It was a lot like being on "Shark Tank": a quick video presentation
, questions from a panel of five judges, and four minutes to convince them that HandsOn Genesee was deserving of the $50,000 top award in the JP Morgan Chase One America Innovation grant competition.
That was the scene in Atlanta on June 17 at the Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service.
Julia Zaher, director of HandsOn Genesee, the volunteer center for Flint & Genesee County, made our pitch. Four volunteer centers were competing for a total of $100,000 in grant money as a result of being chosen for their innovative programming. (Julia is in the center of the photo.)
HandsOn Genesee and its parent organization, Resource Genesee, work with a program called PATH. PATH is part of Genesee/Shiawassee Michigan Works! It's a program for people who are on cash assistance and need to gain work skills and employment.
We connect these folks to volunteer opportunities and even run a three-week program to help PATH participants gain life skills and a great introduction to volunteering and helping the community.
In the end, our friends at HandsOn Nashville took home the $50,000. But we and two other centers received $16,500 toward our programs!
Our plan: to get additional funds and purchase a van to carry our equipment and supplies for volunteer days. Here's a mock up of what that van might look like: