By MARILYN HALSTEAD
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) – While Aur Beck was working on a solar project in the Caribbean last year, he was asked by friends to attend a meeting of “100 Men Who Give a Damn.”
“All of my friends were all going to this meeting,” Beck said. “At that event, they gave away about $25,000.” Beck was inspired and thought the concept would be something that could be done in Southern Illinois. The group is basically a network of people who want to make sure their donations have a more substantial value and greater impact.
“It’s really simple. It’s 100 people giving $100,” Beck said. “Then collectively, we give $10,000 to the winning charity.”
The group will be called Heartland People Who Care. Potential members have to be willing to donate $100 at four meetings per year. First, they sign up for the group and pledge to donate. Then, they can nominate nonprofit groups to receive funds, and members will vote online for the charity to receive funds. The top three groups will present at the quarterly meeting or giving party, where members will vote again to elect a charity to receive the funds.
“The top nonprofit will get the money, but others will get recognition. People will give some money to them, too,” Beck said.
Beck said this system eliminates a debate that often takes place in groups like Rotary, whether it is better to make a donation or plan an event.
He used the upcoming Taste of Chocolate, which will benefit The Women’s Center, as an example.
“You know they have spent at least six months organizing and planning,” Beck said.
Heartland People Who Care would eliminate the need for hosting an event. Beck said people often ask him how often they will be giving. Ideally, he hopes everyone can give four times a year, but some people may not be able to give that often.
“My goal is to try to do it as often as we can,” he said. He added that joining the group is easy. Go to the website www.heartlandpeoplecare.net and pledge to give.
Then, individuals will be allowed to nominate nonprofit groups to receive funds.
“I have been doing this about three weeks and have 31 people signed up so far. We’ve had a steady group of people signing up and nominating nonprofits,” Beck said. “We are not going to do this until we have 100 people. The goal is not to give $100 but to collectively give $10,000.”