Over the last two decades, I have had the pleasure of working closely with corporations, not-for-profit agencies and hundreds of donors and volunteers in finding unique ways in which to connect them for the benefit of all. I have worked on several sides of this equation – as a Community Relations Leader at one of the world’s largest professional services firms, as the Vice President of Major Gifts at one of the largest and oldest not-for-profit organizations in Los Angeles and as a member of the board of directors of an agency dedicated to mobilizing volunteers in my community. I am also proud to call myself an actor and have spent many an hour over the years raising funds for several theatre companies. In my experience, I have learned that there are four key elements that bring extraordinary results when inspired to help:
1. identify your passion
2. keep focused
3. keep it simple and
4. have fun!
With that said, I am really excited to share with you a new website that has captured this winning formula!
Recently, a gift arrived in my email in the form of a message from Stefani Beckerman. Although I had not met her in person, we both belong to the same networking group. The group is comprised of amazing woman and we often reach out to each other to ask for support and to share and celebrate successes. The message Stefani sent was an announcement of a website that she and her two partners, Bryan Edwards and Ben Scharlin, were launching. My interest was piqued and I wanted to learn more so, she arranged a meeting for us to get together. We met early one evening at a popular coffee shop on the Westside. I was greeted with warm handshakes and after we got comfortable on the patio with the traffic serenading us, they shared their story.
In August 2010, Bryan and Ben were searching in earnest for alternative and inspired ways to help the community, for cool forums to connect with friends, family and like-minded strangers around common charitable goals and for websites that were aesthetically pleasing and easy to maneuver. They were greeted with tired, apathetic sites spouting statistics that did not pique their imagination nor motivate them to get involved. What they wanted to find were sites that made them want to stop and stay awhile, that instilled a desire to jump in, sites that offered things like after-school programs that used the sport of skateboarding as an effective and fun teaching tool or programs that connected troubled teens with troubled horses that bond and heal together or programs that taught students in the inner-city to paint beautiful murals. They wanted to find charities they could trust that offered social networking, continuous updates, online videos and special speakers sharing the impact of their involvement. Jokingly, Ben tossed out the question… “So what do we do, search for…fresh charities?!” Silence. It seemed almost too simple when the answer came. Yes! And thus, the idea for Fresh Charities was unleashed!
|FRESH: an innovative twist on a classic idea, hip, inspiring, exciting, not boring or stale, not traditional, trend setting and bold in conviction||CHARITIES: not-for-profit organizations whose generous and creative actions are kicking butt in our communities|
Excited, inspired and motivated they set out to create an online presence and supportive community for charities that are not considered mainstream and tend to operate “under-the-radar” yet have extraordinary impact every day. A site that would offer everything they were looking for and more.
The passionate leaders of this endeavor, Ben, Bryan and now Stefani, bring together a graceful combination of individual experiences and strengths that nicely complement each other. “In sync” is the phrase that comes to mind. It’s that camaraderie and shared vision that drives the journey, a journey that I believe will inspire and motivate many others to join them.
“We want to change the world – here is where we start.”
Bryan Edwards, Founder & CEO
Bryan is passionate about creating a peaceful world and protecting our environment. He is an artist, dancer and graphic designer and is the talent behind the design of this beautiful site.
Ben Scharlin, Founder & President of Marketing
Ben is inspired to promote, protect and sustain both natural and urban environments. He is an actor and artist and is all about connection, communication and taking action.
Stefani Beckerman, President of Operations
Stefani is a fire cracker and her enthusiasm for Fresh Charities is contagious. She brings the gifts of structure and organization to the team
In just a few short months from the spark of their idea, a mission statement was developed, a stunning site modeled after Facebook was created and in March 2011 the site went live with a “soft” launch. Official site launch will be Summer 2011.
|Mission StatementFresh Charities aims to connect the charitably
curious to the world of local and global organized giving by providing a place where the two can meet, communicate, connect and take action together
for the well being and general improvement of our planet and everything that lives on it.
YOU are the key for the next phase. Fresh Charities would like to extend an invitation for you to join them in building and expanding their online community by:
- Identifying charities that you would like to see benefit by joining a passionate, generous and action oriented community
- Creating your own personal profile. It’s EASY and FUN! You can check out my profile at: http://freshcharities.com/users/ferrellmarshall
- Sharing this invitation with your friends and family and ask that they share with family and friends and so on and so forth… let’s get “the buzz” going
|Charities Get To:
o Create, maintain and update a charity profile
o Post updates, videos, pictures, and events
o Increase visibility, awareness, and activity
o Share essential facts about the organization
o Connect with a public excited about charitable giving
|Users Get To:
o Find, follow, and interact with fresh charities
o Create and update a personal profile
o Share useful tips about smart and effective giving
o Get updates from charities that resonate
o Learn how to help your favorite charities
THE TIME IS NOW
At a time in our lives when ideas, tweets and videos can go viral within hours plummeting people and issues onto the world stage, a time when the power of social networking has overturned governments and hundreds of millions of dollars can be raised in minutes to help people impacted by natural disasters… I think the timing for an innovative and socially conscious website like Fresh Charities is a gift to all who want to help create a better world.
I hope to see you online at Fresh Charities soon!