We passed $30 million in lifetime contributions to thousands of grassroots projects all over the world yesterday.
Most of us were so engrossed in our work that when we arranged for an impromptu gelato party, everyone looked surprised and happy, but a little sheepish about grabbing a cup and heading back to their desks.
And truth to tell, the milestone sort of crept up on us–we have annual, quarterly, and monthly goals and monitor them closely–but rarely step back to think about what $30 million really means.
$30 million over the last eight years translates to an average of $3.75 million a year.
That’s to say that if we were an endowed foundation following minimum guidelines on payouts, our endowment would be about $75 million. In reality, of course, our grantmaking has grown every year, and the $30 million actually doesn’t capture some of the other grantmaking that we carry out for some of the organizations that we work with.
And as we had a rushed debate–frozen yogurt? gelato? brownies and cookies?–with the ticker counting the donations coming in yesterday, I had a flashback to a day back in early 2001.
We had no name and no staff. We did have a clear idea about who we wanted to support and why, but only the fuzziest ideas about how we would persuade other people–funders, donors, technologists–to do that with us. We were with Barbara Gee, who, on the strength of one of our mentors, Randy Komisar, had flown out to Washington, D.C. to help us think this through. On her dime.
We were also with Janine Firpo–another Good Samaritan who also was just helping us.
And we had rushed out to get something to eat–sandwiches and cookies–and gotten back to discover that the cookies were simply enormous. We joked about them, including the rush that had led to us getting an 8-inch cookie each.
“When you are big and successful, you can get these 8-inch cookies again as a reminder of what a rush you were in back then, to mark some milestone.”
Well, we are still feeling a rush, still making some decisions on the fly. So I didn’t succeed in getting back to the bakery with the crazy cookies.
And although this isn’t as intuitive a milestone as “$30 million,” I actually got my personal milestone 12 days ago. Janine, who was the person who told us that the 8-inch cookies will one day be a talisman, told us 12 days ago as a user of GlobalGiving.org, that we were delivering real value.
We actually get a lot of people telling us these days. But Janine’s assessment was special, if only because she can remember what it was like nine years ago when it was just an idea on a piece of paper.
Happy 4th of July everybody!
Mari Kuraishi is the Co-Founder and President of GlobalGiving.