When I did my own VTO 6 years ago I defined 4 core values: Serve First, Kindness Matters, Get it done, and Learning+Doing=Growth. This program emerged when I created a 10-year target to give away 20% of my revenue as a way of living my Serve First value. Through Serve First, I put my resources where my heart is and support the passion for serving that exists in many of the people and organizations I work with.
Through this program, I make a $200 donation on behalf of all my active clients, a $200 donation for all officially graduated clients, and a $250 donation for any person or organization that holds a seat on my accountability chart. I’m excited to announce that 2022 was a record donation year, with a grand total of $9,500 being shared this year!
Here are a few highlights for this year’s Serve First program.
My Chosen Organizations
Every year there are a few groups I don’t hear from before it’s time to donate. In those cases, those donations go into a lump sum to programs I choose. For 2022, I split this amount between The Big Give and a fundraiser for my local school district, West Ottawa Public Schools.
The Big Give
Through fundraising events hosted throughout the year, this annual giving program from Elite Fitness Development ends up generating a six-figure sum that sponsors hundreds—sometimes thousands!—of underprivileged West Michigan children. You can learn more here.
Through an initiative called WO Cares, members of my local community raised funds for public schools in West Ottawa. These funds will help school staff provide resources for students needing basic support (coats, mittens, shoes, boots, etc.) in the coming months.
Made-me-smile Charity: Red Glasses Movement
I had never heard of this charity, and their webpage with smiling kids and supporters sporting red glasses touched my heart. Here’s a blurb from their website:
“The Red Glasses Movement was started in honor of a very special 5-year old girl, Audrey Jandernoa, who passed away in 2018… Audrey was defined by her bright Red Glasses, her contagious smile, and her lack of inhibitions… The Red Glasses Movement is Audrey’s living legacy.”
This Year’s Donations
|$200||All Good Sports|
|$200||Community Action House|
|$200||Compassionate Heart Ministries|
|$200||D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s|
|$200||Habitat for Humanity – Kent County|
|$200||Habitat for Humanity – Benzie County|
|$200||Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes|
|$400||Kids Food Basket – Muskegon County|
|$400||Kids Food Basket – Kent County|
|$800||Kids Hope USA|
|$400||Mel Trotter Ministries|
|$400||Muskegon Rescue Mission|
|$200||NAACP – Grand Rapids|
|$200||Ready for Life|
|$400||Ready for School|
|$200||Red Glasses Movement|
|$250||St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital|
|$1,200||The Big Give|
|$200||The Bridge Youth Center|
|$200||The Rock (via Grant Me Hope)|
|$200||Wings of Mercy|
|$1,000||WO Cares (via West Ottawa Public Schools)|
As we head into this new year, I encourage you to find ways to connect with and support organizations in your community. You never know whose life your leadership may positively impact!