Generosity is contagious. Haven’t we all experienced a sense of satisfaction after performing an act of helping others and seeing others happy? Be it helping a blind person cross the road or unencumbering an old lady off her burden of carrying her bag? Visiting orphanages, old age homes or even kennels and making a difference by volunteering? There’s a certain zing to the ‘Helper’s High’ – something that’s ineffable but has to be experienced to be believed!
3rd December 2019 was a day when we at Gray Matters Capital (GMC) participated for the first time in GivingTuesday – a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.
As an impact investor, GMC has over the years focused on funding social for-profit enterprises with a gender lens across the geos we operate in. This was a day when we as an organization morphed into a philanthropic avatar by donating a sum total of US$ 50,000 to organizations that were chosen by team members across 3 initiatives and 2 geographies that work on social causes that were close to their heart.
Gray Matters Capital Foundation (US-Atlanta Team and Spark Grants)
The team comprising our President and Chair of the Board – Erika Norwood, General Counsel – Laura Putz, Finance & Accounting Manager – Andrew Randall and Office Manager Luvetta Jarmon chose to give US$ 2250 each to the organizations listed respectively:
FlyLife – A 501(c)(3) organization with mission of providing curriculum, conferences, and mentorship for girls ages 8 to 18 in the areas of identity, character, and purpose. “The funds will be used to host a sex trafficking rally for girls (and boys) at the high schools in Clayton county”, said Erika Norwood
Bobby Dodd Institute supported by Laura Putz, helps people with differing abilities to maximize their potential by securing economic self-sufficiency, independence and inclusion within their communities.
Citizens’ Climate Education – A grassroots advocacy organization supported by Andrew Randall empowers individuals to educate key stakeholders, policymakers, and the general public about effective solutions to climate change.
Diamond in the Rough is an award winning, faith-based, non-denominational, youth development and leadership program supported by Luvetta Jarmon designed to build self-esteem, character, and leadership among girls of all ages.
“A ‘Spark’ is all it takes to keep the gas burning, and the engine moving toward Social Change”
The Foundation also issued Gratitude Grants to organizations who have inspired GMC with their stories and mission in 2018-19. Our Spark Grants program manager Deborah Lubbe released grants to the tune of US$ 10,000 cumulatively for the following social organizations:
re:imagine / Atl connects youth with resources and mentors to amplify their voices
ChopArt empowers homeless youth through art
Girls Going Global empowers girls via travel & cultural exchange
Plywood People is a not-for-profit providing social enterprises and non-profit leaders with content, curriculum and community as they launch and sustain
Love Beyond Walls: Providing dignity to the homeless and poor through a voice, visibility, shelter, community, and grooming and support services to achieve self-sufficiency
Path Project empowers children growing up in mobile home parks to find their path to high school graduation
Gray Matters Capital India and GMC Calibrator – Digital Accelerator (India -Bengaluru)
The team in Bengaluru led by CFO Raunak Singhvi along with our Digital Accelerator – GMC Calibrator Program head Omkar Kulkarni chose to support 3 NGOs in Jodhpur (Rajasthan, India) with a total contribution of US$ 20,000. These NGOs include:
Bal Basera Seva Sansthan which is setting up care homes, health care facilities and women empowerment programs for HIV infected women and children.
Netraheen Vikas Sansthan (Jodhpur Blind School) which works to rehabilitate blind, deaf & dumb and mentally retarted students since last 35 years.
Navjyoti Manovikas Kendra which is empowering intellectually disabled children with comprehensive education, life skills, vocational training and work opportunities so that they lead a life of respect and dignity
The team engaged in a paper lantern making activity to be distributed to children to celebrate #GivingTuesday.
The coLABS team comprising Portfolio Manager – Jennifer Soltis, Business Development lead – Sharda Vishwanathan and Senior Business Associate – Tanya Martinez decided to support yher Africa with a grant of US$ 10,000. This accelerator is launched by ygap, an international development not-for-profit with an innovative approach to poverty alleviation.
This intensive, residential accelerator program for 10 female-led impact ventures from Africa will support these ventures until June 2020 by providing tailored, strategic and operational advice, connecting them to mentors and advisors, and helping them refine their business model.
Each of the ventures will receive US$ 1000 worth of growth funding grants out of the coLABS grant.
VOLUNTEERING WORK on #GivingTuesday2019
Our organizational engagement was not just a monetary one, but also involved our team members spending time by volunteering in-person.
The team in the Atlanta office engaged in the activity of purchasing supplies to create Period Packs to be donated to The Homeless Period Project and schools in the metro area.
Founded in 2015 with a singularly focused mission to provide menstrual hygiene products to homeless living in shelters and on the street, this organization is changing the world one community at a time by creating awareness and delivering menstrual hygiene products to those in need.
The other organizations where our team members volunteered or contributed in kind were:
Vernon Woods Retirement Community: Dedicated to the long-term satisfaction and quality of life of senior citizens. It has developed, managed and marketed residential communities for seniors. The company has been able to elevate industry standards by delivering exceptional living experiences while providing the resources and information seniors and their loved ones need to make important life decisions.
coLABS portfolio manager Jennifer had her daughter's class make treats and cards for the community. Her husband also chipped in with his time for guiding the kids through their art work.
Books For Africa: The largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, shipping over 46 million books to all 55 countries on the African continent since 1988.
Sharda volunteered at Books for Africa to help them sort and pack books according to category and age level.
B de Buenas: A non- profit organization that promotes volunteer opportunities for women in Mexico, particularly in Mexico City
The driving force behind our participation in #GivingTuesday this year was the belief that an act of good can have a multiplier effect by inspiring others into action. It was this very force that had made our founder Bob Pattillo sell his 54-year-old real estate business in 2003 under the influence of his then 11-year-old daughter to focus solely on impact investment and enterprise development.
Much like the adage ‘Money begets Money’, we believe that our celebration of generosity can spawn a ‘kindness contagion’ – making the communities we live in happier and in turn, making our lives more fulfilling.
To know more about #GivingTuesday and how you can join us and millions of others around the world to show up, give back, and change your community, please visit https://www.givingtuesday.org/. .