(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Mark Blum and his wife were members of the Phoenix Giving Group, a group that has 100 members and works to support non-profit organizations across the country.
“Well, we were a part of the Giving Group in Arizona and we just saw the effects it had,” Co-Founder of Giving Group Colorado Springs, Mark Blum, said. “Just walking out of that meeting, very few people even had a dry eye, and it was just it was an experience that we’ll never forget.”
The two moved out to Colorado Springs and decided to start the Giving Group Colorado Springs chapter, making it the 57th chapter in the country.
“So, there’s part of me that enjoys giving and knows how important it is,” said Co-Founder of Giving Group Colorado Springs, Kasia Gaj-Blum. “And I think the other part was also for Mark and I to get involved in the community.”
The first meeting for the group took place on Tuesday evening at Oskar Blues in downtown Colorado Springs.
“So we’re going to do part of the beer sales for happy hour,” said General Manager of Oskar Blues, Liz Borris. “We’re going to try and give back to that as well, and hosting quarterly meetings. Other than that, just really fostering a space for people to come in and have a good time.”
Giving Group Colorado Springs Co-Founders shared their emotions before community members arrived for the first meeting.
“I’m a little nervous,” Gaj-Blum said. “But at the same time, I’m also really excited and I’m getting the same type of excitement, happy feeling that I did actually, when we were part of part of the Giving Group in Phoenix.”
Borris said it was a win-win for the restaurant to work with Giving Group Colorado Springs as it connects the community and supports a non-profit.
“Being in the hospitality realm, that’s really what it’s all about, is just bringing people together that wouldn’t normally be in the same room,” Borris said. “And if it’s raising money for a great cause, then sign me up.”
The group will continue to meet three more times throughout the year at Oskar Blues, their schedule can be found online.
The way the meeting works is that four members will be chosen at random to speak about a non-profit they feel connected to.
“We randomly select four members who get up in front of everyone and speak for 5 minutes about a nonprofit that they care about,” Blum said. “The qualifications is really that there are 501c3 there are local nonprofit and that they’ve been in business for at least a year as long as they qualify.”
After the speakers are done, members will choose a non-profit organization to receive a monetary donation.
“So, whoever gets the most votes, if you know, if member A gets the most votes, then that’s the nonprofit that one that will receive a check probably two weeks after we meet,” Gaj-Blum said.
Depending on the number of members present at the meeting, that determines how big of a donation can be made. Blum shared, that the goal of the group is to reach 100 members to give a $10,000 donation.
“If we had 20 members, it would be a $2,000 check,” Blum said. “If we had 50 members, it’d be 5000, but our goal is to reach 100 members.”
Blum shared what makes the Giving Group so special and how it creates friendships in the community.
“This in my opinion, is the most selfless thing you could do,” Blum said. “It’s all about giving. It’s all about the making a difference. It’s all about being a part of the community and, you know, whether you’re a member or not and you just show up to the meeting, it’s really just a special environment to see.”