A Conversation about Generosity
Written by Abigail Punt, Development Director
This post is intended to be a conversation starter, a tool for our community to use as we explore the opportunities to support work we care about and invest in creative solutions through charitable giving. The information included is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice or wealth management.
From the beginning, our mission at Treetops has always been to not only support New American women and teens that have been through the resettlement process but to transform our communities into places where everyone can belong. This work belongs to all of us, every community member that invests in a cross-cultural friendship or goes beyond hospitality to mutuality in engaging with a new neighbor. True to the “Collective” in our name, every one of us in this community has something to offer and something to gain by being on this journey together.
As an extension of our community building work, I hope that even as we seek out the financial support needed to execute our programs each day we are engaging more deeply with the many community members that respond to that invitation. My hope is that we are not only transforming our communities for people that join them through resettlement and immigration, but for people that have financial resources they want to invest in making their communities stronger. I dream of Treetops being a space in which we are reimagining what it means to be generous and use our material resources to support transformative solutions to the problems we see around us.
From that lens, I hope you’ll join us in the following exercises to identify your giving values and start uncovering potential partners that share your vision.
Exercise One: Identifying Your Giving Values/Priorities
Take 20 minutes on your own or with your family to reflect on the following questions to identify your giving values (we recommend reflecting on these questions in this order):
- What problems do I/we see in the world?
- Which problems or issues keep me/us awake at night or particularly break my/our heart?
- What kind of solutions do I/we want to be a part of?
- What themes emerge as you reflect on your answers to questions 1-3?
Exercise Two: Identifying Aligned Partners
There are over 1.6 million 501(c)(3) organizations based in the U.S. - how do we choose which ones to support?
- Start with your giving values! Be a part of work that you care about and believe is important.
- Talk to friends and family about organizations they support and trust.
- Reach out to organizations you are interested in supporting. Here are a few questions you could ask:
- What is your mission, vision, and values?
- What programs do you run and how do they align with your mission? How do you define success and evaluate your programs?
- Who is on your board of directors and how often do they meet? Are there committees of the board that provide additional support and oversight for the organization?
- What financial information do you have available to the public?
- How would my donation make a difference?
Interested in how Treetops Collective answers these questions? Check out our blog post here.