By GoPhilanthropic Foundation Co-Founder, Linda DeWolf
First There Were Three: Lydia, Tracey and I were full-time volunteer Co-Founders of GoPhilanthropic, and we were fondly known as the “three-legged stool.”
Our small group of GoPhil community members saw us as small but mighty. They also perceived the entire enterprise as somewhat precarious because, after all, everyone knows what happens if just one leg of a stool becomes shaky or falls off.
To be honest, we’ve had our ups and downs, trying some things that worked and some that did not, all the while investing hours well beyond what any paid job might entail.
Our very first foray into engaging others into GoPhil’s vision included hosting a small wine and cheese event at the Dean’s loft in 2011, bringing together a handful of friends and family and one of our early NGO partners from Vietnam as a guest. We were over the moon with excitement to have raised some five thousand dollars for the grassroots programs we felt so passionately about and thought, “Well, maybe this thing could have legs.”
Now, nearly 8 years later, we know we have the opportunity to amplify what we choose to dream about as well as streamline and deepen what is working well. We choose to dream BIG, not entirely in the sense of numbers – as we want to maintain a more boutique kind of foundation – but in the sense of impact and broad-based engagement. We see this happening already as we work side-by-side with our magnificent, grassroots partners, helping them learn how to evaluate and measure their work and tell their inspiring stories.
We also see a growing grassroots movement building momentum and really taking hold in our GoPhil community. This movement has a life and energy that is really delightful to witness. We have been careful about rapid growth so as to not lose what our community has come to know as GoPhil’s ‘secret sauce’ – i.e. a very personal touch and responsible expansion in different directions.
GoPhil now has a committed core team of 12 persons, with 3 part-time paid staff. Our Founder’s Circle members, who so generously invest time and money into our growth and infrastructure, represent a dozen passionate global adventurers.
GoPhil’s donor base is growing steadily as we offer the power of connection, partnership and investment in both people and ideas that change the world for the better. In its second year, GoPhil Regional Hubs are taking deeper root in Santa Fe and Denver, and we are expanding GoPhil’s presence to British Columbia as well as to the United Kingdom as a newly developing chapter of GoPhilanthropic Foundation.
The real value in expansion within our community, however, is not about numbers nor is it about counting how many donors we have, as many non-profits typically do.
For GoPhil, the real value is about what our community members DO.
Our community is asking for and actively embracing deeper involvement and through their desire to make this effort their own, engagement groups are being established. These pop-up groups will be focused around key topics such as understanding the overall philanthropic landscape as well as identifying savvy long-term fundraising strategies and also impact measures for both GoPhil and program partners alike.
Finally, we are excited to have recently expanded our Board of Directors from an initial 3, to 5, and now to 8 wonderfully gifted and dedicated members who all have a history with GoPhil and very much share in our values. These new Board members bring a very diverse set of skills and, through their governance role, will keep us on our toes and provide the guidance and support we need as we spread our wings to soar during these very exciting times.
To learn more about our Board of Directors, please visit: https://gophilanthropic.org/who-we-are/board-of-directors/.
What is next in the big picture thinking for GoPhil?
Continued listening and engagement with our GoPhil community as well as finding ways to leverage more of our strategic partnerships – all intended to create a solid footing for GoPhil into the future. You might say our three-legged stool turned into a bench a few years ago and has now become a big welcoming arena for all those wishing to contribute their unique time and talent to making a difference.
If you aren’t already a part of our community and would like to become actively engaged in education, health and human rights issues, email us today and let us know how you would like to become involved.