Giving Group AZ

Marking the award of the grand prize to Aid for Adoption of Special Kids in May 2019 are, from left, Mallory Reis, Julie Turko of Adoption of Special Kids, Brian Yampolsky, Alan Graham and Sasha Graham.

The Giving Group AZ is a philanthropic group that meets every 90 days to decide which charity to award a grand prize of $10,000 to. 

Consisting of over 110 members who contribute $100 every three months, the group has found that everything has gone according to plan despite the uncertainty and chaos brought on by the pandemic. 

“In 2017, we started the Giving Group AZ and it’s been going exactly according to plan,” the group’s founder Brain Yampolsky said. 

Yampolsky started out with a simple plan to get the group to 100 members, which took him about a year to achieve. 

 “When you get 100 people together and they each contribute $100, you get $10,000 that can make an impact on some local nonprofits,” he said.

Through word of mouth and staying active on social media platforms like Facebook, Yampolsky has found a way to keep his group growing and maintain over 100 members. 

“Our recruiting has been 100 percent through word of mouth and social media,” Yampolsky said.  “I started with friends in my closest circle and once I recruited them, I asked them for their help in finding new members.” 

Now that he has a consistent base, the challenge Yampolsky is faced with every 90 days is keeping members engaged and growing the group. 

“It’s a consistent effort to remind people that are in the group to invite a friend or two,” he said. 

Yampolsky has also found that the group’s members generally fall into two categories: “The people that are involved in the group either want to just contribute to something that gives back, and others are involved with nonprofits and want a chance for their nonprofit to win our big prize.” 

No matter what category members fall into, they all enjoy voting on which charity should get the $10,000 grand prize. 

Four members are randomly selected to speak on behalf of their favorite nonprofit and the members get four minutes to speak. 

Most of the time, these members will bring a representative from that organization to speak. 

From there, every contributing member of the giving group casts a vote to select the charity they feel is worthy of the grand prize. 

Yampolsky describes the process as “a really fun way to have an amplified impact on the community.” 

Since the grand prize is $10,000 and each member donates $100, if there are more than 100 contributing members in the group, the group will divide up the remaining money and distribute it across the other three charities. 

“I think what is unique about our group is that you get to be a part of something that is having an impact on our community and when you hear nonprofits speaking every 90 days, you get an education of these amazing organizations,” Yampolsky said.

The most recent winner of the grand prize on May 28 was Go With the Flow,  a non-profit that offers education and feminine products to young women. 

Previous grand prize winners have been the Homeless ID Project, which aims to help homeless people rebuild their lives by assisting them in getting an ID, and Desert Stages Theatre, which Yampolsky was actively involved with prior to starting the Giving Group AZ. 

In total, the Giving Group AZ has donated to 16 nonprofits since its inception and Yampolsky has found a common theme among each of the organizations. 

“There’s one consistent theme in all nonprofits, and that is they all need money,” He said. “This donation can mean the difference between being able to stay open and having to shut down.” 

Yampolsky hopes that message will encourage people to become members of the Giving Group AZ and donate to all the nonprofits it works with. 

“If you can be a part of the donation, it takes a good thing and makes it a great thing,” He said. 

Yampolsky encourages new members to join via the giving groups website, and to attend the groups meeting later this month via Zoom. 

“We have a few non-members who go to our meetings and before the meeting is over, they will join just so they can vote on the winning charity,” he said.