A TOAST to $23,340 in Student Raised Funds for Food for the Hungry

By Mohammed Abu Zeinab

ToastmastersLogoPat Lockwood, a customer service representative of the Food for the Hungry (FH) Organization contacted our Toastmasters VP of Community Outreach, Tiffany Law, on several attempts to process the total raised funds of $2,000 from last semester’s charity dinner. All to finally conclude with this message “We actually processed the $970 general donation to the matching fund through USAID that will multiply it 22 times!  That’s $21,340 worth of project dollars!  It will impact more people than either of us can guess.”

Ms Lockwood could not have been more right. Morgan Wildermuth, a 2012 TBird graduate and our resident Toastmasters club President for the Fall of 2012 was very encouraging of my becoming the VP of Events for the club. And after going through the list of events came the highlight in the Charity Dinner and my search for an ambassador to lead the project with my assist. Tiffany Law quickly presented herself as the person with all the right managerial attributes in charities from her past conservation related work experience.

We simply asked two simple questions to the team… What was it we did before? And why not bigger? We went as far as seeking, at the time, President Barbara Barrett’s Office in support for attendees and speakers behind a theme or pressing issue. After revising our approach, we realized there was some street cred to be made and plenty of resources in surrounding clubs and collaborations to be utilized. And that is precisely what we did.

First approaching TBird Fall Student Government President, Madi Emadi, we received plenty of guidance and support on the up and coming clubs, their activities, potential synergies as well as hands on logistics. Quickly our volunteer numbers grew and we sought out common interest amongst clubs. It was Net Impact for our speakers and decided theme of Food Sustainability, Business Improv and their training and development strengths related to public speaking, Global Sounds for their skills and reputable ambiance, the marketing and exec ed school departments for their valuable courses in raising the value offered for attendees, and last but not least a consent from Ambassador Barbara Barret’s office with a chance one-on-one lunch to add even further value to the individuals in attendance.

Ideas and efforts began flowing, and once we had derived our event’s content, came time for us to generate our audiences. And thanks to our team and collaborative club promoting efforts, we managed to reach over a hundred tickets sold in donation towards the event in less than two weeks.

The stage was set with Global Sounds on the scene, the event rendered with speeches from Beth Allen, our representative from FH organization, speaking on the true global nature of their cause to underprivileged communities, Jennifer Smith-Izzo of the Art Institute of Phoenix, talking about the true nature of the food epidemic, Miguel Jardine a TBird Entrepreneur speaking towards his triple bottom line on how he chose to tackle the problem in VermiSoks (vermisoks.com), Lisa Reinhardt of WeiOfChocolate.com with her stories of 8 years in the Himalayan temples and food for meditation and higher consciousness, and finally Filippo Sclafani, our Toastmaster veteran and past president to speak on the power of good and charity. An intermission was filled with engaging fun audience Improv games lead by the Business Improv group and dinner catered by Chartwells; All bringing a wonderful evening of gathering and enlightenment.

This event can be realized again, and just like Pat from FH suggested, we can only begin to imagine the impact our actions choices today make tomorrow.

Thunderbird Toastmasters Club is a community of aspiring students seeking to better their public speaking and leadership skills towards a real world impact. Joining, just as in Thunderbird, means you have joined the ranks of a much stronger international and vast community of people alike in mission. Look out for our Toastmaster meetings held Monday and Wednesday evenings @6.30pm – Snell 29. And for more information on how you can help and be a part of this year’s dinner on Conscious Entrepreneurship, please feel free to contact Tiffany Law tiffanylaw@global.t-bird.edu or myself, Mohammed (A.Z) Abu Zeinab maz@global.t-bird.edu.

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