Editor's note: I'm very excited to share this guest post from Melissa Sweazy. She's a part of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis' Give 365 Campaign to encourage regular people to give a small ammount to accomplish big things for Memphis. Here, she shares her experience with the campaign:
I make a lot of lists. To-do lists. Grocery lists. Transcribed Santa lists for my daughter. In July. But I have
one ongoing, always updated, never ending list – a wish list for the city of Memphis.
It's a long list with some really expensive, outrageous ideas that will probably never be implemented (turn the
Tennessee Brewery into the Memphis equivalent of the Chelsea Market, re-open Imperial Bowling
Lanes as a bowling/Xanadu roller disco-derby hydra, that sort of thing.)
Some are more practical but I'm unsure of how they would get started. Wouldn't it be cool if Dinstuhl's revamped their outdated packaging by commissioning local artists? What about crowdfunded community gardens to increase access to fruits and vegetables? Wouldn't it be great to have an organization that helped fund all the individuals/groups trying to make their wishes for the city come true?
We already have that last one. Give 365 exists to award grants to non-profits dedicated to making Memphis
the city we believe it can be. I doubt my wallet will ever be as big as my dreams, so I was thrilled to
discover that Give 365 exists. Here's how it works: I give $1 a day and my contribution helps to finance real, positive change in Memphis.
I became a member because while I'm busy daydreaming, the Give 365 team is busy pooling member's donations to fund the winning organizations selected by a spirited democracy. Each year a new giving “theme” is selected, opening up the field for organizations interested in applying for grants. Give 365 members vote on their favorite causes, and in 2011, nearly $50,000 was donated to organizations like JIFF that developed a culinary career training program for at-risk youth, and Veritas College Preparatory Charter School, which used their grants to help increase the literacy rate of their students.
This year's Give 365 Campaign kicked off last week, but there's always room for new members. So while I sit around wishing for someone to overhaul an ice cream truck into the French Fry Truck –with 12 custom dipping sauces – I'm putting my money on a much safer bet. My dollar a day is helping change lives – and Memphis – for the better. Just imagine what your dollar could do.