Do you have a charitable idea that you’d love to kick-start but aren’t able to, because, well, starting anything is so damn expensive?
Umm, 2016 could be the year to give it a shot.
That’s because Terry Parry, an Arroyo Grande resident, recently launched a project, Do Good Grants, that offers seed funding to anyone in SLO County pursuing a new venture that has an altruistic angle.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF TERRY PARRY
- SEED FUNDING: Terry Parry of Arroyo Grande launched a program called Do Good Grants that enables anyone in SLO County who has a charitable idea to apply for up to $1,000 of funding.
“I want to grant people up to $1,000 to get a project that they’re interested in, that will be a benefit to the citizens of San Luis Obispo, off of the ground,” Parry told New Times. “I know that a lot people have causes, and they want to do extra stuff, but they just don’t have the money.”
Parry knows firsthand the effects that a grant can have on the prospects of a good endeavor. The inspiration behind Do Good Grants derives from Parry’s success leading an effort in 2001 to enhance the volunteer program at SLO County’s Animal Services shelter.
Parry and other volunteers at the shelter rallied the community around the issue of the shelter’s high euthanasia rate. They got organized, launched a website that hosted animal photos, and adoption rates went up.
Their growing efforts attracted the attention of Charter Cable. They were approached about the idea of broadcasting photos of animals needing homes.
Parry and Co. upped the ante: How about a TV show?
Critical funding from donors empowered the volunteers to purchase production equipment, and before long, the TV show, Rescue Me! was born.
“Through the help of others, we were able to film Rescue Me!” Parry said. “More and more people came out to volunteer, more and more people came to the shelter to adopt, and the goodness kind of fell on itself.”
Parry’s vision is that Do Good Grants can serve as a similar funding boost for others that the volunteers at SLO Animal Services received 15 years ago.
The project signifies the beginning of a deeply meaningful venture for Parry.
“For me, when I depart this world, it can be something really good that I’ve left behind,” she said. “I feel if I can get this thing going, I can then leave it behind for others to continue doing it.”
Do Good Grants has no age restrictions and no strict guidelines for what it will fund. In fact, Parry was hesitant to offer concrete ideas as examples of projects, saying she doesn’t want to pigeonhole her program as focused on one particular area.
“It’s just wide open,” Parry said. “One guy wants to hand out clean socks to the homeless. He asked for a couple of hundred dollars to do that. I said, ‘Yes!’”
The Do Good Grants website provides a broad array of causes to inspire visitors including, “human rights, equality, and dignity; animal rights and welfare; protecting the planet; arts and culture; kindness and generosity; health and wellness; addressing quality of life issues for youth and seniors.”
“I can see classroom projects, something in the arts, performances in senior citizen homes,” Parry riffed.
Parry isn’t asking for donations from the public, only causes to fund.
“There’s no limit [to the number of projects],” she said. “I’ll fulfill as many legitimate grants that come through.”
Visit dogoodgrants.org to find the application and read more about the program. Parry asks for two letters of recommendation in addition to a completed application. You can also reach Parry directly at [email protected].
American Red Cross is hosting events to recruit volunteers to help prepare for disaster response before El Niño arrives. The local training takes place on Saturday, Jan. 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the PG&E facility at 1250 Kendall Road in SLO.
Staff Writer Peter Johnson wrote this week’s Strokes. Contact him at [email protected].