One of the best parts of being involved with a 501c3 that helps kids is getting to make the telephone call after the grant committee approves a request. Sometimes, it’s a teacher on the other end of the telephone. Sometimes, it’s a foster parent. Sometimes it’s a single mother who mailed in the grant request along with a copy of her paystub. That telephone call is the one that I think about when we’re up late folding brochures for the non-profit, or blowing up balloons, or tearing down the foundation tent after a long day spent promoting the cause.
Single mother working a blue-collar job. Two children. An ongoing divorce, interrupted by summer. It wasn’t that the grant request was unusual or costly. It was the authenticity and simplicity of it that spoke to me. The mother was a pinch. Her two children had attended a summer drama camp the prior year and amid the breakup of the family, mom aimed to try and give the children as normal and typical a summer as she could muster. Trouble is, drama camp cost $250 per child and there was no way on a fixed income and with legal expenses that she could afford to send both kids. She could only afford to pay for one of the two tuitions.
“I don’t want to have to choose,” she wrote.
The Bald Faced Truth Foundation was founded in 2009 with a simple mission — make kids smile. The mission statement includes the promotion of joy and growth through support of art, music, education and athletics. But really, this is about smiles and opportunity. And so it was not a surprise to me that the grant committee met and decided that it wasn’t going to fund one of her two children. Rather, the committee decided the non-profit would pay for both.
That telephone call had glassy eyes on both ends.