By: Randy Sater – President, Stonebridge Properties
In 2009, the year leading up to my year as Chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, I co-chaired a committee with Keri Thomas with Sutter Health to evaluate how the Metro Chamber might best engage its members in giving back to the community through philanthropy and community service. Coincidentally, at this time, the 2009 Leadership Sacramento class embarked on a similar effort as their class project. Collectively, we engaged over two hundred individuals representing business, non-profit, foundation and government sectors in a conversation regarding this topic. What culminated from this conversation was the development of a three-pronged approach to be led by the Metro Chamber with the goals to inspire leadership, volunteerism, and philanthropy amongst its members. The volunteerism and philanthropy components came to be known as Inspire Giving.
We officially launched Inspire Giving in 2010 at the Annual Dinner marking the beginning of my term as Chair of the Metro Chamber. Inspire Giving was developed as a Giving Circle whereby individuals could join for a one-time contribution of $250 or a Founding Level donation of $1,000. Our concept was to create a process whereby individuals could learn about philanthropy and volunteerism and have fun in the process. The organization adopted the words that my mother used to say, “A little is enough if enough people do it!” as the organization’s mantra. We would select a non-profit once a year to receive what has been typically a $10,000 grant along with project-related in-kind contributions from Chamber members, which met the needs of the recipient’s grant request. Each year, the winner of the Inspire Giving contributions were and are still today chosen by the members of Inspire Giving. Inspire Giving members are also involved in the volunteer activities requested by the recipient. These volunteer opportunities have historically ranged from painting, clean-up, building, landscaping, as well as mentoring and other useful activities to the organization.
Our very first recipient of an Inspire Giving grant was the River City Food Bank. Their facility had recently been destroyed by fire and they were desperately in need of a new facility. Our grant, in-kind contributions, and volunteer efforts were focused on getting them into their new facility. In total, our direct and in-kind contributions to the River City Food Bank exceeded $275,000. This effort truly illustrated the power of grass-roots philanthropy and volunteerism. The Inspire Giving effort has gone on to support in subsequent years numerous non-profit’s projects including:
- Teaming up with the Leadership Sacramento class to build a new amphitheater and outdoor Learning Lab for Soil Born Farms
- Building an outdoor dining patio for St. John’s Plates 2 Café, which provides job training for women in the St. John’s program.
- Building Interior modifications and design of an in-house “clothing store” at the Sacramento Food Bank whereby customers to the Food Bank who are transitioning to work can find business attire and training for job interviews.
- Interior design modifications for a creative writing lab for 916 Ink where children can expand their imagination and develop core writing skills and ultimately see their work published.
- Updated and enhanced the grounds and children’s play area at the Roberts Family Development Center to better suit the needs of the kids which attended the center.
In total, since the inception of Inspire Giving in 2010, the combined direct grant and in-kind contributions to local non-profits exceeds $800,000. This success would not have been possible without the volunteer efforts of numerous individuals including the 2010 Leadership Sacramento class, subsequent chairs, Michael Smith and Sean O’Brien. And we can’t forget the very generous donations from local businesses over the years that provided goods and services to the Inspire Giving projects. In fact, it has been this aspect of the ability of Inspire Giving grants to leverage in-kind contributions, which has been the most gratifying and successful aspects of the program.
In short, Inspire Giving is creating a grass-roots culture of philanthropy and truly living the words, “a little is enough if enough people do it!”
Join Inspire Giving today! Text Inspire17 to 27722 or click here to submit your donation!