Last week, I got to attend the soft launch of The Giving Gifts– a nonprofit organization that is looking to make a real difference in the world by utilizing micro-loans and creating opportunities for sustainable living.
The Giving Gifts was started by Cassidy Feder and Clark Steele and backed by a strong Board of Directors. I met Cassidy and Clark only just a month ago and I’ve come to notice that they are both insanely funny and loving people. Their hearts to help others and create change extends beyond our local community here in Orange County.
Q: What was your inspiration behind The Giving Gifts, and did you know this was always something you wanted to do?
Cassidy– “The inspiration behind the giving gifts began with a discontentment for easy answers. It is easy to write this world off as broken but it is worth it to dig deeper into what really breaks your heart, what challenges you, motivates you, keeps you up at night. What inspired The Giving Gifts is the deep desire to inspire others to use their gifts, to create these opportunities, to challenge the way we see one another.”
Clark- “I had no idea what I wanted to do until the Giving Gifts happened. I’m inspired and motivated by the potential for communities to start prospering and growing, just by offering very small amount of money. I’m so excited to see these changes from the very beginning, and will be along for each entire story. Nothing gets me more hyped than having the opportunity to be a part of someone else’s story.”
Q: What is the benefit of micro-loans compared to charities who just give money?
Cassidy- “There are a lot of benefits in micro-loans compared to a hand out. Many of the benefits are logical, a micro-loan creates an opportunity for ownership, it develops sustainability, it allows individuals and communities to be self sufficient. It is deeper than just logic…it is also relational. Through micro-loans we are able to build a relationship that is a lot more healthy than one built on dependency. This codependency allows everyone to learn from one another, grow with one another, and creates more opportunity.”
Q: In which countries specifically do you think there is a great need for micro-loans?
Clark- “The greatest need for micro-loans are communities in developing countries, also known as third-world. These regions have stifled opportunity with charity, and the only means to acquire resource beyond what’s necessary for survival is through loan sharks, offering loans with interest rates of 100% or more. We aim to give these people a way out. A path that treats them as equals, that highlights their unique gifts, highlights their intelligence and capability, and gives them the resources needed to see dreams they’ve had for years to turn into realities.”
Q: What will separate The Giving Gifts from other micro-financing organizations?
Cassidy- “Aside for two super attractive co-founders…one big difference is our funding model. Grants, donations, partnerships, are all needed, and they are extremely helpful however, we will not be dependent on this alone. Within our business plan we lay out our goals to have sustainable funding that allows us to expand in the way we give along with the way The Giving Gifts itself grows.”
Q: Has there been an obstacle in creating this organization that has been more challenging that others?
Cassidy- “In the wise words of Cameron Crowe “You want to be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around.” The greatest obstacle has ultimately been the moments where fear creeps in and you question if any of this is actually going to work. I do not have the answer for that but I believe the obstacle is choosing to not fear failing but embrace it as an opportunity to learn, change, and come back stronger.”
Q: In terms of next steps, what is The Giving Gifts’ first major goal?
Clark- “Our first major goal is to fund 3 micro-loans. We want to get these stories started as quickly as possible, and getting the first micro-loans rolled out will be the first step. Once micro-loans are being funded, we’ll have multiple ways for our local communities to get involved, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to work with our friends and families.”
Every part of this event was AMAZING. Cassidy and Clark truly casted the vision for The Giving Gifts and created a fun and interactive night. They had several stations set up throughout the room, including a Boba station. It was my first time ever trying Boba and I’m still deciding if I like it. Plenty of other people raved about it and some even had seconds… even thirds!
I was personally a fan of the popcorn bar. Seriously?! What could be better?
The photobooth was also another big hit. They really thought of everything!
I loved the to-go coffee cups and pretty much every single thing they handed out because it was all branded simply and beautifully!
Make sure you check out their website
for more information and ways to give/help/receive updates. I can’t wait to see how God uses Cassidy and Clark through this organization!