Small Organizations Win Big Through The Great Give®

The money ECI received as a result of The Great Give® 2014 will bring the volunteer-run ECI closer to its goal of expansion so that it can serve a larger number of students.

The Great Give®® Joins Give Local America to Be Part of Largest Crowdfunding Event in Nation's History

Local nonprofits are benefiting from more than three-quarter of a million dollars distributed in gifts and matching funds through The Great Give® 2014. Of the 30 newly participating nonprofits, Elm City Internationals (ECI) received a $15,000 grant prize for attracting the most new donors. The young nonprofit uses soccer as the catalyst to boost the academic success of low-income students in New Haven (mostly immigrants and refugees). In total, ECI received $27,427, enabling them to expand, says founder Lauren Mednick.

Lauren has known about giveGreater.org® and The Great Give® for years, having been active in the nonprofit community most of her life. As a former worker at Solar Youth and IRIS, she has helped those organizations in past Great Give campaigns. In 2014, her turn came to shine a spotlight on the organization she founded to mentor and help struggling students through engagement on and off the soccer field. While working for IRIS, Lauren met and bonded with a group of 7th grade boys from Western Africa who struggled behaviorally. The boys' common love of soccer was the entry point Lauren needed to engage them; soon, she was mentoring a cohort of students both on and off the field.

While the original team has since left for college, current and former ECI members consider themselves a family. As William Ayala, a graduate of Career Regional High School who now studies Clinical Biology at Sage College, says Elm City Internationals "has given me a second family with a lot of brothers and a few older sisters who have helped paved my road to success. My Elm City family is filled with such great and diverse talents- we have athletes, students, rappers, and other talents within the family and all learn from each other and inspire one another to reach their unique goals."

The money ECI received as a result of The Great Give® 2014 will bring the volunteer-run ECI closer to its goal of expansion so that it can serve a larger number of students and pay for an executive director, athletic and academic director to oversee its year-round programming.

The Great Give® 2014 was held in conjunction with Give Local America, a national effort to create a community-wide giving day in celebration of 100 years of local philanthropy through the work of community foundations. More than $53 Million was raised as a result of Give Local America events occurring across the country. As in years past, pro-rated matching funds and special grant prizes offered by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven were used to incent giving locally. A list of prize winners is available at www.thegreatgive.org.