More Than Money
Issue #12

Creative Giving

Table of Contents

“Possibility Sundays”

Financially, 1991 was a good year for us. With our new abundance we started looking for a large lot and finally found 2.5 acres of desert trees, shrubs and cactus. We finished building our dream house in early 1995 and named it 'Possibility" to remind us each day to live in that spirit. Even as we designed the house, we had a particular use in mind--something we now call 'Possibility Sundays."

First, we sent invitations to about 300 people we knew from all different aspects of our life--politics, church, Mike's legal work, the neighborhood. We invited them to join us in building a new fund that would not only give money to great projects, but would help build caring community among "givers" and "receivers" (although in our minds, all involved both give and receive). We called it the Arizona Social Change Fund, and to minimize administration arranged it as a donor-advised account within the Arizona Community Foundation.

The response was tremendous. The fund has now given away $20,000 over the past 12 months, and our goal is to build it up to giving $40,000-50,000/year. Everyone who contributes is invited to help direct the money; although contributors are encouraged to give $1,000/year, among our most dedicated participants are those who give far less. At our last grantmaking meeting, 36 of the contributors met for three hours and decided by consensus on grants to three organizations. Our average grant size is $5,000. Many of our friends never before had the opportunity to be this closely in touch with these nonprofits, and everyone has learned so much by listening to each other and discerning the overall group's wisdom.

On the months that have five Sundays (which happen four or five times a year) the fund sponsors a Fifth Sunday Possibility Celebration at our home. People arrive around 10:30, enjoy a catered brunch, and then at noon the real festivities start: a welcome, a prayer, and a half-hour celebration of the nonprofits we are funding. The grant is awarded, and we invite contributions for future grants to other similar organizations in the community.

So far about 100 people have attended each Possibility Sunday, including at least 10 participants from each nonprofit showcased. The celebrations always feel to us like "church after church," because they give the gathered participants a taste of the grace in committed social change work. In the process of sharing their deepest goals, people offer a real opening into their hearts. This has become one of the most meaningful projects of our life.

- anonymous author


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