Update: Charity reaches a milestone
Modest Needs Foundation lets donors decide where their money goes.
November 1st, 2011
05:22 PM ET

Update: Charity reaches a milestone

Modest Needs Foundation, a charitable organization that lets donors decide where their money goes, recently made its 10,000th grant, founder and president Dr. Keith Taylor said.
The organization opened its doors in 2002. A CNN.com story about it in December 2009 sparked a historic outpouring of generosity from readers.

The 10,000th grant, made in late October, sent $750 to pay an Indiana woman's overdue medical bill and maintain her good credit rating, Taylor said.

The organization's first grant, in 2002, went to an uninsured woman who needed $200 to get a mammogram. The mammogram found a malignant tumor, for which she received successful treatment. The woman told Taylor that $200 saved her life.

"I honestly never realized until that moment that these grants had the power to really change lives," Taylor said. "That letter changed my life – that's for certain."

In between, Modest Needs and its donors have given away more than $10.3 million.

Modest Needs' mission is to help people tackle one-time expenses, usually less (often far less) than $800, that threaten to start a slide into poverty. It also makes grants of up to $5,000 for other nonprofits. The most common type of application is for a month's rent or mortgage payment to avoid eviction or foreclosure, Taylor said. Requests for help with utility and medical bills also are common.

Taylor and his staff of four evaluate every application to determine if it meets the criteria for presentation to donors. Applicants must demonstrate that they are responsible with money and explain how a single grant will help them get through a crisis. Documentation is required, and checks are made payable to creditors, not to individuals.

Modest Needs sees a lot of heartbreaking stories, as well as self-defeating behavior by people whose incomes have been slashed in the economic downturn, Taylor said.

"Many who seek help are in a kind of denial," he said last week. "... They try to cram their old life into this new shape, and it doesn't fit. (But) once you come to terms with the reality of the situation, that's when you become empowered."

The group's smallest grant, for just $30, paid for a round of injections to keep a pregnant woman from going into early labor. The largest, for an unusually large $4,200 just last June, helped a disabled veteran replace ragged carpeting in his home with smooth, solid flooring that's safe for his wheelchair.

The most unusual request was an application by a waitress to help pay for breast augmentation surgery to bolster her tip income, Taylor said. The application was politely rejected.

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Filed under: Charity • Economy
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Gee, I can't believe they rejected the boob job.

    November 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mmmmm

    I think it would be a good idea if everytime you go to the grocery store to donate 10% of you grocery bill to the foodbank or buy dried foods for your local food bank. They help so many people. If you can't afford that volunteer your time at a soup kitchen one day a week.

    November 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (kcmo)...,,.

      bad idea... we have enuff lazy people... i see em every day when i deliver pizza... most of them collect welfare, collect food stamps, have boyfriends that deal drugs , and have 3-4 kids of different dads...

      November 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      RU are cRaZy...hardtimes knows no bounds it is an equal opportunity hardship...yet you identify the poor as single-parent women...stop stereotyping...stop hatin'

      November 2, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    Perfect idea mmmm wish more ppl felt that way! Seriously the Outreach Center where i volunteer has been running out of food commodities long before all families have been helped. Its happening more frequently in the past 6 months. Hope more ppl step up!

    November 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. s kel


    November 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. s kel


    November 1, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    s kel? is it really you? blog hog is back if you aint noticed lol hows the missus today? better i hope

    November 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tisvulcan

    Well done, Keith. Congratulations on reaching your 10,000th donation!

    November 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |