What began as a post on the private Facebook page of Amanda Creighton, has now turned in to a community-wide effort that continues to gain momentum.
FIVE, Creston’s newest 501c3, was incorporated in June after a handful of friends decided to collectively pool their money – $5 each – and invite others to do the same. The collection is then donated to local organizations or fundraising efforts the donors vote on.
“Not everyone has the means to give, but most everyone has $5,” said Creighton. “”We thought that, if we can’t do it alone, all of us, together, could do a lot.”
After Creighton and her friends – Amy Lohoff and Jenny Moon – talked about the opportunity to start micro-funding community projects, they pitched the idea to the community.
“It just got crazy there for a minute,” said Creighton.
At first, the group set out to gain 100 members who are willing to donate $5 each, but within 24 hours, the group amassed more than 240 members.
Because of the interest, the grassroots group was required to become a nonprofit organization. The board consists of Creighton, president, Lohoff, public relations, Moon, treasurer, and two other board members, one of whom serves as the board's secretary, but both asked not to be identified.
FIVE has its own Facebook page, where members make suggestions of where to donate the money collected each month. The role of the board is to then sort through those recommendations before selecting five for the group members to vote on.
To make things fair, only members who make their monthly contribution are permitted to vote. Creighton said, while the group has lost a few members, the group has retained the majority who are very active and are engaged in discussions about where to donate.
“We have had so many (suggestions) ... a lot have wanted to do things for the animals,” said Creighton. “It’s just so crazy. I had no idea, how many places you can donate to in the town of Creston.”
FIVE, which started in June, has donated $1,500 since its inception as a 501c3. The group has donated $500 to Check the girls, which provides gas cards for women with breast cancer, $500 to Union County Honor Flight and $500 to the McKinley Park Aquatics Center (MPAC).
Creighton said, with the money left over each month, they hope to help fund a much larger project or pay for something the community does not already have.
“We got suggestions just this month about a dog park ... we had a lot of people vote for that. We looked into it and it really isn’t a thing yet,” said Creighton.
When asked what the most surprising part of the experience was, Creighton said, “Everything.”
“Especially how many people want to help. Five dollars is a small thing and it just makes something so big,” she said. “Every meeting I walk out ... and I’m like, ‘Wow. We really are doing something really great for this community.”