Charities of Choice 2006, Part I: Modest Needs

Over the next few days, I thought that I’d spend a little time writing about our charities of choice. During the past year, I’ve moved to a new job (complete with a 45% raise) and our self-employment income has also jumped up considerably. Thus, we’ve decided to step up our charitable giving this year.

Rather than adding charities to the fold, we’ve decided to focus on three core charities. The first of these, which I’m going to be talking about today, is a new one for us. It’s called Modest Needs, and I think the best way to portray what they’re trying to do is by taking a look at their mission statement:

Modest Needs exists to:

Prevent otherwise financially self-sufficient individuals and families from entering the cycle of poverty, when this might be avoided with a small amount of well-timed financial assistance;

Restore the financial self-sufficiency of individuals who are willing to work but are temporarily unable to do so because they do not have the means to remit payment for a work-related expense; and

Empower permanently disadvantaged individuals who otherwise live within their limited means to continue to live independently, despite a temporary, unexpected financial set-back.

To this end, they offer the following types of grants:

Self-Sufficiency Grants – Modest Needs makes Self-Sufficiency Grants by remitting payment to a creditor for an expense on behalf of an otherwise self-sufficient individual or family for a relatively small, emergency expense which the individual or family could not have anticipated or prepared for.

In making a Self-Sufficiency Grant, our goal is to prevent an otherwise self-sufficient individual or family from entering the cycle of poverty as a result of the financial burden posed by a relatively small emergency expense.

For example, we might make a Self-Sufficiency Grant to cover the cost of an emergency auto repair that must be made if an individual is to continue working.

Back-to-Work Grants – Modest Needs makes Back-to-Work grants by remitting payment for a small work-related fee or expense on behalf of a temporarily unemployed individual.

In making a Back-to-Work grant, our goal is to provide a willing but temporarily unemployed individual with the means to return to work.

For example, we might make a Back to Work grant to cover the cost of a professional license renewal for a temporarily displaced worker.

Independent Living Grants – Modest Needs makes Independent Living Grants by remitting payment to a creditor for an expense on behalf of persons who are permanently unable to work but who nevertheless are living independently on the limited income to which they are entitled – their retirement income, or their permanent disability income, for example.

In making an Independent Living Grant, our goal is to empower financially responsible persons who cannot work to continue to live independently on their limited incomes, despite an unexpected expense which no conventional agency is prepared to address.

For example, we might make an Independent Living Grant to cover the cost of maintenance on a piece of accessibility equipment not covered by Medicaid, to cover an unexpectedly large prescription medication co-pay, or to assist with a large summer cooling bill.

Beyond engaging that work that we believe in, we’re also totally on-board with their financial efficiency – in fact, just under 93% of their funds go to “program services, “ with the remainder going to program management (5%) and fund raising (2%). One of the really interesing things about Modest Needs is that you can view and rate the requests that they receive. Thus, if you’re so inclined, you can help to shape the work that they do.

A couple more interesting notes:

– 65% of Modest Needs recipients go on to become donors themselves.
– In 2006 they found an anonymous donor to match all donation, and they’ve renewed this arrangement for 2007.

If you’re looking for a worthy charity, please consider donating to Modest Needs.

See also:
Part II (American Red Cross)
Part III (Our Local Food Bank)
Part IV (The Conservation Fund)

One Response to “Charities of Choice 2006, Part I: Modest Needs”

  1. Anonymous

    If you want to do a little extra for Modest Needs, without any cost to yourself, you can use Just enter Modest Needs into the charity selector, and every time you use the Goodsearch search engine, you’re contributing to the cause. I use Goodsearch over Google most of the time now.

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