The concept of One Community Many Voices derives from several “what if” conversations amongst community leaders
What if, we could create a way for acts of kindness, generosity and cooperation to be easy to accomplish and contagious?
What if, instead of getting bogged down in protocol and bureaucracy, we streamlined – and developed a proactive-preventive system to help neighbors instead of relying on a crisis-reactive system?
What if, we could draw on our neighbors’ talents, resources and connections to help fellow neighbors? And … what if we involved previous recipients in the process of paying it forward – allowing them to help someone else?
At OCMV, we believe people are given two hands. One hand is to help themselves and the second hand is to help others.
At the inception of OCMV in 2016, Reade and Martha Brower of Camden provided onetime financial lifts to people who needed a small amount of money to get back on their feet. Through trial and error and learning about evidence-based research from Communications Across Barriers President Donna Beegle, we realized that we’d need more than positive words and onetime financial boots to sustain success.
Our 501(c)(3) operates in a simple way: A person facing a financial obstacle that could snowball into a bigger problem applies through a designated third-party for a small grant. In return, grantees pay it forward through self-selected volunteerism – thus making it a hand up, rather than a handout. Grant-eligible issues relate to employment, youth aspirations, senior independent living, transportation and well-being.