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VOL. 132 | NO. 247 | Thursday, December 14, 2017

Reconnecting Memphis

That’s the focus of new GiVE 365 grant cycle

By Don Wade

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Last August, GiVE 365 members toured the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. The Germantown-based nonprofit had received a $4,100 grant toward its mission of helping children from birth through age 6.

(From left) JJ, Vera, Ariana, Victoria, Nathan and Landon at Memphis Oral School for the Deaf, which was the beneficiary of a $4,100 grant from GiVE 365. (Wild at Heart Photography)

Emily Browne, a pediatric nurse practitioner, was among those taking the tour. “I was blown away by the advancements in technology,” she said.

“Our whole goal is to create a strong spoken language foundation for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. We don’t do any sign language,” said Lauren Hays, who is development director at MOSD. “We start as soon as a child is diagnosed with hearing loss and get their hearing device, whether that be hearing aids or cochlear implants. We go through rigorous therapy with the goal all of our children can mainstream into the kindergarten with their hearing peers. ”

Formed in 2010, GiVE 365 is a dollar-a-day philanthropy initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. The Memphis Oral School for the Deaf (MOSD) preschool received its grant during the last grant cycle with the theme, “Foundations for the Future: Programs that help youth meet their potential.”

The theme for the next grant cycle is “Reconnecting Memphis: Programs that bridge and celebrate our communities.”

The grants will support programs and projects that bring people together. Emphasis will be placed on increasing appreciation and/or understanding of others’ perspectives and experiences. Grant applications open online on Dec. 18 at www.give365memphis.org. By Jan. 18, 2018, all applicants must have submitted a WHEREtoGIVEmidsouth.org profile. The last day to make an application online is Feb. 1.

GiVE 365 membership stands at 240 individuals, couples, families and businesses across 31 different ZIP codes. In April of 2018 members will hear the grant pitches from applicants reaching the finals. Grant awards will be announced in May.

In the previous seven years, GiVE 365 members have distributed $438,190. Additionally, GiVE 365 has grown its endowment to more than $585,000.

“We get in-bound calls all the time from organizations trying to figure out how they can fit into funding opportunities,” said Elizabeth M. Warren, director of grants and initiatives at Community Foundation of Greater Memphis (CFGM). “A lot of new organizations apply for a 365 grant.”

When they receive one, it can be a game-changer.

“An organization like Carpenter Art Garden will point to 365 as the first grant of real significance they received,” said Julia McDonald, director of marketing at CFGM.

GiVE 365 members, from left, Elizabeth Warren, Molly Wexler, Emily Browne, Nathan Tipton and Julia McDonald with Landon, left, and Nathan, right at the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. (Submitted)

Carpenter Art Garden received a grant for $9,657 in 2013 to work with children living in Binghampton to promote creative potential and self-worth.

“It was sort of the cornerstone for building their fundraising foundation,” McDonald said. The Garden was awarded the latest $4,100 GiVE 365 grant this year.

Hays says it costs about $50,000 a year per child to provide services at MOSD. Typically, 25 to 30 children are enrolled at any one time. Tuition costs are administered on a sliding scale based on family household income, but the MOSD board of directors decided that families that fell below a certain income threshold would not be charged any tuition.

Thus, fundraising and grant writing is an ongoing process.

“Even though we serve a small population, it’s truly a life-changing impact,” Hays said. “What I love about 365 is there is a very clear focus and message to the community with every grant round. It narrows the vision.”

Although it could be argued that for the coming grant cycle, it broadens the vision, too.

“Every year members suggest themes and the entire membership votes on which one they’d like to move forward with for the year,” Warren said. “I feel like there was a strong interest in this theme because of current events and the divisiveness we’re seeing right now and wanting to shine a positive light on our community.”

Said Hays: “There are so many nonprofits here that have worthwhile missions. This grant has created new relationships in the community. Memphis is a very generous community and being part of 365, people learn about the different organizations.

“Total ripple effect.”

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