‘Giva’ little – get a lot

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Mensch Network members, organisers and presenters: Greg Flash, Jonathan Dockney, Kerry Hoffman, Helene Underhay (Giva), Gina Flash (Mensch co-ordinator), Guy Greenblat and Hannah Yason

On a Wednesday evening at the beginning of June, a Mensch networking event was held at Café Riteve and an incredible organisation called Giva presented to the group, on how they might use Giva to create a crowd-sourcing funding stream for their organisations.

The Mensch Network, still in its first year, is fast creating a multi-faceted platform for Jewish engagement in social change. Members are simply Jewish individuals, who are working or volunteering in social development, social enterprise, academia, politics, health and more. The network creates multiple opportunities both for its members and the broader Jewish community.

Spaces are created for members to network, learn from and support one another, and potentially collaborate. Skills development and capacity building workshops are being offered alongside of opportunities to learn about and make connections with potential CSI partners and more. Recently, Mensch Network members were asked to respond to a survey asking them to list and rank their key areas of work, interest, and what they wanted and could also offer to, the network. These findings are now informing the content and direction this initiative will take.

Finding sustainable funding is always a primary concern of social and not-for-profit initiatives. This came through clearly in the survey and so they chose to address this in the June Mensch Network gathering. The beauty of a network is that there are usually solutions to be found from the people around us.

Mensch member Gilad Lang is the founder of an organisation called ‘Giva’ — a one-to-one giving platform which allows individuals to cater directly to a specific need of another individual. Gilad dreamt up the Giva concept and incubated the project within The Safety Lab — an initiative of the Cape Town Partnership.

So how does Giva work? Giva is a response to the often bleak reality we are faced with on the streets of our city every day. There are people in need and there are people able to give. We come in close physical contact with needy people, but are told we need to give responsibly, sustainably and directly. Giva enables just that. On their website, donors can choose someone to assist from a list of personal needs put forward by individuals through an accredited non-profit organisation. Donors are then able to follow how their contribution directly impacts that person’s life.

As well as discussing the possibilities of working with Giva, attendees spent a portion of the evening introducing themselves and the work they are doing, to one another, allowing for a sharing of ideas and creating potential for collaboration.

Each Mensch event brings together a cross-section of incredible Jewish individuals, doing what they are passionate about. This opportunity to connect as Jews in this sector is creating a relevant, inclusive and dynamic space for social change, firmly within the Jewish community.

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