BeyondMe to Create Youth-Oriented Giving Network



JFCS is looking to get local philanthropists started young, introducing a new initiative aimed at engaging philanthropically inclined people ages 21–45 and guiding them into a lifetime of giving. Called BeyondMe, the new program looks to turn JFCS into a hub and platform for philanthropic opportunities, eliminating the guesswork from giving.

“We want to give people an opportunity to get involved,” explains Stephen Fancher, vice president of major gifts and planned giving at JCFS, and one of the driving forces behind the project, next to JFCS Chief Development Officer Laura McManus-Mesia. Both new to the organization, but each wanting to create a bridge between the younger demographics and the philanthropic community, the pair decided to let the exact shape of the initiative form organically, by talking with potential partners and potential philanthropists. In other words, let BeyondMe be what it needs to be.

What resulted was a sort of hub, or “one-stop shop,” for budding philanthropists. By joining BeyondMe, young philanthropists join a network designed to inform its members of opportunities—big and small—to make a difference in their community by volunteering with various nonprofits and foundations that have partnered with the program. Organizations already on board include Selah Freedom, All Faiths Food Bank and The Patterson Foundation, and projects this coming month include rehabbing a gazebo and garden area at one of Selah Freedom’s safe houses, as well as a backpack stuffing drive put on by JFCS for local students in need.

As the program grows, Fancher hopes to see more members and more collaborative partners, but, even if not directly with BeyondMe, just more philanthropic giving. The initiative, he hopes, can “open the idea of what philanthropy is.” Young people may not have the deep pockets of some of their more seasoned friends, but that does not mean their generosity cannot be expressed.

“A lot of people are misguided, in that they think philanthropy has to be writing a big check once you get older,” Fancher says. “Philanthropy can be buying a cup of coffee for a homeless person.” Or, as he tells his children, “[Philanthropy] is giving what you can give at that time.”

For more information about the BeyondMe initiative, contact Stephen Fancher with JFCS of the Suncoast.

Pictured: JFCS Staff, including Stephen Fancher (second from left) and Laura McManus-Mesia (third from left), and BeyondMe members at the BeyondMe kick-off event at Michaelís on East. Photo courtesy of JFCS.

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