Local SEEDS help women in need to blossom
A group of local women have pooled their money, turning it into grants to help others.
SEEDS, an acronym — “Sending Economic Encouragement to those in Need” — was formed in 2008 in Poway, Rancho Bernardo, and Escondido under the leadership of Mary Jenson. The first grants were awarded in 2009. Including the 2012 grants, which will be awarded in November, the group has given approximately $100,000 to organizations that address one or more of the needs of the whole person-spiritual, emotional, physical.
Unlike some organizations with similar goals, SEEDS distributes the entire principal contributed by their membership. (Less the approximate 2 percent required for bank processing/handling fees) SEEDS funds are divided, with half going to a local organization and half to an international organization.
In the past four years, the group helped fund projects such as the purchase of a 16-passenger van for an orphanage in Tijuana and subsidizing a camp project for underprivileged youth in central San Diego. SEEDS has also provided funds for a van for a ministry in North County.
The first overseas project involved funding for soy seedlings and training for caregivers of orphaned African children. In 2010 the overseas grant went to a ministry committed to providing biblically based, inductive style textbooks, specifically mandated by the government for use in state schools in a South American country. Last year’s international recipients are doing work in small villages in Kenya, teaching women to save money from meager funds, to start businesses, and to train others in health care/wellness education, and food sustainability.
SEEDS was modeled after a group in Georgia that gathered 100 women to pool their resources in order to provide high-impact help for many nonprofit organizations in Greater Atlanta.
SEEDS began here as Jenson mentioned the idea of pooling resources to some of her friends. Several immediately caught her vision and wanted to be part of what has been described as a “giving circle.” (A group with similar giving goals combining their dollars for greater impact.) Each woman who decides to be a SEEDS member is asked to commit to the pool of funds for three-year terms. Six women sit as a leadership committee for SEEDS.
Each year the group receives proposals from nonprofit organizations that are suggested by members of SEEDS and those that meet the criteria prescribed by SEEDS. The members review the requests and description of each project and vote for their two choices in October. Grants are awarded in November of the designated year.
Anyone interested in being a part of SEEDS can find out more at www.SEEDSSanDiego.org or email SEEDS@SEEDSSanDiego.org.
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