Two years ago, Becky Crump started Mindful Mornings as a way to unite people based on their “soul-set” instead of their mindset. “I saw a gap in the community for people to gather based on who they are, as opposed to what they do,” she says, noting that at the time, she felt people were more divided than she had imagined. “I wanted to create a safe space where politics were left out and people were included.”
Mindful Mornings is an all-volunteer interactive speaker series focused on fostering social good. The first Friday of every month about 200 people gather at different locations to hear about subjects related to social good and social justice, everything from human trafficking to homelessness.
“We are trying to cultivate self-compassion,” Crump says.
Crump’s passion for social good spawned the idea of providing support to individuals year-round through The Giving Wall. “It’s for people who want to make a direct impact on a human being in the community,” she explains. “Often, giving is about things like a food drive or a clothing drive. If you don’t connect to someone’s human story, you don’t learn about that person’s struggles and how that person can rise above his or her circumstances.”
The Giving Wall isn’t an actual wall in the traditional sense. It’s a website – or digital wall – where people will be able to read about individual’s stories – their hopes and dreams and their needs – and make a direct purchase.
“People will go on the website, and hit a service like education, training, etc. and that will take them to a place where they can choose an individual that has a need,” Crump says.
The needs can vary. For example, someone may need a pair of work boots to get a promotion. The Giving Wall team (Mindful Mornings and The Office of Community Wealth Building) confirms \ the need cannot be met by another local organization and also that fulfilling it will contribute to the person’s progress out of poverty. “This is not a donation. It’s like a direct purchase,” Crump says.
The money for the purchase goes to The Giving Wall, which fulfills the need and gets the item or service to the person. “It’s a moment for people to connect to the stories of human beings,” Crump says, noting the website should go live by the first of December.
Prior to the launch, volunteers with direction from artist/muralist Hamilton Glass will paint stories of support and life-changing moments on three different murals to celebrate The Giving Wall.
The murals will be painted on November 12, 13, and 14 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Scott’s Addition, the VCU area, and next to Blue Sky Fund. For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want to focus on shared humanity,” Crump says. “We want to reframe philanthropy in the season of giving.”
Photography by Beth Furgurson, Mindful Mornings volunteer and executive director of Real Local RVA