Are you tired of buying candy bars and popcorn? Are you tired of the endless line of student organizations asking for money? The newly formed Volunteer Incentive Program is here to help you. By donating to student organizations based on their volunteer activity in the community, you simplify your life, minimize your waist size, help students learn the joy of good citizenship and community service, and support the organizations receiving the volunteer help. Everybody wins.
The idea started almost a decade back, when George and Melissa Sharpe ate there last $1 bar of chocolate, looked in the mirror, and said “Enough of this!” Rather than pay students so much for every free throw made or for Christmas gift wrap, they decided to pay the students to volunteer in the community. Sure, making free throws is important (especially when the game is on the line), but so is feeding the homeless or even picking up trash around the school.
In 2015, Shantel and Ireke Cooper got wind of the program, and started sharing in the funding burden. However, not satisfied with merely participating, they also wanted to take the program “global”. Their dream is that the fledgling program becomes THE method for individuals and businesses to donate to student organizations, and becomes THE go-to source for student organizations looking for funds. So they recruited some like-minded individuals, applied for a 501C-3 designation, and officially formed the Volunteer Incentive Program.
The VIP program will officially open for business for the 2017-18 school year. VIP is actively soliciting donors who wish to support this effort, with hopes of having a sizable piggy bank full when the teams and clubs come knocking early in the fall. Businesses or individuals can donate to the general account, which will be spread amongst all student organizations seeking funds. However, if football or band or whatever is their thing, donors can also earmark their money for a specific student organization. Each team or club can earn, at a rate of $8 per hour of volunteer time, a maximum of $500 per year out of the “general fund”. However, they can also hustle up unlimited funding through designated donations. The catch is, they still have to volunteer their time to get it.