I received a very important reminder today.
Let me begin this story by telling you that DinoMights received a very generous grant from the McKnight Foundation this week. McKnight is one of the premier philanthropic organizations in the Twin Cities. They have a very thorough process for choosing the organizations they support including a written grant, site visit, and yearly reviews. This foundation truly wants to make sure that the organizations they fund are doing the work they claim to be doing and doing it well. They are also advocates for non-profits and understand that children become mature people not by simply doing homework. They also learn through positive play and positive interaction with caring adults. (If you want to learn more about other organizations that support DinoMights visit the DinoMights partners page).
So getting this big grant means a lot to DinoMights. Not only is it financial support that helps us with the costs of things like hockey, tutoring, Power Camp, etc., but it is also a major stamp of approval that says we really are doing good work at DinoMights.
I have to say that I personally feel pretty good about it.
Today, I went to the mailbox and was reminded to stay humble about fundraising. Mixed in with some other items was a DinoMights Fundraiser Invitation from last fall. The event took place in November, 2008. The envelope was addressed to DinoMights, and it didn't have a stamp. I figured it must have been a blank that the post office randomly found and was returning to our address. Actually, it's something I could have thrown away without even looking inside, but I did open it.
Inside I found that this invite had been personally delivered by a Rafael, a sixth grader, to his teacher. The teacher sent it back this week with a small gift to DinoMights enclosed.
The big grant check is awesome, but a small gift from a teacher to her student's extra curricular life is just as special to us. That is a teacher saying, "I support you as a partner in my student's education." In effect she too is saying that she understands the development of young people is not just about doing more homework, but it is also about making friends, playing sports, going on trips, and having long term relationships. And she can tell that it is making a difference for Rafael. This gift is 0.1% the size of the McKnight Grant, but it makes just as strong of a statement!