Los Angeles, CA, April 18, 2010 – In just 10 years, a group of over 200 prominent Los Angeles women have come together and directly eased suffering of over 350,000 children in their community with grants totaling over $7.5 million, raising those dollars without putting on a single fundraising event. In addition, they have significantly impacted thousands of other children around the community, the nation and even abroad. Their innovative philanthropic model has created a new prototype for leveraged giving, among women and beyond, both in the U.S. and abroad.
To date, The Everychild Foundation has directly inspired multiple spin-off groups: 2 in Santa Barbara, 1 in Las Vegas, 4 in Los Angeles, and 3 currently forming, 2 in London and 1 in New York City
On the evening of April 29th, the members will come together in Santa Monica to award the organization’s 10th grant. The evening will be emceed by Members, Patricia Heaton and Monica Rosenthal, co-stars of Everybody Loves Raymond, along with Lew Schneider, the show’s writer/ producer and the husband of an Everychild Member. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be in attendance. During the evening, the group will premiere its new video narrated by Leonard Nimoy, whose wife Susan Bay Nimoy is also a Member. Other prominent Members include Sherry Lansing, Arianna Huffington and Cheryl Saban. The event is decidedly NOT a fundraiser.
The Everychild Foundation is different from other philanthropic organizations because of its alternative and unique approach in directing its energies and dollars. Instead of planning gala or fundraising events, which can be costly and time consuming, each Everychild member annually donates $5,000. The entire membership then votes to award the funds – a single $1 million grant – each year to a different nonprofit serving children with an innovative, new dream project that can inspire replication, thus leveraging the dollars for maximum impact. The women devote their energies, intellect, education, talents and professional skills toward the rigorous grant selection process. During the grant selection, they vet up to 50 proposals each year from agencies seeking this highly coveted and prestigious grant. Their grant process is considered the “gold standard” among the prominent foundations in Los Angeles, and was the reason why The Everychild Foundation was selected in 2004 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the Outstanding Private Foundation in Los Angeles, the youngest foundation ever to receive this award.
The group’s tagline is “Women Reinventing Philanthropy” because it provides its members with the opportunity to give back to the community in a more stimulating, efficient, democratic and effective way. They also are able to increase their “philanthropic intelligence” as they learn how to evaluate grant proposals and their agencies. Founder Jacqueline Caster started The Everychild Foundation back in 1999. “With its democratic voting system, lack of hierarchy, and flexibility, ECF sets the new standard for a high level of donor engagement,” says Caster. “Our philanthropic model is inclusive and fits within the lifestyle of busy contemporary women.” In contrast, the old standard of charity benefit events are not always an efficient use of charity dollars, because of the large expenses usually required to execute. Many well-educated and skilled women have felt underutilized in groups that focus on gala planning. Everychild empowers women to take on leadership roles. Some of its members say it is the first time they have been able to use their brains for charity.
To date, each of the previous Everychild grants have spawned such replication and thereby have helped Los Angeles to become a center for innovation in addressing children’s needs. One recent example is a universally-accessible playground serving children with disabilities. The project is currently being replicated in Jerez, Mexico and the children served by both playgrounds will be put in communication through an innovative bilingual website program.
According to the Forum of Regional Associations of Grant-makers, Everychild Foundation is one of the larger “giving circles” of which they are aware, one of the most innovative and one of the most successful in terms of amount of dollars granted. A “giving circle” is a group whose members pool funds and collectively award grants. Of the 160 giving circles they surveyed in 2006, Everychild alone was responsible for 7% of the total dollars granted. The Foundation stands out as a model philanthropic organization because of its success in leveraging its grants.