By Fran Miller - Alamo and Danville Today - March 2019
Approaching its one-year anniversary, Impact Diablo Valley and its founders Gina Halow and Mindy Longo appear to have created a recipe for philanthropic success. The recipe’s secret ingredient? Children.
“Unique to our non-profit organization is that we are getting kids involved,” says Halow, an Alamo resident who was raised in the area.“Philanthropy is about giving of time, talent, and treasure, and we are teaching the importance of giving back from an early age. Impact Diablo Valley is about bringing philanthropy to the dinner table and starting conversations about the important work going on to help others in our local community.”
The premise is simple. Participating families donate $1,000 annually. A grants committee reviews and vets grant applicants, six of which receive site visits. (26 applications were received this past year.) A final three are selected to make two presentations: one in October, specifically for Impact Diablo Valley’s participating children, and another in November, for the parents. A vote of both groups decides the final recipient – each participating family receives one vote, further encouraging family discussion and interaction.
Families can be involved as much or as little as they wish with Impact Diablo Valley and its varied committees. The minimum requirement is attendance at these grant applicant presentations.
The organization’s first grant in the amount of $65K was provided to White Pony Express, a Contra Costa County food rescue program. The grant will allow the expansion of a weekly grocery delivery program to three additional schools identified as underserved and impoverished. The other two finalists, Beyond Emancipation and Eden I&R, each received a community grant of $4K.
A shared love of community giving brought Halow together with Impact Diablo Valley’s co-founder Mindy Longo, also an Alamo resident. Each is a former National Charity League participant, and each has a rich history of community involvement – Halow with Camp Okizu and the Buena Vista Auxiliary, and Longo with Costa County Child Abuse Prevention Council and pediatric cancer outreach programs.
Their 2019 goals for Impact Diablo Valley are ambitious, and the duo plans to grow the group’s membership and grant size. Partnership with the highly regarded East Bay Community Foundation is indicative of their professionalism, and the promise that 100% of received donations are granted is especially appealing.
“Impact Diablo Valley harnesses the power of collective gift giving and promotes our community coming together to really make a difference within Contra Costa County,” says Longo. “We live in a wonderful community that is often protected from the challenges that others face. We want to educate our children about these challenges and provide them with an appropriate level of engagement to increase their awareness and empathy.”
“What makes Impact Diablo special is its platform for the entire family to support organizations serving unique needs in our community,” says member Kristen Loughmiller. “We have four elementary school-aged kids, and we really wanted them to understand how important charitable giving and service is as a core family value. The children's presentation was an inspiring and impactful hour. The three finalist charities delivered powerful and kid appropriate messages. Most importantly, I knew that hour made a difference in how my kids understand the greater world around them as they reiterated how much they liked the event and asked thoughtful questions.”
“Our family got involved with Impact Diablo Valley because we wanted to learn more about local non-profits doing meaningful work and understand how our family could support those organizations financially,” says Katie Roland Allen, mother of two young boys. “We love the community aspect - giving alongside dozens of other families that care about making our region a better place and pooling our money so the funds have a huge impact. My husband
and I want to teach our children to be generous givers, and Impact Diablo Valley has been a great organization to help us on our family's giving journey.” continues Loughmiller, “The charitable mindset continued as our kids enthusiastically donated thanksgiving meals and adopt-a-family over the holidays. We look forward to supporting Impact Diablo Valley in the future and finding ways to be of service to our community.”
Now is the time to join! To learn more and join Impact Diablo Valley Families, visit www.impactdiablovalley.org or send an email to email@example.com.
Here's their latest information about becoming an Impact Diablo Valley family for 2019!