On December 3rd, the Full Circle Fund's Rising Leaders are participating in #GivingTuesday by celebrating "the story of thousands of organizations coming together around philanthropy, volunteerism, advocacy and education" with our #GivingTuesday Jamathon! The Jamathon brings talented, motivated young professionals together with nonprofits and social enterprises looking for creative new ways to achieve their missions.
The Rising Leaders program is a small, select group of Full Circle Fund members who are young professionals committed to advancing social change in their communities and developing as social sector leaders. Rising Leaders work together on specialized programming in professional development, grantmaking and sourcing potential grant partners for the broader Full Circle Fund.
The Jamathon concept was born out of the Rising Leaders' drive to host a non-technical hackathon for nonprofits earlier this year. Our members dive deeply into our grant partnerships through longer-term engagements, and the Jamathon is our way to give back to visionary groups and individuals outside of our current grant portfolio.
We hosted our Inaugural Idea Jamathon in June 2013. Rising Leaders selected eight organizations from over 20 groups that applied for the opportunity; applicants came through our large network of members and community partners. We looked for proposals with a refined problem that would be both manageable to tackle in one afternoon and would advance the group's social mission.
Over eighty guests joined us at Tagged Inc.for a full day of impact with Back on Track, Daily Acts, Kitchen Table Advisors, NexGeneGirls, OneJustice, Refugee Transitions, Roots of Success, and Wishbone. Groups worked on projects ranging from developing a volunteer recruitment strategy to fine-tuning messaging and enhancing marketing using social media.
A great example is the work we did with OneJustice that day. OneJustice connects pro-bono lawyers to rural Californians in need of legal assistance. The organization asked us for help scaling up a pioneering program called the Justice Bus to facilitate transportation from urban hubs of legal expertise to rural areas of need. During the Jamathon, the Full Circle Fund team brainstormed a way to take the Justice Bus virtual -- and won a $5,000 grant for this groundbreaking solution!
Since June, OneJustice's amazing Executive Director Julia Wilson has leveraged the Jamathon award as a seed grant -- growing it to $40,000 through matching donations and additional fundraising.
We now know this model works! Rising Leaders co-chair Elizabeth Ramirez describes it as "a win-win: members can feel proud of making a difference in just a few hours and the organizations have plans or strategies that are ready to go."
The #GivingTuesday Jamathon will bring us together again to support local groups on a special day of collective impact. Our Full Circle Fund members and select guests will gather on #GivingTuesday to hear "pain-point pitches" then organize into small groups to brainstorm solutions during a two-hour working session.
We are still accepting proposals for participating organizations! If you are a Bay Area social change organization or entrepreneur who can benefit from an infusion of new ideas from smart people around a specific problem, we welcome your application here.
The Rising Leaders will vote on the most innovative solution to receive a $2,500 award at the end of the night!
On top of the implementable recommendations and outcomes our partners will walk away with, the Jamathon will foster new connections between individuals and social causes. Co-chair Amie Vaccaro said it best: "I love that the engagement on #GivingTuesday will likely be the start of a longer relationship between talented volunteers and growing organizations."
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in celebration of #GivingTuesday, which will take place this year (2013) on December 3. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season. We'll feature at least one post from a #GivingTuesday partner every weekday in November. To see all the posts in the series, click here; follow the conversation via #GivingTuesday and learn more here.
And if you'd like to share your own #GivingTuesday story, please send us your 500-850-word post to firstname.lastname@example.org.