The Giving Journey series highlights individuals' journeys into philanthropy to show and celebrate that giving is for everyone. If you'd like to contribute your personal giving journey, please let us know at [email protected].

every.org/@colin

I wanted to share my personal story of donating to nonprofits, that began in a not-so-typical fashion, as part of an English class project. I would say that most teenagers, including myself, do not put much thought into donating money to worthy causes because there is no source of regular income, or income at all. When I did donate, it was my parent’s money that I handed over to the school PTA or church offering basket.

However during my freshman year of high school, my English class project gave us the freedom to do any activity of our choice while documenting the experience. My project was called “Radical Reselling”. I purchased trendy shoes and clothing items sold in limited quantities and then would resell them for a profit. The end goal of my project was to donate the profits to a cause of my choice.

I expected to make some profits, but was surprised when I exceeded my goals. I needed to figure out where to donate. Although I originally planned to donate to on-campus clubs, all extracurricular school activities took a back seat to online learning at the start of the Covid pandemic. So I looked elsewhere and was inspired by an article that I read about the nonprofit Farmlink. The founders were college students who aimed to connect farmers, who were unable to distribute their crops, with food banks that struggled to meet the increased demand. I decided to donate my profits to this young start-up that was doing something very meaningful during this unprecedented time.

To be honest, I briefly tried to justify donating the minimum amount that I projected at the start of my project, and spend the remainder on something for myself. After all, I did the project to my teacher’s satisfaction. But an unexpected thing happened.

After making the donation, I was filled with an unexpected sense of happiness. It felt really fulfilling to donate to a worthy cause, especially since it was money that I had earned on my own. I was inspired to continue donating regularly, but not always sure where.

One day Tina Roh, co-founder and COO of Every.org, was a guest speaker at my high school, her alma mater (Whitney High School). Although all of the advice and reflections that she shared were memorable, it was the work that she does now that caught my attention the most. I thought, wow, she works for a nonprofit that showcases and assists nonprofits. I now have a resource that makes it easier to find a nonprofit with a specific cause that is inspiring.

At the moment, I donate what I can to organizations with a mission in line with my views of how the world should be.

As a founder of a nonprofit organization myself (PWAD, Protect Water Against Drugs), I realize the necessity of having funds in order to achieve great things. And although my nonprofit requires more volunteer activity rather than money at this time, I realize that any successful organization requires financial backing/strength to expand. (Editor's Note: PWAD currently not accepting donations.) With this, I hope to continue and grow in my giving, both with my time as well as monetary contributions.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other organization including Every.org.