This week, we’ll be teaming up with Saints player Thomas Morstead to attempt to turn his What You Give Will Grow initiative into an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Previously, What You Give Will Grow functioned within the Greater New Orleans Fund, but it is now ready to go it alone. With this move the initiative will gain greater freedom regarding the allocation of donated funds.
In this project, we have two aims. First, Thomas wants to ensure that his foundation is agile, meaning that he wants to be able to respond to the needs of the New Orleans community as they evolve rather than dedicating the foundation to one particular cause. Secondly, Thomas wants this foundation to operate at zero cost. In other words, 100% of funds raised for charity will actually go to charity.
At the outset, we learned some surprising facts about the portion of donations many non-profits send to direct aid. Often, a surprising percentage of donations are used to fund operations and pay employees. According to charitynavigator.org, the Red Cross sends 90.7% of funds raised to donees. By contrast, according to this CNN article, the Salvation Army normally sends 82% of donations directly to aid (however, during disasters, they up the ante to 100%). Some of Charity Navigator’s lowest ranked charities include the Firefighters Charitable Foundation, which sends a mere 7% of donations to aid, and the Children’s Charity Fund, Inc., which sends only 6.1% of donated funds to aid (and 84% to fundraising!)
With our goal of 100% in mind, we have been and will be soliciting pledges for service from local attorneys, accountants, advertising, and other professionals. We started on Monday with a local press conference held at Gasa Gasa. (See some of the resulting stories here and here!) And on Tuesday, we hit the ground running, meeting with P&N Accountants and father and son attorneys both named Pat Hand. On Wednesday, we took a break with Thomas at YLC’s Wednesdays at the Square to watch the great Marcia Ball, and some of us had a nice dinner at Capdeville (shout out to Curry Smith, YLC Executive Director who hung out with us at Cap.) This evening, Thomas and 52businesses will be at Publiq House for a crawfish boil and Brass-A-Holics show.
The team will be putting on additional events throughout the remainder of the week, culminating with us taking over one of the stages at this weekend’s Freret Street Festival. Be sure to come out to the festival and let us know how you would like to get involved. If you can’t make it out on Saturday, sign up on the website to get What You Give Will Grow email updates–Actually, sign up even if you do come!
Finally, check out our official donation letter and please share it with anyone you know who might be interested in getting involved: