Q and A with the Founders of Charitable Heroes
Recently, Mike Hurley and Mark Spiegel (whose name you may recognize from the March issue cover story) talked about their current opportunity to allow someone the
chance to become a “Charitable Hero”.
What is the Charitable Heroes Competition?
It’s a three-round competition which requires participants to pitch a charitable cause they want to help. It’s similar to a business plan pitch competition, but for charitable causes! Each round pushes the participants to understand and communicate more information about their cause.
Pay $30 today; pitch us your cause; win and direct where $300 is donated each year for life!
Who had the idea for this?
The original idea was the brainchild of Mike Hurley in early 2012. However, it’s changed so much since then that one should credit both of us as Founders.
What inspired you to move forward with it?
A lot of things. We wanted to be the first L3C operating in Indiana. We wanted to become life-long charitable mentors for our competition winner. We thought it would be good to allow others to share a cause that mattered to them, and in-turn learn about these opportunities ourselves. It seemed like it would be a challenging yet rewarding experience.
How many people to you anticipate will become involved?
Our goal is for roughly 170 to enter.
Will this become an annual competition or is it a one-shot deal?
This is most likely a one-shot deal. The winner can direct where $300 is donated each year for life, this adds up over time. In order for this to become an annual competition, we would need more sponsors or a lot of people to enter this inaugural competition.
Why did you choose to go with an L3C?
In general, the time and expense to become a 501(C)(3) was not appealing and most likely would have become prohibitive. But we still wanted our mission to be the primary driver of our business.
We believe bureaucracy is bad for doing philanthropy, and operating a business.
Our understanding of the L3C, is that it was intended to strike the balance between novel concepts in the nonprofit space and traditional notions of business. We are trying to strike a balance between private ownership, profitability and our social mission.
As an L3C, our managers have a fiduciary responsibility to think of our mission first. We desired our mission to be the primary driver of strategy and actions at critical moments when a decision needs to be made.
And could you help me better understand what an L3C is?
A type of LLC, the L3C (Low-Profit Limited Liability Company), is able to bring together a mix of foundations, trusts, DAFs, endowments, pension plans, individuals, corporations, nonprofits, governmental entities and others in order to achieve social objectives while operating according to for-profit metrics. Just like any LLC, an L3C has the liability protection of a corporation and the flexibility of a partnership. Credit: http://americansforcommunitydevelopment.org/
How long do people have to enter?
Registration closes 4/30/14.
What is the ultimate goal of this?
Great question. The ultimate goal is threefold:
- Educate competition entrants with a deeper knowledge of what matters to them and how they can help.
- Each of the three rounds of the competition include an educational activity. Round one requires the entrant to introduce themselves via a video submission where they must first mention their chosen cause. This is designed to be an ice-breaker but forces the participant to make a decision to focus on one cause.
- Round two requires the participant to answer ten (10) in-depth questions regarding the who, what, when, where and why about their chosen cause. Similar to competing in a business plan competition, we push our participants to research and articulate how they want help their cause.
- Round three is an interview with our judges where we ask tailored questions. The interview process requires the participant to answer new questions and consider feedback from our judges and founders.
- One winner receives a life-long educational experience. Charitable Heroes will annually work with the winner to update an impact plan and support them.
- Empower one person with life-long power to donate to a cause(s) of their choice. The winner can direct Charitable Heroes, L3C to donate $300 to a cause of their choice each year. They become a life-long philanthropist.
- Expand the public discourse about philanthropy. Our winner can provide financial support (via gift, investment or purchase) to almost any entity type (public, private or hybrid). This is different from the traditional philanthropist using a donor advised fund. Often, a young adult may look to start a donor advised fund but this limits how they can provide support. Today’s challenges are often complicated and require a philanthropic approach which is more open-minded and unencumbered.We like to think of our winner as a Charitable Hero because they will be different than other mere philanthropists – unencumbered by bureaucracy or financial burden.
Is there anything else you want people to know about your mission/purpose/etc?
It would be great for a nonprofit if one of their supporters/members won the competition, because the Charitable Hero (competition winner) might direct the annual $300 donation to that organization. We are hoping nonprofits will encourage their members to enter, or promote their cause to our entrants. Any nonprofit interested in doing so can email us at email@example.com.
How can people enter the competition?
By visiting our website at http://www.charitableheroes.org/
Is there anything else you want people to know about Charitable Heroes?
We are a couple of guys that saw a need for action and inspiration. There are lots of dreams that are “day dreamed” about every day, and unfortunately those dreams drift away on a comfy couch or in the middle of a chaotic work life. This is a passion project for us. We are not sure if we are going to hit a homerun or swing and miss big time, but there is something to be said about a couple of dreamers brave enough to step up to the plate and try!