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MAPS 2014-2015

MAPS 2014-2015

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The MAPS annual micro-grant application and selection process has come to an end with the collaborative efforts of the whole MAPS team in choosing the most sustainable items. After receiving more applications than ever before, MAPS has picked three winners.
The first micro-grant goes towards three sets of musical instruments for toddlers and preschoolers at the Lenox Library, the Horizon site of Zoe B., ’14. The sets of instruments are expected to last for many years to come and will help incorporate music, movement, and dance into the childrenís programs.

Meagan F., micro-grant administrator, with Bekah, Pauline, Winnie and Lianna, whose sites received microgranted items from MAPS.

Meagan F., micro-grant administrator, with Bekah, Pauline, Winnie and Lianna, whose sites received microgranted items from MAPS.

The second micro-grant goes towards a large world map for Ms. Slater’s classroom at St. Mark’s Elementary School, the site of Winnie L, ’15. The third grade class had been working with the small world maps in their workbooks, and having a large world map in their classroom has the potential to make lessons much more efficient. The final micro-grant is going towards an art drying rack at The Montessori School of the Berkshires, the Horizon site of Lianna B., Bekah S., and Pauline L., all juniors. At the school, students are often producing artwork, and the growing difficulty of finding open spaces to store the drying artwork can easily be solved by an art drying rack in the classroom.
The micro-grant applications that were selected did a great job in communicating not only what item their site would benefit from, but also how, as well as how the item is sustainable.

 

Congratulations to all the micro-grant winners!

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…MAPS will have made a total of 57 microloans through Kiva. Wow.  It turns out that this has been the best kind of journey: our process of figuring our what MAPS is all about has been full of twists, turns, successes, challenges, and, of course, cupcakes.

When we first started MAPS, we were not totally sure of the scope or reach of our work.  Would this be about learning to give? we asked ourselves.  How can we make our giving last? What do we want to learn in the process of giving and fundraising?   It felt like we were creating MAPS from the ground up every single day.

Our first year, we spent much time and energy throwing ourselves into fundraising.  We figured that we needed to make money to support women through micro-lending, and cupcakes seemed like a logical solution to pacify the hungry bellies of MHS girls while raising necessary funds.  We made about 800 cupcakes that first year.  That’s a LOT of butter and sugar, and a ton of elbow grease!  We learned so much…about fundraising, about how to properly fill a cupcake liner, and about the great power of our Miss Hall’s community when we throw our back into causes we care about.  It was a whirlwind.   We started the Horizons micro-grant that first year and gave three small gifts to three sites in the Berkshires.

Our second year, we raised $1000 for water.org, continued to bake, and had the chance to ask ourselves really important questions about our mission as philanthropists.   What kind of causes do we want to support? we asked ourselves.  How can we vary our approach and keep our community interested and involved in what we do?  That year we baked about 600 cupcakes, had our first Instagram sale, got involved with Dig Pink, learned about water.org, held an auction of gifts and favors donated by faculty, and gave our second round of micro-grants to Horizons sites.  We wrote a ton of blog posts (we welcome comments!).  We tweeted (follow us!).  We made a Facebook page (“like us!”). By the end of the year, we accomplished so much, but were completely exhausted.

This year, our approach has been different.  Instead of running headlong into fundraising, we have been careful and selective about how we are funneling our energy. We have done one cupcake sale, baking a total of 200 cupcakes.  We have continued our Instagram sale and nearly doubled our profits, and we have just announced our third round of mirco-grants to the MHS community.   Instead of thinking about how we will raise money for our next round of micro-loans, we are asking ourselves how can we maximize our efforts and collaborate to support our community?  What are we trying to learn from this experience?  Instead of breathlessly planning fundraiser after fundraiser, we are helping other groups promote their events and initiatives, we are collaborating with other groups to come together to educate our community about important issues pertaining to girls’ education.  We are working in teams.  We’re trying to figure out how to use our blog in meaningful, helpful ways.  We ditched Twitter.  Our Facebook page is still out there (you can still like us!).  The nature of our work is changing, and it feels like we are growing in important ways.  We are learning to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs and not fundraisers, and  we are learning how to better support ongoing work at MHS.

We MIGHT make cupcakes again this year for old time’s sake.  After all, what is spring at MHS without the sweet scent of buttercream in the air? But one thing is for sure: we know now that MAPS is more than cupcakes.

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We have had a long hiatus from our blog, but we have been very busy at work here on campus!  We are knee deep in a few really great projects right now, and we are excited to share that we are reading applications for our 2013  microgrant!

In these last two months,  Mira’s Alliance for Philanthropic Sustainability has begun planning for the distribution of the annual micro grants. MAPS plans to send each student to their site with a micro grant application which is used to determine what could benefit the site through the grant. The application asks students and supervisors alike to consider what item can help the site, while also being sustainable for years to come.

MAPS compiles the applications and carefully selects the items believed to be the most beneficial, practical, and most importantly, sustainable. In past years, the micro grants have gone towards things such as chapter books for an elementary classroom and portion controlled dog food bowls for an animal shelter. All of these items were affordable, practical, and they could continue to serve the site for years to come. Once the application and selection process is complete, MAPS orders the items and distributes the selected items to the girls and their site. While planning the process of the micro grants and making sure it runs smoothly, MAPS also takes on the task of informing the Miss Hall’s community about why these grants are important. When the items are selected with thought and consideration, they have the power to make things a great deal easier at a site that is working hard everyday to make sure all their work gets done.  Taking advantage of the multiple fundraisers we partake in each year, the Instagram sale being the most recent, is incredibly important to the work our school hopes to accomplish every Thursday in Horizons.

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Water.  Everyday, it affects our lives when we cook, take showers, and go about routine activities.  We think of it as inconsequential, a resource that it always available, yet in the developing world it is a paucity.  Across the world, over 3.5 million people die from water related complications annually.
This year MAPS, Mira’s Alliance for Philanthropic Sustainability, wants to help demolish this problem through Water.org. “Water.org is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.” (water.org) MAPS became very interested in studies concerning water when we learned that women are greatly affected by this water crisis. When their basic needs are not met, these women shoulder the responsibility of keeping a village alive with water.  They are unable to attend school, or improve their lives, because of this responsibility.  It creates a cycle that MAPS is determined to halt.
We found that Water.org was the best match for us in terms of transparency and sustainability. Water.org’s total revenue as of 2009, when it was first established, was $5,945,270. Expenses including the program, administrative, and fundraising totaled to $5,213,647, with the program expenses being the majority. Excess amount for the year was $731,623. The Net assets totaled $2,792,389. (Charity Navigator.org)
MAPS is planning to raise $5,000 to donate to water.org so that a well can be made in a foreign country that we will announce in the upcoming weeks. With the money we donate, Water.org will use that money to train local villagers to build and sustain the well, creating jobs and providing an entire village with clean water which will decrease the number of people who die yearly from water related issues across the world.
MAPS will start reviewing and researching various organizations to continue educating our community to a more transparent and sustainable philanthropy effort.

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Besides our microlending and microfinancing projects, MAPS decides to take on a new project on Water.org! We want to help provide access to safe water supplies in third world countries. This will also alleviate the burden of women searching for domestic use of water everyday and allow them to focus on other important things in their communities. Our goal is to raise enough money to build a well this year. Through Water.org, MAPS will be monitoring the building project and follow their work. We believe in this cause because we value the importance of clean and safe water, and its sustainable effort in improving quality of lives around the world.

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During our second session, we met with Jaime Peters, the Electronic Communications Manager at Miss Hall’s School, to discuss ways to improve our social networking skills. Keep an eye on our twitter, facebook fan page, and blog, because we are going to make some improvements!

We also concluded our first cupcake fund raiser of the year. It was a great success! We made $271 in profit, and this money will aide women around the world to develop their business via Kiva.

We are currently working on a new MAPS promotional video. It will be premiering during morning meeting soon so stay tuned!

Check out our new feature at https://mapsmhs.wordpress.com/maps-microloan-map/ to follow MAPS’s loans throughout the year and don’t forget to like us on facebook and follow MAPS on twitter!

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