Happy Anniversary!

February 2024


I sit here and find it hard to believe twelve years have passed. The time has flown by. I feel blessed to lead this organization and serve our community in this way. Each day has been a gift and an adventure. I am so grateful to all of YOU who entrusted and continue to entrust us with your giving dollars. I am grateful for our Founders who had the foresight to create the 100% model, along with our board and a few private donors who continue this model so that 100% of your giving dollars go into our community. In celebration of 12 years, we thought it might be fun for our staff to ask me a few questions about the history of Must! Charities. Below is what I had to say.

~ Becky

Question: What inspired the creation of Must! Charities?

Must! Charities came about from 5 winery owners and a banker who saw the need to do something for their community. I could share the story, but I think it would be more fun to watch our founding video and hear from the founders directly. (Take a walk down memory lane with us... it was filmed 12 years ago and just like a fine bottle of wine aging gracefully in the cellar, you could say we've all changed a bit). < Click Here to Watch >

Question: Where did the name "MUST" come from and is it an acronym for something?

The word 'must' has multiple meanings, and they all fit.

The term in the wine industry derives from the Latin term vinum mustum, meaning 'young wine.' Must is the name given to the freshly pressed grape juice, containing the grapes' skins, stems, and seeds. It's a soupy mixture of a lot of different things. It isn't super pretty, to begin with, but what comes out, in the end, is a beautiful bottle of wine. We believe this is the same for the community; we are so diverse in who we are, what drives us, and what we believe, but when we come together and work to create change, what transpires is something remarkably beautiful.

Webster's dictionary defines 'must' as a verb, be obliged to; should (expressing necessity) or as an informal noun: something that should not be overlooked or missed. We feel this, too, defines our organization.

As for the acronym... no, I don't have anything official. However, over the years, the Witmers (some of our donors) developed a good one. Making Us Stronger Together. It's true, and it works, so we use it from time to time.

Question: What does Must! Charities do? How does it work?

We are changing the model of philanthropy. Our mission is simple. We unite donors, pool resources, and invest strategically in our community. (click here to learn more)

When we started our work 12 years ago, the buzzword was 'venture philanthropy.' Today, the buzzword that pretty much defines what we do is "trust based philanthropy." We recently came across this article that defines trust-based philanthropy. The article aligns with our mission and focus. We work hard at building the trust of our donors and the organizations we work with. Trust-based philanthropy is about building stronger relationships through honest and transparent conversations that lead to positive, impactful change.

Question: How can someone be part of Must! Charities?

We believe everyone can be a philanthropist. You don't have to make it big to make it happen. It can be as easy as one of these three options.

  1. Give monthly. Make a monthly giving commitment on our webpage. We've got donors who invest $20 a month and donors who invest $20,000 a month. Figure out what works for you, and do it.
  2. Transactional Giving. Own or run a business? Look at your business model and figure out how to incorporate giving back - Buck a Bottle, Dollar a Dough, % of monthly sales, flat donation at the close of escrow... the list goes on and on. Consumers LOVE to support businesses that give back through transactional giving. Email Erika to learn more about this option.
  3. Give BIG - do something different. Option 1 or 2 don't work... we are here to help you brainstorm and come up with other ways to give.

Question: Are there opportunities to see where my dollars are being invested?

Absolutely! We have launched several donor-gathering events throughout the year. In fact, we have an impact tour scheduled in a few days. Learn about our project with Transitions Mental Health Association, and click below if you want to join us on the tour.

We will wrap it up now. We hope you enjoyed this Q&A newsletter.

If you are still reading this, we are impressed!

Thank you!

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