I am sure the thought of Patrick Hodges being a grantor is somewhat terrifying for those that know me, but after 3 years of serving on the Blackbaud Fund advisory board, that is exactly what I am! Dare I say the experience has been life changing? Well, perhaps not life changing, but my participation in the process has forever changed my perspective on the needs of our community and the positive impact a company and its employees can have on our local nonprofits.
In this 15th year for The Blackbaud Fund, we maintained the original charter of using our endowment resources to focus on education for disadvantaged youth. The process for determining who gets the funding can be powerfully moving as we learn more about the organization and the mission it supports and, conversely, excruciatingly tough, as we determine who may not be funded due to lack of oversight or need.
The best part? Making that call to the organization to let them know of our decision to fund their program or overall mission and speaking on behalf of over 2500 Blackbaud employees who are indirectly voicing their support as well. I have sincerely appreciated being a part of this process, and meeting with over 10 funding candidate organizations during on-site visits has given me an experience that I have leveraged both personally—educating my two young sons on the power of philanthropy and giving—and professionally.
If you happen to be a Blackbaud employee and you are reading this, did you know that you have:
• Helped to support after school programs for children attending Title One Schools where they learn self confidence, the value of diversity, and how to collaborate with peers and teachers
• Supplied hope in the form of free summer camps to foster children who have been victims of abuse and neglect
• Supported educational programs which teach young children about their world and environment and how they can positively impact it
• Supported a program that teaches core reading skills to children at the most critical point in their early educational development
• Supported a program which pairs mentors with at-risk male youths to reduce teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates through education on attitude, responsibility, and the modeling of positive behavior
Wow, I take that back, it has been life changing!