the cost of one Barry’s class) to any organization on the app were rewarded with a community workout. But the feel-good vibe doesn’t end after class. Thanks to WOLACO and Charley St, donors carried that givers glow with them into the work week.

We’re grateful to Barry’s for including us in their community, and as their website boasts…

We’re giving you options…

We do things differently here…

Hustle and heart set us apart…

We feel the same way.  And whether or not you’re ready to #jointhehustle or #WorkUPaSweat, you can always…

DonorUP.

Interested in attending or hosting a community event with DonorUP? Email [email protected] and follow us on IG @letsdonorup for highlights and exclusive invitations!

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Welcome back to Impact Profiles, our new series celebrating our community. We’re talking to non-profit founders, executive directors, and donors alike about what they care about most and their unique missions. 

I recently spoke to Adele Jackson Gibson, a fitness coach and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Adele has been an athlete and a storyteller since childhood. She now uses those gifts to connect with her community, empowering people with tools for their health, healing, and curiosity.

Tell us a little bit about your background and interests and how/if it informs the work you do now!

I grew up as an athlete who loved drawing a writing stories about animals … the drawing animals part ended in high school, but maybe I get to return to that one day.

A lot of my work right now is centered on empowering womxn through the stories I tell about female athletes around the world.

I aim to do the same with my clients in the gym. How this happened? After I decided I wasn’t going to be a pro soccer player anymore, I decided to turn my passion for storytelling into a career and became a journalist. My first job was at a startup that was focused on women’s sports media. And coaching happened because I fell in love with CrossFit and wanted to be in the gym all of the time. I’ve got the best of both worlds now!

Everyone has a unique impact. What does giving back mean to you? 

Hmm. I’m gonna be that person and say I don’t love the phrase, “giving back” because of what it implies nowadays, but I understand the sentiment.

“Giving back”, as most people talk about it, sounds like a one-way street… You’re dumping your money and resources into some cause for someone else’s life or something else’s existence. We think it’s just for the other. We also tend to believe that “giving back” means a dip in our own resources, and it sometimes becomes a sacrifice because we owe something to the communities that lift us up.

“Giving back”, “give it back”. There’s a sense of loss there for me. I don’t know what phrase I would use, but “giving back” to me means realizing that every time that I give of anything (time, talents, money), that same energy comes back to me so long as I’m in the mode to receive it.

I give my time, I get more time. I give more money, I receive wealth (in whatever form). I help someone else, I receive help from others.

This is the belief I’m now stepping into anyway as I’m recognizing that everything is energy, that everything works in a cyclical manner and that our main function as human beings is love.

My mentor once shared this affirmation with me, “All the money that I use returns to me multiplied in a never ending cycle of increase and enjoyment.” It’s awesome.

Of course really living this affirmation requires me to release my old fears about money and what money really is. But one thing I do now if I feel like I’m ever in any money trouble, I make sure I have extra change/cash laying around to give to people who ask for money on the street. 

I also have automatic donations set up with organizations I support and I volunteer at my spiritual center.

We believe giving is a lifestyle. Can you make a connection between where you give and what you do in your free time?

Well I give to my spiritual center, and that’s where some of closest friends are. They are awesome.

Who’s someone whose work you really admire?

 Right now, I’m looking forward to reading my friend’s book “Choose Wonder Over Worry” (Amber Rae). I just listened to her talk at a conference about how to handle tough emotions and move into a space of power. In terms of how that relates to giving … I think when we give to charities, we often feel bad for people and are not often visualizing the best outcome for that person. So instead of giving out of worry we can give in a space of wonder. Think about the miraculous “what ifs”.

DonorUP creates a meaningful relationships between donors and nonprofits, so you can really track your impact over months (or years). Look ahead 5 years. What kind of impact do you hope to see/be a part of?

I hope to help end gender discrimination in all industries. And to help people realize their own power in their healing journeys.

Do you want to give a shoutout to some of your favorite organizations?

Shout out to the Equality League for leading the charge in creating safety and equal opportunities for athletes everywhere.

And shout out to Celebration Spiritual Center for showing people the power of their thoughts in their own healing.

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INFORMATION

Take a moment to reflect on where you grew up, went to school, how you spend your free time. This all informs where you give and why you feel connected to your causes. Welcome to Impact Profiles, our new series that’s all about our community, about you. We’re talking to non-profit founders, executive directors, and donors alike about what they care about most and their unique missions.

I recently spoke to Katie Campos, Executive Director of Teach for America Buffalo. In our conversation, we covered her professional history, personal motivations, and unique philanthropic identity. And through it all, she placed an undeniable emphasis on access to and empowering people with information.

“One of my values is a big belief in people’s capacity.”

It came as no surprise, then, to discover that since she was a child, Campos was interested in the news. From a young age, she’d seek out the newspaper, and spot contradictions– why are they saying one thing but doing something else? She had access to information, and it empowered her. Now as an adult, Campos’ philanthropic identity directs her towards education and informing communities. “One of my values is a big belief in people’s capacity,” says Campos.

ORGANIZATION

Before TFA, Campos worked with DFER (Democrats for Education Reform) and later moved home to Buffalo, NY. She used the word “outraged” several times to describe how she felt about the school system and how difficult it was to find information about NY public schools. She wanted to put together why so many classrooms didn’t have grade-appropriate books, why students were graduating wholly unprepared for their grade-level, why the schools were effectively failing. And why more people weren’t talking about it.

She began organizing parents and students to learn about their rights and understand what policies could better serve their schools. Before this movement gained momentum and transformed into the nonprofit organization Buffalo ReformED, Campos would wait outside schools, churches, and talk to parents one-on-one about their experiences.  

“Cultivating people [like parents], helps them to appreciate their full potential.” Campos believes that you can steward a community to what they perceive as a challenge and through information, empower them with tools to alleviate it. The ingredients for success here are strong leadership and the principle of “power in numbers.”

After ReformED, Campos served in Governor Andrew M Cuomo’s office as the Assistant Secretary for Education. But Buffalo called her back. She cites “proximity” as the driving force in returning to the city. “The further you get removed, the harder it is to find out what’s going on on the ground level.”

MOTIVATION

As a leader, Campos adopts these two truths to keep people involved over time: “education is far from where it needs to be, and every time there’s a bright spot, celebrate it.”

There’s a lot of work to do. What gets tricky is the “revolving door” of parents and students, as she put it, cycling through the schools. Because in the years a student is enrolled, they might not see the sweeping changes they dream of, but they can absolutely make progress.

They know and “feel like they’re part of making history.”

I asked her how we can motivate people to advocate for change when they might not see immediate results. “As far as the ‘here’s what I can do today, tomorrow, next week,’ the short answer is… stay informed. Give [people] a number of different news sources. Understand what kinds of questions they can ask their kids about how things are going at school.”

This applies to teachers as well. To reduce the risk of burnout, TFA Buffalo Corps members connect with kernels of goodness and those aforementioned “bright spots” that can be expanded upon. Campos knows that change takes time, but she’s seen first hand the impact this kind of coaching can have on a community and now the TFA Corps members. They know and “feel like they’re part of making history.”

LOOKING FORWARD

“Every recurring donation, no matter the amount, gives us a boon of confidence…We hold every donor in the same regard.”

So what’s the next phase of involvement and growth? The next generation.

Campos admires the motivation of Millennials and Gen Z-ers. “They have come to expect information at their fingertips. They do their own research. They expect answers and clarity about what they’re involved in.” And she’s optimistic about the impact this age group can have. As Campos expressed, feeling entitled to answers is a good kind of entitlement. As we age, we see how hard it is to push against a system for so long, to see how long it takes to see change, and eventually, we no longer feel entitled to information.

There’s that word again: information. “We need to ensure that the world is changing to meet the needs of this age group. They’re making informed choices.” And transparency plays a critical role. When concrete answers are missing, Campos believes that “‘I don’t know’ is a fine answer as long as it’s transparent.” We can learn together. And it starts locally.

You can start with yourself. Your community. Your city. As Campos learned, proximity does matter. And it’s the people in a community who can change that community for themselves.

“A recurring donation means that your vision aligns with our vision.”

TFA Buffalo offers personalized support for their corps members, building a network of leaders committed to their unique missions and community goals. The website for TFA Buffalo boasts that “in addition to continuing their work as teachers, alumni in our region also have become principals and district leaders, joined local nonprofits, and founded charter schools—all moving to redefine what it means to get an excellent education in our city.” That sounds like Campos’ leadership in action.

Of course, it’s also the wider community that matters. Far beyond the city limits of Buffalo is a community of givers with philanthropic identities that connect them to this city and this mission. So whether near or far from Buffalo, Campos says, “every recurring donation, no matter the amount, gives us a boon of confidence…We hold every donor in the same regard.”

It goes back to the idea of power in numbers. For TFA Buffalo, each donation indicates an interest in the work TFA is doing. “A recurring donation means that your vision aligns with our vision.” And she assures that they keep the community informed about where the money goes. And if you have questions about TFA Buffalo? Ask! The thirst for knowledge and informed decision-making is at the foundation of Campos’ work. This kind of transparency, empowerment, and growth-mindset helps build the habit of giving and an informed community. And that’s the future of change-making.

#LetsDonorUP  @TFABuffalo

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What’s the relationship between your mindset and your fundraising campaigns?

That’s exactly what we set out to answer this morning at NYN Media’s Nonprofit Fund Con. NYN Media brought together fundraising and development executives from nonprofits across New York for a variety of panels and networking opportunities on creative campaigning and raising money.

We were honored to be included in such impressive company, as DonorUP Founder and CEO Allan Amico moderated the first panel of the day: The Importance of a Fundraising Mindset to all of your organizational communications.  

(from L to R) Allan Amico, Jackie Garcia, Simone Joye-Eford, and Mitch Sternbach.

Allan led a discussion examining the current state of fundraising, how nonprofits can take responsibility for creating and managing engaging campaigns, and what ingredients go into writing successful grant proposals. The underlying theme: your mindset. A fundraising (growth) mindset empowers nonprofit leaders to build more proactive campaigns, strategy, and has a higher rate of “yes!” from potential donors.

We’d like to thank Mitchell Sternbach of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Simone Joye-Eford of the Jericho Project, and Jackelyn Garcia of Hudson Guild for the engaging talk and kicking of #FundCon2019 with aplomb. What this panel (and the sheer number of audience questions) proved is the power and potential within ourselves. What the panel uncovered is the relationship between mindset and the campaign philosophy of effective storytelling. Whether you’re on the organization or donor side, we are all fueled by our emotion. And a common non-negotiable across the board (well, panel?) …

Gratitude.

It’s the key to nonprofit/donor relationships and thus donor retention.

But with the simple “thank you” comes a somewhat more complicated issue of the role of social media in that same relationship-building. (Take, for instance, the fact that organizations get no donor information from something like Facebook fundraising…)

Simone, Mitch, and Jackie all agreed on the power of social media and the importance of thoughtful content curation across relevant platforms (think Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), understanding that each platform invites a different audience and thus a wide base of potential donors.

What must be taken into consideration, however, is the notion of content as a form of currency. On one hand, social media is an incredible low/no cost way to give shout-outs and personally thank donors. And as a campaign tool, an organization can maintain relationships while delivering updates and a climate of transparency regarding where donor dollars go.  On the other hand, as an organization, you want to be thoughtful about who is getting a shout-out, when, and why. There’s a delicate balance to be had in making sure social media moments are meaningful.

To effectively connect with potential donors, you must be authentic to your organization’s mission and voice. There is no precise formula to follow. But every organization may use some of the same ingredients to build a campaign that serves their unique audience(s).

In an apt concluding question, Allan asked the panelists to look to the future. Which trends did they expect to see emerge in the next couple of years (and thus how nonprofits can begin to prepare for the success of future campaigns)?

Responses ranged from an emphasis on transparency; staying on top of trends to effectively communicate with the rising Gen Z; and the critical element of personalization of messaging for donors. We’ll take this one step further and ask every organization to consider their own mindset and emotional well-being when it comes to the potential fatigue of ongoing one-time giving campaigns. How can transparency, personalization, and retention best be served? The answer may rest with smaller, recurring donations from a loyal donor base.

We thank NYN Media for including us in a great conference and for providing organizations with the tools they need to meet their goals.

#FundCon2019 #LetsDonorUP

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When You Give!

Last week, we partnered up with Row House Columbus Circle for a class as part of our WorkUP a Sweat event series.

The premise is simple…

Get rewarded for giving back!

DonorUP users who give any amount to their favorite organizations were rewarded with 50% off class. And Row House regulars were invited to give on DonorUP for the same deal!

We knew Row House was a natural partner for this kind of class after reading this part of their mission:

“We’ll show you everything you need to know. We teach you proper rowing technique and are committed to your overall health and wellness. Every seat counts, and no matter your age, fitness level or background, Row House pushes you to achieve your fitness goals…”

Sounds a lot like DonorUP, no?

No matter what moves you to give back, every voice and dollar counts, no matter your age, income, experience, or background! We push you to achieve your giving goals!

An enthusiastic group of rowers gathered for this 45-minute, full-body, high-energy rowing experience. What stood out most is that rather than an ultra-competitive experience, Row House builds up the room as a whole–a spirit of inclusion, and the perfect marriage with our spirit of giving and growing together.

We’d like to thank Row House Columbus Circle for having us and look forward to other collaborations in the future!

Interested in hosting or attending a fundraising event with DonorUP? Email [email protected] and follow us on IG @letsdonorup for highlights from recent events and exclusive invitations!

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Quick poll while you’re here:

Raise your hand if you made one or more donation last year.

Woohoo!

Keep your hand up if you can name every organization you gave to.

Good work!

Keep your hand up if you feel passionate about the causes you supported.

What a change-maker!

Keep your hand up if you itemized all of these as deductions on your tax return.

Wow! Very adult!

You can all put your hands down.

Here’s good news!

No matter how far you made it through that rapid-fire round, you’re in the right place.

To keep up with our growing community, we’re constantly coming up with new ways to connect– connect with you, connect you to nonprofit organizations, and connect you to each other!

Because everyone has a different philanthropic identity– it’s like your giving thumbprint– we can all learn from each other. You teach us so much about what matters to you, so we’re using this platform to amplify the voices and causes that you care about.

From donor profiles and nonprofit news to in-depth interviews and exclusive DonorUP perks, we’re here to help you GO, GIVE, and GROW.

So let’s organize ourselves in ways we never have before. Let’s support causes that matter most to us. Let’s make giving back a habit, not an obligation. Let’s….

DonorUP!

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