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Benj and Jessica launched a nonprofit. Follow our journey as we built a 501(c)(3) and a web site, and now usher in an endless stream of worthy charity nominees and monthly grant winners!

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OBCF 40th birthday $4000 grant recipient: Sea Change OBX

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$4000 special OBCF 40th birthday grant recipient Sea Change OBX

We had a BLAST on Saturday at Outer Banks Community Foundation's 40th birthday bash at the Brewing Station!

Making it rain on otherwise gorgeous day with $4000 grant

I couldn't believe the endless stream of new Charitocracy sign-ups at the event. Not to mention the scores of new donors joining without our assistance during the event and in the preceding weeks. But our card swiper was working non-stop throughout the afternoon, with the last donation received and vote cast just 3 minutes before the stroke of 5pm when we froze voting. I barely had time to escape from behind my laptop and get on stage for the final countdown!

Thanks to board members Lisa Nicholson and Sam Cortez for their assistance at the event, and to the entire team at Outer Banks Community Foundation for kicking off our partnership with such fanfare. And finally, thanks to co-founder Jessica Sands for MC'ing the event and being the darling face of Charitocracy for the afternoon. Also for lining up such talented musicians (Jonny Waters & KT Bender) to keep the party going!

$4000 grant recipient: Sea Change OBX

And did I mention, Sea Change OBX earned the $4000 grant by getting the most (44.5) votes? It only seems fitting that Jessica Loose pulled this off. The same legendary Charitocracy donor to go from zero to hero in February 2020, leading to the month-after-month local "hijacking" of Charitocracy, culminating in the spin-off of Charitocracy OBX from Charitocracy USA. I don't know about the rest of you, but I saw Sea Change OBX coming for this additional $4000 grant a mile away!

Now what?!

The day after the party we resumed the normal monthly schedule for our October grant, with a Top 10 announcement. Next, your votes will narrow down the playing field to the Top 3 contenders tomorrow night. No rest for the weary! So get your votes (re)cast and let's keep the momentum going strong!

Take a page out of Jessica Loose's playbook: don't be afraid to introduce new people to Charitocracy and convince them to support your favorite nominee. Friends, family, neighbors, random strangers on the street... They could all use a little more Charitocracy in their lives, right? And we could stand to have our monthly OBX grants grow a bit more, too. Win, win! To keep things in perspective, we're only talking $1 per month. What's that these days with inflation, a sip of coffee?

Your Charitocracy donations pouring into monthly pot
"Keep pourin'."

September 2022 winner Room in the Inn

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Charitocracy OBX's 24th check to September winner Room in the Inn for $590

We have good news about September winner Room in the Inn, right after this longer than usual news update...

October 15 @ 2pm. Music. Beer. Cake. $4000!

Below are some important details concerning how October will operate here at Charitocracy OBX in light of the "takeover" happening at OBCF's 40th birthday event at the Outer Banks Brewing Station.

But first, a link to easily monitor the progress of who's in the lead! https://obx.charitocracy.org/forums/view/top-rank/

  • As usual, Charitocracy OBX donors, and only Charitocracy OBX donors, can vote for this $4k grant recipient. Bigger donations have a bigger impact on our community, but whether you donate $1 per month or $100, you get one vote on Charitocracy.
  • Not to confuse things, but you can split your one vote amongst multiple nominees if you have trouble picking just one! And you can change your vote any time you want, repeatedly. So far all of this is the same as any other month...
  • All Charitocracy OBX nominees, including ones that have won in the past year, even ones that have won in the past 24 hours (I'm looking at you, RITI!) are eligible to win the $4000. So that's different.
  • Nominees can start accumulating votes today! In fact, any lingering votes your favorite cause may have been holding onto from past months carry forward as usual. As always, the only votes that don't carry forward are when a cause wins a grant, their votes get reset to zero. Or of course if someone recasts their vote to a different cause.
  • A dozen or so causes were self-nominated as part of OBCF's 40th birthday celebration. Many of them will send representatives to the event to say a few words about their missions and rally support. Read: Get out the vote! This is not exclusive to any particular nominees. All local nonprofits are welcome to attend and share the stage for a mission moment! Reach out if we're not already expecting you!
  • Narrowing to the Top 10 will not happen prior to the event as would usually happen at midnight the morning of the 15th. All nominees will be in the running until the $4k recipient is named at the event.
  • The cause with the most votes when we end voting circa 5pm (we'll call it live at the event in case circumstances require timing wiggle room) will receive the $4000 grant from OBCF. Usual tie-breaking criteria will be in effect.
  • At the first opportunity after the event, I'll mark the $4k recipient, as well as all normal monthly grant recipients from the past year, as ineligible and reset their votes to zero. We'll then narrow to the Top 10, and resume the rest of October on the usual schedule chasing the usual monthly grant.
  • Charitocracy USA will continue as normal this month. Unless I mess things up accidentally. But it's intended to remain a normal month on that side of the website.
    1. September 2022 winner OBX Room in the Inn

      At midnight last night we named Charitocracy OBX's 24th monthly winner! That's 2 years in the books! Congratulations to Room in the Inn nominated by donor Ltwood. They organize shelter for the homeless in the Outer Banks, also providing hospitality, food, and support services. You can find their website here.

      Now you have a week to sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to RITI next week. (Thanks to the four big boosts we've had already!!) Then take a moment to feel good about your part in our collective $590+ grant to help with their ongoing work!

      Have a great October and be sure to log into Charitocracy OBX to update your votes or nominate a new cause! And consider investing in our future by growing our endowment with a switch to one of our new donation bundles, or customizing your own perfect new bundle. It's super quick and easy!

Partnerships and Endowments and Cakes, Oh My!

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Outer Banks Community Foundation plus Charitocracy

This bit of news about our new partnership is a long time in the making, but I'm excited to finally share it!

The Partnership

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is the most important nonprofit down here in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where we set up shop and call home. Their tagline is "Connecting people who care with causes that matter." Some years ago they ran a giving circle that our family participated in. Each family would throw $250 per year into the hat, and collectively decide on which nonprofits to send the money. Sound familiar?!

We are humbled here at Charitocracy that OBCF has decided to breathe life back into their giving circle in the form of Charitocracy OBX. We will continue to offer participation for as little as $1 per month, embracing Charitocracy's mission of making philanthropy accessible to everyone. That's always been a popular option, and as always, each donor gets one vote regardless of how much they donate. However, as always, a bigger donation doesn't have a louder voice at Charitocracy, but it does have a bigger impact...

So we'll also offer donation "bundles" at the $250 per year "Golden" level, familiar to past participants in OBCF's giving circle, as well as a new $100 per year "Silver" level. These bundles include monthly contributions to the OBX and USA monthly grant pots, so you can vote on both monthly grants, locally and nationally. They also include contributions to OBCF's Community Fund as well as "tips" to help offset Charitocracy's expenses. (Remember, we're an all-volunteer nonprofit ourselves, and have to pay the costs of credit card processing, servers, insurance, etc., so these tips, while optional, are very important to keep us afloat!) Finally, the bundles include contributions to our new endowment!

The Endowment

The former giving circle at OBCF just happened to have some funds left over and looking for a new home, to the tune of over $6000. As part of our partnership they're going to assign those funds over to Charitocracy! We'll be able to withdraw a small percentage annually, and use that to top off the monthly pots, cover expenses, or whatever is our biggest need in fulfilling our charitable purpose. We'll also keep track of how much of the new endowment deposits are coming from Charitocracy OBX vs. Charitocracy USA, by looking at the monthly pot contributions accompanying each endowment contribution. That way we can maintain a fair distribution of those funds back out into the OBX and national nonprofit sectors.

This is how I like to think of it: You can give $1 now, and we'll put it in the next grant check. You can give $20, and we can continue to put it into upcoming grant checks. Or you can give $20, and we can put it into the endowment, and now that becomes the same as $1 every year... forever*.

*For some rough approximation of forever, and some rough guess at how the endowment investments perform over time. But at least OBCF has been going for 40 years now and knows a thing or two about managing endowments! They hold over $22,000,000 in ~200 charitable endowments.

The Cake... and $4000!

I'm glad I got your attention. The cake is not a lie, and neither is the $4000 grant. On Saturday October 15, from 2pm to 6pm, at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, we'll be celebrating OBCF's 40th anniversary with a backyard birthday bash! Let's raise pints of our favorite cold beverages to toast the next 40 years of charitable giving in the Outer Banks! And eat cake, and take this new partnership for a spin...

We'll be hijacking Charitocracy OBX that day in order to vote on a special $4k grant from OBCF to some lucky local nonprofit with the most votes! Every OBX nonprofit nominated on Charitocracy OBX is eligible, even if they've already won in the past 12 months. And any local 501(c)(3) that needs a nomination can either join up and self-nominate the good old-fashioned way, or email scout@obcf.org before October 1st to be auto-nominated. After the event, we'll narrow to the Top 10 for the usual October grant, and it'll be back to our normal schedule. (Charitocracy USA will remain unaffected by any of these shenanigans!)

I look forward to seeing you there! In the meantime, consider logging in and switching your annual donation to one of our new pre-configured bundles, or customizing your own perfect combination of monthly pot, endowment, tip, and Community Fund contributions. Your continued generosity shouldn't surprise me any more, but it always does. Thank you. ❤️

The Outer Banks Community Foundation invites the public to its 40th Birthday Backyard Bash at the Outer Banks Brewing Station on Saturday, October 15 from 2 – 6 pm. The free event will feature live music, birthday cake, and a $4,000 grant to be awarded to one local charity by event-goers. This community grant kicks off a new partnership with Charitocracy OBX, our new, local, online giving circle, where donors pool their contributions, nominate, and vote for local nonprofits to receive grants each month.

“Our Community Foundation was built on a model of many people making modest contributions, for the betterment of the entire community,” said President and CEO Chris Sawin. “As we reflect on 40 years of giving, we are humbled by the efforts of others and inspired to do our part to position this extraordinary organization into its next 40 years of service. We are very pleased to mark this auspicious occasion by launching a new giving platform the whole community can be involved in, starting at just $1 a month.”

[Read the whole news post here on OBCF's website.]

Outer Banks Community Foundation's 40th Birthday Backyard Bash