and an overall dip in charitable giving nationwide, maintaining a munificent organization that is mostly dependent upon corporate donations can be challenging.
Evans says the biggest challenge of running a foundation is constantly seeking and securing viable funding sources during tough economic times. “Being able to continue to provide shoes to our needy client base is essential,” he says. “As with everything else, shipping costs, repairs, and storage space is expensive.”
In an effort to tackle other social issues plaguing many communities, such as pediatric AIDS, Evans partnered with various social and nonprofit agencies across the country. Evans is working with Harlem Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and the National Black Commission on AIDS on various initiatives, such as Solevivor, which focuses on youth awareness of AIDS; obesity research; and the Orange Door initiative, which will provide a home, care, and antiviral medication for children up to age 6 who have AIDS or are HIV positive.
“My ultimate goal is to build a pediatric AIDS and podiatry hospital in Harlem and Ghana,” he says. “I want to help people put their best foot forward.”
Set a vision and stick to it. Emerging philanthropists should always write out their vision and make it plain. Stick as closely to your vision as you possibly can, because other people will have their own agendas for your calling, says Evans.
Generosity and genuineness go hand-in-hand. Give of yourself and work to promote a cause or revitalize your community because you want to do it. You should not begin a philanthropic organization if your motives are self-serving.
Get the word out. Establish a Website or blog. If you cannot afford a publicist, find a public relations agency partner looking to expand their presence in the community who will take on your project pro bono.
Do your homework. Carefully and sufficiently research the cause that you are promoting. Check to see if others are doing something similar in the community and consider forming a strategic partnership that will strengthen your mission. It would also help to read as much as you can about philanthropy. Publications such as The Chronicle of Philanthropy (www.philanthropy.com) are a good place to start.
Become 501(c) (3) certified. It’s difficult to survive without proof of your official status. Acquiring nonprofit status assures donors, grant decision makers, and potential members that you are committed. You will also increase the chances of gaining their trust and support for your mission