A Cedar Falls woman who wanted to give a gift to charity instead of receiving a gift for her 50th birthday a little over a year ago saw her good will effort snowball into a huge benefit. Dee Vandeventer created a website and an opportunity.Saying she has “a personal passion for philanthropy,” Vandeventer challenged her family and friends to join her in giving 50-thousand dollars more to nonprofit agencies during her 50th year than they gave the previous year. She says it quickly became apparent the goal of 50-thousand dollars in her 50th year was way too low.Mid-year in 2003, they hit the 50-thousand dollar mark. By year’s end, the total had reached more than one-million, 147-thousand dollars. Vandeventer said she was stunned by the generosity of her loved ones, friends and business partners.More than one-hundred people in 14 states contributed to 177 charities and logged their donations on the website “www.givingfeelsgood.org”. Vandeventer is co-owner of “Me & V,” a marketing, communications and fundraising business in Cedar Falls. She says the response to her challenge was, in her words, inspiring, and the “best birthday gift of my life.” She says giving is not a learned behavior and the challenge was to nuture the philanthropic habit of those she knows. Vandeventer’s 51st birthday was December 28th, 2003, and she announced the total just recently at a belated birthday bash.
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