In July 2017, more than 500 professionals in various capacities of volunteer management joined together to discuss and map the future of the field at the first national summit in more than 10 years. A major goal of the summit was to reestablish a network to support and professionalize volunteerism in the sector. The Lodestar Foundation provided a grant to fund a portion of the event planning and production efforts.
American Jewish World Service, an international development organization serving the developing world regardless of race, religion or culture, wanted to expand its Volunteer Corps program, which places Jewish professionals on volunteer assignments with local NGOs in developing countries. Lodestar matched an AJWS challenge grant which enabled the promotion of the Volunteer Corps program in Arizona and the placement of several Arizona-based volunteers around the world.
Experience Matters is a 501(c)(3) organization that works to create opportunities for meaningful work and service by experienced individuals transitioning from their midlife for-profit careers into high impact nonprofit work. The organization’s Encore Fellows program, which launched in 2011, provides a stipend to each Encore Fellow, who works for up to 12 months with a nonprofit organization. The Lodestar Foundation provided funds for initial curriculum development and marketing of the program.
Alliance Magazine created the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize to honor Alexeeva’s life work of building philanthropy in developing countries around the world. Alexeeva, who worked for 17 years at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) serving as Director of CAF Russia (1993-2005) and Head of CAF Global Trustees (2006-2010), died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 42. One year before her death, she had left CAF to create the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation, with a goal to build meaningful connections, partnerships and, most importantly, trust, between philanthropists looking to give, and individuals and institutions looking to ‘do’ in developing and emerging market countries around the world. A grant from The Lodestar Foundation helped fund the prize from 2014 to 2016.
MatchingDonors.com, an organization started and run by one individual, matches altruistic organ donors with patients in need of transplants. The Lodestar Foundation provided MatchingDonors.com a grant to create and implement a business plan to create an infrastructure for organizational growth and sustainability.
Nonprofit volunteer placement organizations often lack adequate infrastructure to maximize effectiveness. Lodestar has made several strategic grants to build capacity in these organizations. Make-A-Difference, which through merger and name-change, is now HandsOn Greater Phoenix, a part of a national network which is a division of the Points of Light Institute, recruits and coordinates the placement of corporate leaders and other corporate employees as volunteers for a variety of Phoenix-area nonprofits. Lodestar provided general operating support and provided a grant to enable HandsOn to acquire proprietary volunteer coordination software. ($220,000) Lodestar has also provided the sole support for several volunteer center activities around Arizona, such as providing seed money to start a volunteer center in Pinal County and providing funds for a proposed satellite volunteer center in Pima County. ($20,000 / $8,400)
Recognizing that social entrepreneurs often lack the business acumen of their for-profit business peers and that successful business professionals are often frustrated with traditional philanthropic options, Ashoka, the largest association of social entrepreneurs in the world, created the Ashoka Support Network (ASN). ASN matches Ashoka Fellows in small-group partnerships with successful small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs to engage a new generation of businesspeople in philanthropy, to leverage resources from the business community for social entrepreneurship, and to support the Fellows in a sustainable, mutually beneficial and systematic manner. Lodestar funds supported fine-tuning of the ASN model, testing it in Europe and then scaling the initiative globally.
Recognizing that organ donation is perhaps the ultimate philanthropic gift, Lodestar provided the lead grant to the Arizona Kidney Foundation to produce a video promoting organ donation by addressing common myths and concerns about the subject. The video was shown on television and distributed nationally.
The community volunteers who comprise nonprofit boards have few, if any, options for learning how to serve as board members. As a consequence, they may not be effective stewards of either the public trust or the organization they represent. Lodestar supported a board-training workshop for board members and their executive directors to educate both staff and volunteers about the duties and responsibilities of board service.
Lodestar, Cox Communications and Clear Channel Communications joined forces in an effort to enlist more male “Big Brothers” to mentor young boys. During the fall football season in 2006 and 2007, the three entities underwrote an intensive TV and radio ad campaign promoting the "Big Brothers" concept, which increased the number of male inquiries to the organization. Beyond that, Lodestar also supported "Big Brothers" in other aspects of their organization.
Arizona State University (ASU) partnered with VolunteerMatch.org, a search engine and nationwide database of volunteer opportunities to create Volunteer Information and Referral Services (VIRS). As a result, prospective volunteers can access Phoenix-area volunteer opportunities through the VIRS site or through VolunteerMatch.org. A Lodestar Foundation grant supported the partnership between the two volunteer websites.
Volunteerism is promoted in the press primarily through occasional articles about outstanding volunteers and public service announcements that air at off-peak times. Recognizing that professionally designed advertising and prominent ad placement have the potential to increase volunteerism in a community, Lodestar entered into amedia collaboration to promote volunteerism. Lodestar and The Phoenix Business Journal co-sponsored a two-year print ad campaign in which the recipients of a high-profile local "unsung hero" volunteer award, the Hon Kachina Award, were profiled and readers were urged to contact various volunteer placement nonprofits; the nonprofits tracked responses, and results showed a spike in the number of calls received by the nonprofits after each ad ran. Lodestar also supported other aspects of the Hon Kachina awards.
Disconnected neighbors and a lack of community participation characterize many American neighborhoods. Lodestar awarded several capacity-building grants to National Neighborhood Day, an organization promoting an annual day of celebration – the third Sunday of September – in municipalities around the country to bring neighbors, government agencies and local nonprofits together to build community spirit in an effort to increase civic action and responsibility.