Laura Dulac, of Margate, has always believed children are natural philanthropists. Over the past three summers, she has provided the structure for them to raise more than $94,000 working as a group through her nonprofit organization, Our Children Making Change. The organization has grown over the years, and this summer she hopes more than 500 children participating in four groups in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland will raise more than $55,000.
So when the Women's Leadership Initiative of United Way of Atlantic County started planning its third annual Power of the Purse luncheon and workshop around the theme "Raising a Philanthropist," Dulac was a natural choice as speaker.
"When you look at how Our Children Making Change has grown, it shows kids have it inside of them to be philanthropic," Dulac, 41, said. "It shows how important it is to provide the opportunity to them to give, and not hide children from the not-so-great parts of our society." When they understand problems such as homelessness, hunger and poverty, they are motivated to help, she said.
Dulac started OCMC in Atlantic County, and expanded into neighboring states over the years. The idea is simple: Each child who participates signs a pledge to try to raise $100 for charity over the summer. At an organizational meeting, any child who wants to speak in favor of a particular charity can do so. Then then the group of kids votes on which six nonprofits to support.
Children are organized into teams of 10, and decide what kind of fundraisers to hold. At the end of the summer, all the teams pool their funds.
Last summer 220 children in the Atlantic County group raised $24,000; groups in Gloucester County, Chester County, Pa.; and Baltimore, Md., together raised another $30,000, she said. Children do everything from holding yard sales to delivering singing telegrams or putting on talent shows. Two of Dulac's daughters, 13-year-old Kate and 11-year-old Chloe, have run a two-week summer camp at the Dulac home for neighborhood children, she said. Six-year-old Kelly will run a lemonade stand this year, Dulac said.
At the Power of the Purse luncheon, Dulac and Michele Heiny Scott, a financial adviser for Wells Fargo Advisors LLC , will lead a discussion on financial literacy, children and philanthropy. Scott will focus on educating parents to teach kids financial literacy and responsibility. Dulac will focus on how to cultivate the philanthropic spirit in children and the valuable lessons giving instills.
"If we can share with our children the tremendous power of philanthropy, we are giving them something money simply cannot buy," said Helen Walsh, chair of the Women's Leadership Initiative. "When we inspire our children to invest in their community, whether time, funds, or ideas, we are connecting that unique link that ultimately creates compassionate, caring adults."
The event raises money for the Women's Leadership Initiative's Success By 6 program, which runs programs to ensure that infants and preschool children become emotionally, socially, medically and educationally prepared for school and life.
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If You Go:
"Raising a Philanthropist" at the third annual Power of the Purse luncheon and workshop, 10 a.m. June 1 at Steve and Cookie's by the Bay, 9700 Amherst Ave., Margate. Tickets are $40 per person and are available by calling 609-404-4483 or online at unitedwayac.org
Meetings for Our Children Making Change will be held 4 p.m. June 3 and June 10 at Blake's Gym, 1225 West Mill Road, Northfield. Contact Laura Dulac ahead of time at 609-335-4530 or email email@example.com so she can pre-order OCMC T-shirts and money boxes for all participants. For more information, visit ourchildrenmakingchange.org