Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

random actsAccording to an article “Doing Good Deeds” in Oprah, author Joan Duncan Oliver illustrates that simple acts of kindness lead not only make ourselves feel good, but inspire others to do the same. Research shows that there is a physical reaction to people witnessing “good” being done around them. This creates a ripple effect – it’s catchy!

Research by Jonathan Haidt, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia coined the term elevation to describe the emotion we feel when we encounter evidence of what he calls moral beauty.

“Any time you make an effort to do something good, you may benefit not just the person you help but also those who witness your act. We don’t feel elevation from thinking about charity,” he emphasizes. “We feel it from seeing someone do something charitable.”

Read more on Joan Duncan Oliver’s article and learn how you can add more elevation into your life.

Giving Back Locally

“The local community has been incredibly supportive and it made sense to give back locally.”
–Carole MacDonal, Owner, Il Cortile Ristorante and La Cosecha

_L004800I think we all marvel at business owners, who not only take risks on enterprises, juggle multiple moving parts, survive on little to no sleep, work tirelessly to turn a dream into reality, but who also have faith that a community will support their endeavor.  Carole and Santos wisely invested in the Paso Robles’ downtown, first opening Il Cortile Ristorante and more recently, La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant.

Carole and her husband, chef Santos MacDonal, moved here thinking it was absolute paradise.  And while paradise is still found in Paso Robles, she learned quickly that there are people struggling with poverty on a daily basis.  1 in 5 children in the North County live in poverty having the highest rate of free and reduced lunch in San Luis Obispo County.  She found it is also one of the least talked about topics in our affluent region.

Carole is no stranger to philanthropy and volunteerism. She was involved in mentoring programs in Los Angeles and has long supported efforts in Third World countries.  So when Terry and Jennifer Hoage took Carole out to lunch and explained how must! charities is working in our local community, she saw their passion and recognized a successful model.  Her confidence in must! charities increased, seeing the achievement in restoring the Boys and Girls Club to a vibrant refuge for school-aged kids.

Carole was told once, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”  So that’s how Third Thursday began.  A busy Carole spearheaded a downtown campaign for businesses to dedicate the third Thursday of every month promoting a themed discount or special offer, with a portion of proceeds benefiting must! charities.  Almost a year later, momentum is gaining.

Third Thursday is an opportunity for local business owners to build philanthropy into their business model and gives consumers the opportunity to not only support local businesses, but also support local philanthropic efforts.  must! charities’ operating budget is funded by Executive Board members, which means 100% of all community donations go directly into local programs.  And must! charities is not re-inventing the wheel – they are working alongside existing non-profits, creating long-term sustainable models to meet the needs of our local community.

To support Third Thursday and must! charities, follow them on Facebook and visit local downtown Paso Robles businesses participating on the Third Thursday of every month.

“Children are great imitators…”

N_Children are great imitators. So give

Summer Stats – Boys & Girls Club

10563145_10152663996566226_2567481985810347810_nProven, dedicated, and effective.  must! charities was so thrilled with the success of the Boys & Girls Club of North San Luis Obispo County in our inaugural collaboration project, that we decided to partner with them in an expansion project.  A critical resource for families in need which helps children build confidence to succeed in school, at home, and in life, The Boys & Girls Club provides educational support, dropout prevention, and guidance for at-risk youth.

This year’s Boys and Girls Club Summer Camp expanded to include Atascadero, providing affordable and safe care for 175 school-aged kids in the North County.  This is an increase of 100 kids over last year!

Allen Reese, Chief Executive Officer, says “We believe it is essential that North San Luis Obispo County families have an affordable, high quality program that provides a safe space for their kids while they are at work.  Other than Boys & Girls Club there are no affordable full-time summer programs for families in our county.”

Thank YOU to our donors and supporters for supporting the expansion project this summer!

Dang, It’s Working

Lori Bickel is that mom we all know – the one who volunteers in the classroom, sells raffle tickets for team sports, plans school fundraisers, and chaperones Grad Night.  But what happens when the kids graduate, move ouLori Bickelt of the house, and lead their own lives?  After all, there is only so much walking, tennis, and cleaning, a mom can do with 20-year old grown kids.  Well, if you are Lori, you put the same can-do, will-do, do-it-all attitude finding an endeavor equally rewarding.  She had a lot of love to give and time on her hands once the kids flew the nest.  She also knew she was fortunate to have the opportunities, relationships, and experiences she had and it was her responsibility to pay it forward.  Philanthropy seemed to be a natural fit.

Lori spent years not only volunteering in her kids’ classrooms, but also working tirelessly in the public school system as a teacher’s aide and in after-school programs.  Having lived and worked locally, she is passionate about the North County and knew firsthand there were needs to be met.  So began her search for a philanthropic endeavor that met the needs of school-aged kids, empowering them to succeed but did so in a way that was organized, strategic, and thoughtful.

A chance conversation on a camping trip, led Lori to must! charities.  For Lori, must! charities had the foresight and planning to address systemic challenges with programs to provide long-term, lasting solutions.   Fast forward two years to Lori serving on the Executive Board at must! charities and remaining every bit as captivated by the cause.

When talking about the strides the Boys and Girls Club has made in the North County, Lori simply says, “Dang, it’s working.”  And she is right.  Since partnering with must! charities, the Boys and Girls Club in Paso Robles went from being on the brink of closing to being recognized as #2 in the nation for small rural clubs running under a $500k  budget.  must! charities’ initial investment has already generated over five times what was put in.  And now, they are in a position to expand to other parts of the county.  Dang, is right!

must! partners can be large and small wineries, local eateries, investment companies, realtors, or in Lori’s case, a community member who feels it is her responsibility to give back.

“No one need wait…”

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