Cowork Frederick was founded with the intent to help others. We exist to help others be successful, to feel more connected and a part of something, to be happier. Our members are incredibly generous and sharing is a core part of our culture. Members frequently bring in food to share, offer advice or encouraging words to each other, and pitch in with daily chores.
As Cowork Frederick approached the start of our fifth year, we considered what more we could do to strengthen our own community. Coming together to be force for good was a natural fit. We’d done this before by raising funds for Heartly House or pitching in to clean up the streets of downtown Frederick, for example. We decided to make it official.
The Cowork Frederick Charity of the Month program launched in September 2016 with a Birthday Bash & Charity Event that raised funds for the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) of Frederick County. Members of Cowork Frederick came together to plan and organize the event. They contributed goods and services for a silent auction held during the event and rallied other downtown Frederick businesses to do the same. Their efforts raised $1042 to help cloth, feed, and find housing for students in the Frederick County Public School System encountering homelessness.
Members of Cowork Frederick nominate and vote on the local charity (the charity must be local) to help each month. Once chosen, we talk to members of the charitable organization to understand their needs and then consider how we can best help them. With the start of the school year, SHIP of Frederick County had a number of fundraisers underway and we decided to come along beside them to do our part.
Seed of Life, who has donated fresh produce to those in need, and educated both children and adults on good nutrition and how to grow food, was chosen as the October 2016 charity. A team of Cowork Frederick members is building Seed of Life a new website and providing guidance on hosting, website security, and social media and marketing.
Participation by members is entirely voluntary and they decide how they can best contribute. This program is brand new, so the ways in which we, Cowork Frederick members, help each charitable organization will evolve over time as more members offer up ideas, time, and effort. Simply building a website for Seed of Life has spawned discussion of a possible website launch party and a press release.
The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines charity as “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity” and “generosity and helpfulness, especially toward the needy or suffering”. Seeing how Cowork Frederick members have rallied around this new initiative to help others has been truly inspirational. Our charity is supporting the charity of others. It’s a thing of beauty.