Giving Elf Foundation
The idea of Giving Elf was born out of the belief that there is a need to start kids on the road to giving at an early age. According to Susan Crites Price, author of The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others (Council on Foundations, 2001), it’s important to start young. “Habit gets instilled at an early age, and young kids can do a lot,” Price said. “That doesn’t mean that for teenagers it’s too late, but the earlier they start giving, the more it becomes a habit.”
The goal of Giving Elf is to create an on-line community for kids to learn, inspire, connect and get involved with charities so that they develop a habit of giving at an early age. The website will include an online role playing game that kids will play to learn about giving their time and money and will include resources kids can use to connect with and raise money for charities. The Giving Elf website will have an impact on:
Charities: Through the website kids will be able to learn about giving and connect with and raise money for the charity(ies) of their choice. They will be able to contribute a portion of their allowance to charity on a weekly or monthly basis through an online virtual piggy bank. (The piggy bank will match a giving jar they have at home. As they add their allowance to their giving jar they will also add it to their virtual piggy bank. When the amount reaches a certain dollar figure they will be encouraged to get their parents to help them donate it online.) Children will get in the habit of giving at an early age and will become life-long givers. Charities will benefit from the money they receive from kids giving, via the Giving Elf website, and they will benefit in the future when kids become adults and continue to give.
The Giving Elf website will also raise money for charities through gift cards and giving pages.
Children: The Giving Elf website will be interactive and fun. It will include a massively multiplayer online role playing game where kids will be able to customize an elf character so that it looks like them, “purchase” (virtual) items for their elf and play games. Through the game kids will learn about saving, spending and giving - both their time and money to charity. They will be able to interact with other elves (in a safe environment) and will be able to encourage and teach each other ways to give. Through the virtual game kids will be able to feel what it is like to give and then use the website to put their learning into action and raise money for the charities of their choice.
Parents: All parents want their kids to be happy and healthy. Research from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School suggests those who spend their money “pro-socially” – on gifts for others or charitable donations – report significantly greater happiness. Giving Elf will give parents the resources they need to teach their kids about giving. By parents helping their children to develop the habit of giving to charity, it will make their children happy.
Giving Elf is registered as a foundation and will soon be applying for charitable status in Canada. Children around the world will be able to play the virtual game and learn about giving. We are currently trying to raise the funding needed to build the website. We have an opportunity to receive 100K through the Pepsi Refresh Project but need votes. Please help us build this website by voting for Giving Elf at http:refresheverything.ca/givingelf daily until April 30, 2011.