Just Give

Like the rest of you, our family sees a lot of requests for donations. Sometimes a new charity pops up and it’s hard to discern how legitimate that operation might be. I’ve learned to rely on JustGive.org.

First let me tell you that Just Give has an unlikely connection in Brookfield. The organization’s founder and executive director Kendall Webb is the old Harvard roommate of a Brookfield housewife. I first heard about the organization as it was developed, and it has grown steadily after interviews on CNBC and a mention on the Today Show. Last year they brokered $24.9 million in on-line donations.

JustGive.org uses the GuideStar database to vet charities. There you have access to administrative costs and other information. So, when the request came for a donation to Invisible Children, I knew exactly how to find out the group’s reputation.

Invisible Children, Inc., is an organization founded to provide secondary education to the youth of Uganda. The goal is to engage the children and reduce human trafficking to support war efforts in the region. Their Schools for Schools campaign appears to be pretty successful at organizing donations from U.S. high schools including Brookfield East. Nancy Gibson, wife of Elmbrook School District Superintendent Matt Gibson, sent me a note to consider a donation. A Junior at East has led the 1 B’EAST team effort and raised over $7,000.

I was worried that this group tugged heart strings with little follow through, so I checked it all out. They showed up in the database. Their administrative costs were a little higher than I liked, but not too bad. I searched around a little more and found a couple of star-powered endorsements including a little love from Oprah.

So it’s set. I’m sending my check via the youngest child who shares a class or two with the school organizer. (I’d use her name, but I don’t know her and don’t want to cause trouble.) If you’d like to support this student effort, write the check to “Schools for Schools” and mail it to Brookfield East, 3305 N. Lilly Road, Brookfield, WI 53005. You can also donate through this link on JustGive.org.