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ARTICLES / General /Financing Hope with Modest Needs

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Financing Hope with Modest Needs

By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
(Page 1 of 3)

Geneva and her husband struggle each month to make ends meet since she had to leave her job last year to care full-time for her daughter. Her daughter suffers from Down’s syndrome, ALL leukemia, and severe anemia. As the cold winter months in Ohio approached, they worried how they would heat their home. The fuel companies required a minimum delivery of 250 gallons to fill the tank in order to deliver fuel and after basic necessities of mortgage, food, and medical supplies for Geneva’s daughter, there wasn’t enough money left. They tried to borrow funds from relatives to help, yet no one was able to assist them. In desperation, Geneva contacted Modest Needs.

Modest Needs began as a way for its founder Dr. Keith P. Taylor to engage in philanthropy while still making a difference in the lives around him. He knew he could not possibly afford large gifts, and he noticed that many families struggled with day-to-day expenses where modest amounts could make a significant impact on their lives. “You don’t have to be rich to change someone’s life,” says Taylor.

Modest Needs fills a much-needed gap in many lives. For example, according to the 2-1-1 Texas Information and Referral Network, more than 52 percent of callers who request assistance do so for basic needs. Many of these needs include utility assistance, rental/mortgage assistance, health care, and public benefits. Beth Wick, Program Coordinator for 2-1-1 Texas says, “Many of the people who call need help to make ends meet; sometimes it’s a one-time request, while others need help from month to month.”

Unfortunately, the statistics reported by Texas are common across the United States and much of Canada. According to theory underlying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in order to grow in substantive areas, individuals must have their basic needs meet (food, water, and shelter) first. Until this happens, individuals become stuck in a chronic cycle until these needs are met.

In 2002, Dr. Taylor acted on his desire to see many people move beyond their basic, every day needs. He devoted 10 percent of his gross income – approximately $350 per month – to help people move from dependence to self-sufficiency. He leverages the power of the Internet to attract other donors who may have relatively small amounts of money to give, but together Taylor and these donors are changing the face of philanthropy.

“Modest Needs attracts those donors who want to feel that their giving is significant, even if it is on a much smaller scale than the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of the world,” states Taylor. “These donors want to offer something and they share the idea that their dollars make an impact.”

Helping Caregivers:

Many of the people who have received help through Modest Needs are caregivers in one form or another. Geneva cares for a chronically ill child and found her need for heating oil met through Modest Needs. Her thank you letter stated, “Thank you to all who helped our family get heating oil for our home. The cold weather has already begun and we have been trying our best to keep the kids warm since our fuel oil tank has been empty since last winter. God bless all of you for your kindness and helping our family stay warm this winter season.”

Taylor remembers the story of a gentleman from Canada who received help from Modest Needs. This gentleman had a child with a crippling illness and the family had spent countless dollars remodeling their home to make it wheelchair accessible. Finally, the gentleman ran out of money before he could purchase a vehicle that would allow for easy transport. The van they had could not be retrofit; however, he decided that he could build a ramp into the van that would allow the wheelchair to travel. His proposal to Modest Needs was that if the organization would supply the material needs, he would build the ramp himself.

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