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.