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Our non-profit organization started from a prank back in November 2017. Someone had put a friend’s contact information on Craigslist saying he was giving away free turkeys just before Thanksgiving - he was not. But our friend immediately received numerous phone calls inquiring about the free turkeys. Upon realizing there was a large need for something like this in our community, we gathered a group of local friends to actually raise some funds to give away turkeys that Thanksgiving. Through a short fundraising effort a few days before Thanksgiving, we were able to raise almost $1,500, which was used to purchase turkeys and sides. That food was given away to people in need in downtown Cedar Rapids the day before Thanksgiving as an effort we titled “Operation Give Birds”. From there, the decision was made to make this a formal annual event. In November 2018 (year 2), with more lead time and better organization, we raised $5,400 and were able to provide free turkeys and sides to 280 local families!
After Thanksgiving 2018, the leaders of “Operation Give Birds” asked themselves:
1. Do we have the capacity to do even more?
2. What does this additional charity effort look like moving forward?
From these discussions, the “Iowa Giving Crew” non-profit organization was formed in early 2019, acquiring 501(c)(3) status, meaning contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law. “Operation Give Birds” will continue to be our main annual charity effort, but now we’re looking to grow even more to help even more local families. We’re establishing an annual fundraising event that will fund these future endeavors, and we’re identifying additional opportunities to provide essential support to those in need in our community.
Operation Give Birds III was even more of a success! We were able to hand out 545 meals to people in the Cedar Rapids area. In 2022, we will be able to provide 1200 meals to area families.
Thanks to support from our generous donors, we continue to grow OGB every year, expanding to Iowa City in 2020, Waterloo in 2021, and Dubuque in 2022.
Distributing Thanksgiving meals to members of our community.
Taking the concept of Operation Give Birds to the next level.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized the Iowa Giving Crew as the Outstanding Small Organization for 2020.
With the support of our gracious donors, here is a sample of what we were able to accomplish in 2020:
Scott has played a critical role in the logistics planning for Operation Give Birds, creating a distribution model, driving the registration process, and organizing day of event activities.
9 Who Care is awarded annually by local ABC affiliate KCRG-TV9 and their Show You Care Sponsors honor outstanding volunteers throughout Eastern Iowa with the 9 Who Care Awards.
Scott is a founding member of the Iowa Giving Crew, and has served in a board role since the inception of the formal non-profit. In addition, Scott has led the creation of the Bar Wars and IGC's Golf Outing fundraisers.
We were grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with KCRG to bring awareness and help raise money to support Iowa Giving Crew charitable programs, such as Operation Give Birds. Their partnership allowed our non-profit to expand into the Dubuque area in 2022.