Many Hands, a charitable group of women from across the Washington area, celebrated its 10th anniversary with its 2013 introductory meeting last night in Chevy Chase.
Many Hands takes the
idea of a giving circle and turbo charges it by making a single, $100,000
donation to a Washington organization.
Between 100 and 150 women donate a thousand dollars each. That money goes into a pool for a single, $100,000 charitable donation and three smaller donations. With absolutely no overhead costs, Many Hands is able to give every single dollar of the money its members raise.
Many Hands only gives donations to local DC organizations, giving the women an invaluable opportunity to connect with their communities.
Sandra McCoy, a board
member of Many Hands, moved to DC from California three years ago. She said
that a friend encouraged her to get involved as a way to meet other women and
to understand the needs of the community.
“For a lot of women, it’s sort of a mini course in philanthropy and what’s going on in the community,” said Noni Lindahl, also a board member.
Lindahl said that a lot of women who have served on the committees have gone on to be involved in multiple capacities with the organizations that they have looked at.
We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve connected a lot of people to groups that they really didn’t know about,” she said.
The group focuses on nonprofits that work with women’s and children’s issues. Each woman can elect to join one of the four committees: housing, health, education and job readiness.
The committees explore
and research organizations that fit the criteria and they narrow down the
finalists before making site visits and calling for applications. From there,
every member of Many Hands votes for the final winner.
McCoy described the donations as high impact. She said the organizations that have benefited from their donations have used the money for staff hires, new programs and facility upgrades.
Last year’s recipient
was College Bound, an organization that works with DC public and public
charter schools to help prepare their students for college.
“With the money that we’ve received from the Many Hands giving circle, we were able to launch a Virtual Mentoring Program. Through the VMP we were able to hire staff and to start supporting our students to finish the program. We are now able to support our alumni through college to degree completion,” Kenneth Ward, executive director of College Bound, said.
87 percent of last year’s first-year college students were able to return to college for a second year—far above the national average, said Ward.
currently services about 100 students.
Wendy Gordon, a Many Hands donor, has since joined College Bound as a college coach, helping students find and prepare for the right college, said Ward.
Many Hands is entering its fundraising season with plans to make its sixth donation next year.