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It Takes Two

How we at Red String make decisions and the nature of our relationships with our partner charities was a focus of our leadership toward the end of 2021. These discussions came to the forefront as we looked for ways to ensure the efficacy of our giving, the maximizing of our impacts, and the building of stronger relationships. It is something we tried to address by designing a new approach to grant making for us, one which put relationships at the heart of deciding which grants to award.

At the beginning of this year we kicked off our Engagement Initiative that seeks to create stronger, deeper relationships with our partners through volunteering and participation. By engaging and interacting with our partners and their constituents, it offers us insight into their operations, leadership, and stories that then feeds back into our grant decision making process.

This year we participated in over a dozen of our partner charity events. Through these engagements, we learned more about the programs we funded, interacted with leaders, other volunteers, and program participants, and discussed each of our respective organizations. In each of these engagements, we are able to see firsthand how these front-line charities are transforming lives: supporting young people to stay engaged with education or take their first steps into work; helping to break the cycle of generational poverty, unemployment, homelessness, or juvenile recidivism; supporting families in need and underserved communities through the recent economic uncertainties; and ensuring home-bound elderly remain safe and well.

The contributions of our staff, who reside in the local communities across the areas where we work have been critical to this impact. They have handed out backpacks and school supplies to children and youth, helped students prepare for summer internship interviews, celebrated the talents of young people, encouraged college students with care packages, helped spread holiday cheer distributing toys and presents to children, delivered hot meals to elderly persons, and lent their voices to campaigns.

Working together in this way, we are creating an approach to funding based on partnerships. We want to make "good grants" which fit into our ambitions as a Foundation to support small and local charities to make life-changing impacts, and in large part, that means finding and collaborating with the right charities, listening to and learning from them on what is needed, and creating a symbiotic relationship so we can achieve both of our missions.

Going forward, we will continue to think about how we can best achieve it.

(to be continued)

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