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Men’s giving circle receives first corporate match

Ashley Morales

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At its May 14 meeting, 100 Good Guys awarded a total of $11,500 to three local not-for-profit organizations. Photos by Ashley Morales.

The 100 Good Guys giving circle in St. Petersburg continues to grow with new members and donations. 

At its third-ever meeting, Tuesday at Bayboro Brewing, the group broke its previous attendance record and received its first corporate match from Big Sea marketing agency, ensuring that the second and third-place winners did not go home empty-handeed.

100 Good Guys – St. Pete is an organization dedicated to supporting area charities. Nonprofits apply to present at the organization’s quarterly meetings and a steering committee selects three nominees. Members each contribute $100 with a goal of raising $10,000, amplifying the impact of their donations. The group started as a counterpart to the successful 100 Women Who Care – St. Petersburg.

At the Tuesday meeting, the members of 100 Good Guys voted to award Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay the top prize of a $10,000 grant, which the nonprofit will use to support its Classroom Grandparent program. The program places local seniors, who receive a small stipend for committing 15 hours per week, in classrooms at Title I schools throughout the Tampa Bay area to mentor students and assist teachers. 

Speakers from each nonprofit have about five minutes to present at each 100 Good Guys meeting, followed by five minutes of Q&A from members in the crowd. Robin Ingles, President and CEO of Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, said she would use the grant to place two new volunteer grandparents in classrooms at Mount Vernon Elementary and New Heights Elementary in St. Pete.

“We’re focused on classrooms of kindergarten through third grade because, through third grade, kids learn to read,” Ingles said. “We have to catch kids by third grade or all of their outcomes go down. Their chances of graduating high school, their chances of going on to college and getting a good-paying job all plummet if you can’t get them reading by third grade.”

“That’s where our volunteers focus. It’s an incredibly high volunteer commitment, but they do it because they have a heart for service and for kids,” Ingles added.

The James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center won the $1,000 second place prize to support a new youth financial literacy program. The Florida Dream Center won the $500 third place prize to support its Adopt-a-Block program. Both prizes were donated by Big Sea.

Dr. Celeste Collins (center) and James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center staff members made their pitch onstage, asking for support for a new youth financial literacy program in partnership with BayFirst Financial.

Mark Sprague, who’s on the 100 Good Guys steering committee, said the positive impact goes beyond just a one-time grant.

“Many nonprofits have grants that are matching grants, so they may need to raise, say, $50,000 in the next six months in order to receive that grant,” Sprague said. “It’s pitches like this that help them get there. Every little bit counts.”

Ingles said her nonprofit’s annual budget is $3.1 million, which is mostly funded by federal, state, county and city grants that have match requirements. She emphasized the importance of groups like giving circles that provide local funding to ensure nonprofits can continue to land major grants and awards.

“We are so lucky to have organizations like 100 Good Guys in our community, where they pool their money to really make a difference and to create a change,” Ingles told the Catalyst. “It was nerve-wracking to get up on that stage, but it also felt wonderful. I could feel the love in the room. I got so many smiles and nods, and I could tell people wanted to be a part of this. The experience was amazing.”

100 Good Guys co-founder Joseph Papich said they will continue to fundraise for this quarter through July 14 on the group’s website, hoping to raise even more money to donate to the three nonprofits who presented Tuesday night.

“The more we grow, the more they can impact prosperity in and around the area,” Papich said.

He added that any new member who joins can decide if they would like their first donation to support this donation round or delay their quarterly donation to begin July 15 in support of the next pitch event, Sept. 10.

Nonprofits can apply to be selected for the next quarter, from July 22, through Aug. 9 at 100goodguys.com.

.RELATED READING: Women’s giving circle raises record donation

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