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"Transcript - Modest Needs " 

Brian Therrien:  Good day everybody.  This is Brian Therrien here with Keith Taylor from Modest Needs.  How are you today, Keith?

Keith Taylor:  I’m very well Brian.  How are you?

Brian Therrien:  Good.  I’m doing great.  Doing great.  Excited to meet and talk to you.  I’ve admired what you’ve been doing with Modest Needs and for the audience out there that’s just learning, Modest Needs helps pay for smaller stuff really with the philosophy so that the bigger stuff and bigger bills just don’t accumulate up, Keith, and, as you’ve expressed, which really, in your strategy here, has helped Americans avoid going into a financial tailspin.  So, you know, we’re here today to learn about how Modest Needs may be able to help people either survive the wait for disability or maybe somebody’s already disabled and they’re just, you know, they’re stuck living paycheck to paycheck and, so, you’ve done well.  I’ve noticed that you’ve been on Forbes and PR Fox News.  You’ve been everywhere with this…with this fantastic idea.  So, thanks for taking the time today.

Keith Taylor:  You just don’t know what a pleasure it is to be with you, really.

Brian Therrien:  Great.  Great.  So, so, you know for the audience some of the things that you’ve helped people do is really give small grants, would be the correct term, right?

Keith Taylor:  That’s exactly right.

Brian Therrien:  For such things as keeping house, paying rent, paying for scooters, even a great story about a down payment for eyeglasses.

Keith Taylor:  My per…that’s personally…of all time that’s personally my favorite grant that we’ve ever made.  

Brian Therrien:  Yep.  Constantly fixing the lift van, legal fees, and so.  Let’s start with this if we could, Keith.  Let’s…what is a Modest Needs?  What’s like the smallest Modest Needs?  What’s the scope of what somebody could look to Modest Needs for assistance with?

Keith Taylor:  Well, that’s…that’s a great question.  In order to answer that, you really first have to understand what our goal is.  Really, Modest Needs is an organization that’s designed to work with people who are going through a legitimate short-term crisis as opposed to a sort of long-term crises that might be addressed in the longer term say by things like disability.  An awful lot of our applicants come to us and, as you well know, there’s a tremendous waiting period, sometimes, between say the time that you’re able to file for disability and the time that a claim is actually approved and payments actually begin.  Well, in the meantime, what happens to these people who have worked all of their lives, who’ve done everything that they’re supposed to do and, through no fault of their own, they have these very short-term crises and I’ll give you an example of the kinds of things I mean.  People who have gone through the whole disability process.  Everything has been approved for them and they’re waiting for that first check to come in and we know when it’s going to come.  It’s going to come the 15th of next month, but that doesn’t matter because their house…they’re going to lose their house on the 1st of next month.  And, so, that’s when a person would come to Modest Needs.  When we have a definite…we have a definite start date for the disability payments.  We know that they’re going to be coming in.  This can be documented and we can talk more about that in a second.  And, there’s a short-term crisis that we can step in and prevent that person from, really, losing everything that they’ve worked for through a very small grant and that gets to your question of what is a Modest Needs?  We define a mod…a modest need for us is really, you know, there is no limit on what is the smallest modest need.  I think the smallest grant that we ever paid, that I can remember, was about $17 and that was for…believe it or not, that was for medication for a person who was pregnant and was on bed rest.  She needed to take…she had had some trouble with carrying children in the past.  She had lost a couple of children.  The doctor put her on bed rest.  It cut the family’s household income in half and they needed help to buy the last dose of the medication that was keeping her from going into premature labor, and that was $17.

Brian Therrien:  Very cool.

Keith Taylor:  And, in fact, they did have a beautiful little girl, which is a miracle in and of itself.  You think about for $17.  I mean, that’s just a good $17 investment.

Brian Therrien:  Sure is.

Keith Taylor:  And on the higher end of things, we actually do have a maximum grant and that maximum is really based on what we’re able to do with the funding that we have available.  I mean, we do an awful lot of good work, but we don’t have, you know…as some people imagine I think that we have millions and millions and millions of dollars and the fact is that we don’t.  so, we just have to set a maximum and that maximum, currently, is the greater of $1,000 or the amount that a person pays for their monthly rental or mortgage payment.  So, to give you an example of how that would work, if your monthly rental or mortgage were, say, $600, you could apply for a grant of up to $1,000.  Now, that doesn’t have to be with your…specifically with your rent or your mortgage.  We do lots and lots of different things, so long as there’s not another program that we know of that would do that for you.  You know, we don’t believe in duplicating services.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  So, if there’s not another program that will do it for you and you qualify for our help, then if your rent is less then, rent or mortgage is less than $1,000, the maximum you can request is $1,000 and it’s important for people to know that, unfortunately, we can’t do partial payments.  So, it’s important that, you know, they may…they may need help with an expense of say $1,150, they only qualify for $1,000 grant from us.  A lot of times if they can document, for us, that they have the other $150, we’ll help with that $1,000…

Brian Therrien:  Good.

Keith Taylor:  …if that’s where it was.  But, it’s only one expense.  You know, you can’t ask for multiple expenses.  You can’t write in and say please help with my house, my utilities, my car payment.  It’s a single expense of less than $1,000 or the amount that you pay for your monthly rental or mortgage payment if it’s greater than $1,000.  So, that’s the largest that we have right now.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.  That’s really good.  That’s clear.  So, in looking at the requests that come in, what are the, what are some of the common ones or, maybe, you could list, I don’t know, could you list 10 of the top most commonly approved?

Keith Taylor:  Ah, sure.  We, actually…on our website, we actually have the ability to search by cause and what we mean by cause here is,  the type of situation that the person is in.  I’ll tell you some of the ones that seem to be extremely popular.  Accessibility equipment.  People, you know…our donor base is very very happy often to help, say, retrofit a bathtub so that somebody who’s newly disabled can get in and out of the bath.  It’s so funny that Medicare really doesn’t cover that, isn’t it, or wheelchair repair.  This is one of the things that I, you know, when I came to, I think, a lot of people who know the story of Modest Needs and know about me know that I did not train to do this.  I was, originally, a professor.  I was sort of thrown into all of this, so I was as surprised as anyone to learn, for example, Medicare will buy a wheelchair for people once every five years, but won’t pay anything to fix it, ever.  So, you know, if you have a wheelchair and it’s broken, there’s not a grant for that.  And, so, we often do things like that.

Brian Therrien:  By the way, that’s not the only questionable policy with Medicare.

Keith Taylor:  Well, you know, we won’t even go there, right?  We’ll stay out of…we’ll stay out of politics.

Brian Therrien:  We only have so much time today.

Keith Taylor:  That’s exactly right, but,  that’s the type that our donors seem to like very much.  Of course, if our donors can step in and prevent the loss of housing, the loss of utilities, the loss of a vehicle, especially if that vehicle is being used to go to work, that’s very important for our donors.  You know, our donors are really about empowering people to continue to live with dignity and out of the cycle of poverty.  You know, moving expenses.  We’ve, occasionally, funded those.  Expense that are involved when there’s a death in the family.  Those are some of the most difficulty to fund because they’re so…they’re  emotionally taxing for us as well as, you know, for the applicant.  Temporary loss of income.  Somebody who has been…and I think a lot of your listeners would identify with…somebody who had been temporarily unable to work for, say, a couple of weeks.  The employer doesn’t provide that kind of paid leave.  They’ve…they’re back at work for whatever reason and they’ve now…now they’re just two weeks behind and, you know, when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and that, realistically, is 90 percent of everybody in the world…99 percent of everybody in the world.  Losing two weeks pay is a catastrophe.  It’s just a catastrophe.  So, when, you know, temporary loss of income.  Urgent healthcare.  That’s another one that I think people are really really interested in.  One of, in fact, one of the first grants that we ever made back in 2002 was so that a woman could go and have a lump that she had found in her breast examined because she didn’t have any health insurance.

Brian Therrien:  Umm.

Keith Taylor:  We paid $76 for her go to find out whether or not she needed more significant care.  It turned out to be benign but, you know what?  That’s the thing.  How would you have known that…

Brian Therrien:  Exactly.

Keith Taylor:  …if you couldn’t have gone to the doctor?  So, those, I think those are some of the top…the top types of grants that our donors tend to like the most.  Now, you know, really it’s very much an issue of the personal situation and that’s that’s something that’s very important about Modest Needs.  We really do read every application, we take every application from a the standpoint that we’re dealing not with a number, but a real person who’s having a real crisis and we actually, you know, we look very carefully at what we think we can reasonably do to assist that person if that’s possible for us at all.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.  That’s very helpful.  Now, how would one…how would one apply?

Keith Taylor:  The application process is…we’ve made it as simple as we can.  The one thing that people sometimes find a little bit taxing is that we do all of our work in an online environment.  You have to have internet access and, at some point probably, access to a scanner, which most…we find that most people actually have or can get.  But, the reason that we do things this way is because, as you know, one of the things that people are most concerned about with nonprofit organizations is the amount of money that we actually spend on overhead.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  And that’s really important to us, too.  We, you know, we’re a four star charity with Charity Navigator.  We have every possible charitable pedigree.  And the reason that we have that is because we depend on technology to do work that normally would have been done by, say, multiple state offices, for example.  So, not having to have an office in every state and still being able to serve the entire United States and Canada and Puerto Rico and the US Territories through a website is very very important to us.  So, you do have to have access to a computer.  You don’t have to own one.  You can…just as long as you can check your e-mail regularly, check the website regularly, and you need to be able to scan and upload documentation, which is a very simple procedure.  We can walk you through it and most people know how to do that anyway in this day and age.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  Basically, the way that you apply, you go to Modest Needs, which is the website, very important, it’s www.modestneeds.org, not dot com, dot org, right?

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  There’s a link that says, apply for help.  You, simply…well, the first step is, obviously, to register with us and once you’ve registered with us, then there’s a link that says, apply for help.  You click that.  Our system will walk you through a questionnaire and that questionnaire is designed to see whether…before you go to the trouble of filling out an application, whether or not it looks like you would probably qualify for our help, potentially.  And, so, you go through that questionnaire and if, in fact, your answers to that questionnaire…very important that you be honest at that point because we don’t want you to waste your time if, for whatever reason, what you need is just beyond what we can do.  You know, so, go through that questionnaire.  If all of the answers to the questionnaire indicate that you, probably, appear to qualify for a grant, you’ll be taken to an application form and you just fill out the application form and, at that point, the application process starts for us.

Brian Therrien:  And how long would all that take?  Somebody with average computer skills.

Keith Taylor:  Average computer skills?  Well, judging by the fact that we get about 300 applications a day, not too long.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.  Wow.

Keith Taylor:  I would say…I would say probably, realistically, from beginning to end, 15 minutes.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.

Keith Taylor:  Depending on…depending on how prepared you are.  I mean, we tell you, up front, you know, when you click the apply for help button, we tell you what you’re going to need.  If you take the time to just gather your information before you start the process, really you can have completed the application very very quickly, but 15 minutes, all online, completely secure, and that’s how long the initial part of the process takes.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.  So, once the application is in, you know, I can just think of what’s going on in some of the audience’s mind right now.  Okay, can I get this done and keep my house or get my medicine in time, right?

Keith Taylor:  Right.

Brian Therrien:  So, how can you address that?

Keith Taylor:  Well, that’s…well, that’s a great question and, happily, we have a crack team here that just…that is…that is very very good at processing these applications.  Our turnaround time on a new, you know…let’s say you put in an application in.  Obviously the first decision we have to make is whether or not that application appears to qualify for our assistance.  We turn those around in 24 hours or less.  Okay.  So, we either request documentation from a person, which is part of our due diligence process, or tell a person that for what…you know…for a very specific reason that we can’t consider that application as written.  And sometimes that happens.  Sometimes people get a little overzealous.  For example, they don’t read the guidelines.  This is just so very important.  They don’t read the guidelines and will ask for a cash grant to themselves, which is something that we don’t do.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  Or they’ll ask for four or five different expenses, which is something that we can’t do.  And often, you know, that…the holdup is really on that end of…that end of things on the user, the applicant end of things.  They just haven’t been prepared to actually go through the process.  They ask for something we can’t do.  We have to tell them no and they have to start the process over.

Brian Therrien:  So, the key is do it right in the beginning, save yourself some time.

Keith Taylor:  That’s exactly right.  Take the time to just do a little bit of reading.  All of the information you need is on the website.  We’ve made it as clear as we possibly can.  Don’t jump right in until you’ve really read about what kinds of grants we offer, how, you know, how you qualify for those grants, make sure you’re ready to fill out that application.  Do it right the first time, and we can turn that part of things around in 24 hours or less.  It’s usually one business day.  From that point, we request documentation from the people who it looks like qualify for one of our grant types.  And this is really an important part of our due diligence process and why donors trust us.  I mean, you know, on the internet scams abound.  One of the things that we’ve built a reputation on is actually performing solid due diligence on the persons that we assist.  And so for persons who appear to qualify for our help, we will ask for a series of pieces of documentation and that documentation, almost always, well there’s certain things we ask for from everyone.  We ask for a copy of a photo ID.  Usually a driver’s license.  We don’t ask for anything that’s too sensitive.  We don’t ask for So…we never ask for Social Security numbers.  We never ask for things that could be used to steal your identity.  So, you don’t have to worry about uploading documents to us.  You can even blackout things like your actually driver’s license number, I believe, as long as we have your, you know, your name and your address and that helps us just verify that, you know, we have the correct address for you.  Copy of your rental or mortgage payment, coupon, your lease, or your mortgage payment coupon, which lets us verify your housing cost.  Copy of a paystub or if you’re on, say, SSD or SSI, a copy of your determination letter that just verifies the amount of money that you actually receive per month and we ask for that for every member of the household so that we know what the accurate household income is.  A copy of the bill, the actual bill, with which you’re requesting assistance, so if what you need is helped to install a lift into your van and you can do that for the maximum grant that we…that you qualify for or less, we just need an invoice, you know, or an estimate from the company that would be performing the work, because that’s who we’re going to pay if, in the end, we can make the grant.  You won’t get…the person who receives the grant won’t actually get cash, themselves.  We will actually pay that bill on their behalf and the service will be done for them.

Brian Therrien:  Good idea.

Keith Taylor:  So, so that way we know where the money is going.

Brian Therrien:  Yep.

Keith Taylor:  And then…and then, in most cases, we ask for something called an extenuating circumstance document.  Now, let me explain to you, very quickly, what that is.  If, you know…some situations are, in and of themselves, expenses that you wouldn’t expect to have.  Like putting a lift into a van.  That’s an expense you don’t usually plan for, right?  But,  there are also…we get many many requests, actually our most common requests for help, most common application types is help with one month’s rent or mortgage because of a situation that has made it impossible for a person, who normally can pay that bill, to pay that bill just this one month, right?  And what we need to know is that we’re not looking at a long-term situation.  That you can, normally, pay your rent.  It’s just that this month you’ve had an emergency.  And, so, an example of what we might ask for, this is a true story.  We had a person who asked for help with her rental payment because she had a toddler and as, unfortunately, toddlers sometimes do, he set the drapes in her house on fire.

Brian Therrien:  Oh, boy.

Keith Taylor:  And, so, he burned…he burned the kitchen out is really what happened.  And she was a very responsible person.  She had insurance.  The insurance covered the repairs for which she was liable.  All of that was fine, but the insurance had a deductible and the deductible was $550, and it turned out that her rent was $525.  So, in this case, she couldn’t pay for both.  She already had paid the deductible.  She needed help with the rent because she had used the rent money to pay the deductible.

Brian Therrien:  Got it.

Keith Taylor:  Well, in that case, what we need to see is that that actually took place.  We need to see that, you know, for example in that case we might ask for a copy of a Fire Marshal’s report and a copy of the repair order showing that all of this had been paid so that we know, in fact, that that circumstance took place.  And we actually…what we ask for from each applicant varies from applicant to applicant because every situation is different.  And so, you know, the most…that’s a really important part of filling out the application for us.  Don’t exaggerate and just tell us what happened.  It’s really simple.  As long as you just tell us what happened and you’re prepared to upload the documentation that we need to see that those things actually did happen, that part of the application process can happen very very quickly.  This is normally…you had asked about, you know, how long this takes?

Brian Therrien:  Right.

Keith Taylor:  Getting the documentation together from the applicant is the longest delay that we have.  Sometimes applicants take days and days and days and days to upload this information for us.  If an applicant will simply just have the documentation ready and get those things…we don’t ask for anything you don’t have or couldn’t get within a day, you know, and if the applicant will just have that information ready to upload to us, then we can turn that around in a couple of business days.  So, you’re talking about, in the best of all possible worlds, if there are no delays on the applicant’s side of things, we can get an application in front of our donors, from the time that we receive it, two or three days tops.

Brian Therrien:  Wow.

Keith Taylor:  So, it’s…so, it’s in front of the donors within 72 hours, maybe four days if we have a really big backlog.  Right now we’re working on a bit of a backlog because we’ve been in Forbes, we’ve been on the AOL homepage.  We’re doing a little bit of catching up.  But, we’re just about to open a west coast office to lighten that load, so, you know, that’s going to be a very important thing, too.  But, in any case, at that point it goes to the donors.  Now, here is where we absolutely lose control over the process.  Our donors are actually the ones who make the decisions as to which applications are going to be funded.  They give…they obviously contribute to Modest Needs.  We give each application a point value that is based on its cost.  And, so, our donors contribute until they have given all of the points that an application needs to be funded and the minute that that happens, we get a note that that application has been funded.  We cut the check and mail it to the applicant the very same day.  But, basically, you know, sometimes that happens in hours.  We have…we have seen applications that were really wonderful applications be funded, this was very day that they were posted, and we’ve seen some, even for relatively small amounts of money that took, sometimes, 10 days to receive the funding that they needed.  That’s not something we can control or predict.  It’s really about the preferences of all of the individual people who are contributing to Modest Needs.

Brian Therrien:  I want to make sure I understand this part.  Clever idea.  So, once an application is put up in front of the donors, I see, on your site, there’s a scrolling list of different…well, it’s kind of like e-bay when something’s coming up for auction I would liken it to, right?

Keith Taylor:  Right.  That’s actually a good comparison.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.  So, so, donors can come in and they can take a look at all the potential grants that are being requested.  So, here’s…here’s what I’d like to understand is if you have, I don’t know how many donors you have, but I know you have lots, if…is it their responsibility to come in and periodically look?

Keith Taylor:  That’s a great question.  We actually…in the past that’s how it’s worked and one of the things that we found is that a lot our donors, as well intentioned as they might be, sometimes just didn’t have the time…

Brian Therrien:  Right.

Keith Taylor:  …to go in and look at all of these different applications.  So, we recently added a component to our website that will allow our system to, what we call, auto allocate the points that donors accumulate.  So, what happens in those cases is that donors select preferences.  They say well, you know, I really like funding independent living grants and these are the types of specific causes that interest me most.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  Every night we run a series of processes in the background and one of the things that we do is we go through every donor account and we try to match every donor account to an application that they’ve never invested in before that matches their preferences.  If we can’t find anything that matches their preferences, the last step, and I would say a solid 99 percent of our donors say this is okay with them, is if we can’t find an application that matches all of these criteria that you’ve set, can we just give some of your points to the application that’s closest to being funded anyway?  And almost all of them say yes.  And so, really the funding can happen one of two ways.  Either donors will go in…there are some donors who want absolute control over what they do and that’s totally understandable.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  It’s their responsibility to go in, select the applications that they want to fund, and make those things happen.  On the other hand, we have the option for donors to set their preferences in our system and let our system make the allocations for them, based on the preferences that they select.  But, one way or the other, that’s how the applications are funded.

Brian Therrien:  Very cool.  Wow.

Keith Taylor:  And, so, it’s good…it’s good for the applicants because, of course, you know, I mean…one of the things that our donors see and, of course, your audience can look at this, too, on the scrolling list of applications, we’ve got the top five right there on the homepage.  And, there’s a button that says, learn more or invest points.  Now, listen to this, okay?  This is the beautiful thing about Modest Needs.  We’re sitting here talking the #1 application with the closest to being funded is called, friend died carrying for his children.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  Okay.  While we were talking…a few minutes ago, this application needed 73 points to be funded.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  While we were talking, that dropped to 13.  That person’s going to be funded by the end of this interview.

Brian Therrien:  So, yeah.  I am just refreshing my page here, because it was at 73.  Yep.  Perfect.

Keith Taylor:  See what I mean?  And that is…

Brian Therrien:  That is really neat.

Keith Taylor:  …and that’s how this work, so it happens in real time.  And the beautiful part of it for the applicant is that we, you know, you don’t have to wonder about what’s happening with your application.  You can actually track, as an applicant, everything that is happening to your application in real time…

Brian Therrien:  Okay.

Keith Taylor:  …from your personal page.  So, you get e-mail updates every day about what your current point balance is, how many more points you need to be funded, if you’re close to expiration.  You know, we communicate constantly with our applicants.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  Now, a lot of that…that is automated because it has to be.  But, you know, we want people to know where they stand, exactly what’s going on, so that if it happens that we can’t help for some reason or or it looks like we may not be able to do it, they can start to make other plans and that’s very important, too.  You need to know where you stand in the process.

Brian Therrien:  So, is it possible for, you know, like help student with rent, this one that I see in San Jose, 3438, that once this is in here, whoever the applicant is, just say, listen, could they…they could say to somebody come on buy modestneeds.org and kick me across the finish line by investing some points?

Keith Taylor:  Well, you know, theoretically they could to that.  We, you know, we try really hard to discourage people from going out and, say, posting information about their…

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  …specific application all over the internet, because what that does is create the appearance of cyber begging.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.  Got it.

Keith Taylor:  And that’s something that our donors strongly discourage.  If they find out that somebody, say, has gone on to craigslist and tried to solicit contributions for themselves, they will, almost automatically…they won’t only not invest…our donors have the opportunity to actually go in an divest their points.  In other words, they can take points away from applications that they’ve previously given some points to as long as the application hasn’t been funded yet.  We find that if they discover that that’s the case, they will actually go in and take points back.  That’s something our donors look very very…they look a scoff at that.

Brian Therrien:  So, just let the process unfold?

Keith Taylor:  Let the process unfold.  And, you know, I’ll tell you something.  In, well, right now, I’ll tell you where we’re going.  I mean, you know, a lot of times people wonder, you know, okay, really really what are the chances of being funded?  I’ll tell you what they are right now, at the moment.  And this is pretty good for a small nonprofit.  Now, you have to keep in mind that our whole budget is still under $2.5 million a year.  So, you know, when you compare that to organizations like, ah, I don’t know, oh, The American Cancer Society, with a budget in the billions…

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  You’re…you’re talking about a very very small amount of money when you’re trying to reach a lot of people.  We’re still funding close to 50 percent of the people who qualify for our help.  That’s…you know, so it’s 50/50 shot in the end, but that changes as more people contribute.  And, so, of course, you know, the more people that contribute, the better the chances are that people will get the help that they need.

Brian Therrien:  50/50 is a good…that’s good.

Keith Taylor:  50/50 is better…it’s better than, you know, it’s…and, you know, the most important thing to remember is that it’s not like a lottery.  It’s not like you have, you know, a 50/50 chance.  The truth is that if you come to Modest Needs and you place an application for assistance that fits our guidelines and our donors understand why you need this help, you have more of a 90 percent chance of getting it.

Brian Therrien:  Okay.

Keith Taylor:  The ones that tend not to get the help are people who come in and either, you know…our policy is generally one of noninterference.  We have certain types of grants that we just won’t put forward for our donors to look at because, frankly, in the past, you know, we’ve seen some pretty ridiculous things come across our screens, but…we won’t even get into that.  But, generally our preferences is to perform our due diligence and let the donors decide and if you come in…here’s an example.  Let’s say you need a bed, right?  A bed.  You come in and ask for a simple mattress and box springs that can be bought for $285 or $300, which would be a cheap bed, but it’s a bed, right?

Brian Therrien:  Right.

Keith Taylor:  It’s a bed.  You’re going to get that.  If you come in and ask for a California plush king with, you know, and it costs $1,000, our donor’s going to look at that and say, you know, you’re just greedy.

Brian Therrien:  You’re over the top.

Keith Taylor:  You’re over the top.  What are you thinking?

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  And they’re not going to give you anything.  And, so, really what you’re finding out is it’s not that, you know, it’s a 50/50 shot.  It’s that our donors found about half of the applications that qualify for our help to be so worthy and deserving of their assistance that they immediately went in and funded those.  And so that’s really what that means.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.  Okay.  Let’s…let’s talk about the contribution end of this, because this is…this is a fantastic cause and I know that there’s a lot of people in the audience that, you know, are probably saying well this is great and all that.  Probably there’s a lot in need and there’s a lot of people out there on fixed incomes but, you know, I think that together we might be able to make a difference and if people can contribute a little bit, which I don’t know what your limitations are, it would be a great thing for people to be able to make a difference.  So, let’s talk about that.  As far as a contributor, can…I mean, are there limitations? 

Keith Taylor:  Well, that’s a…that’s a great question.  I am…unlike a lot of nonprofits, we don’t have…the lower limit, the smallest contribution that we can physically accept because of the limitations on our own accounts…

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  …is $1.00, okay?  And that is the lower limit, $1.00.

Brian Therrien:  So, somebody could do $1.00 a month, $12 bucks a year?

Keith Taylor:  Yeah, $12 a year if you wanted to do it, right?  And, of course, you know, people who make recurring contributions, this is a whole different thing that we should talk about, but we actually operate under a very generous matching grant.  So, what that grant does…a lot of our donors, in fact, almost all our donors don’t come and give just one time.  They choose to make a small monthly contribution.  Maybe $5.00, you know.  $5, $10, $20.  The average hovers around a $1.00 a day.  They’re about $30 a month, but for some people that’s just out of reach and we have an awful lot of donors who give $5 or $10 a month.  Well, because of the matching grant, that amount is actually doubled, so the $5 that you give nets $10 for us, and you get to spend your 10 points just as if you had given $10 instead of $5.  So, it’s…so it, you know, you get to go out there and help some of the people who are in the very same situations that, perhaps, either you’ve been in in the past or, maybe, you’re in right now.  But, what’s important to remember is that, you know, Modest Needs is…you know, beyond the grants that we make, which are very very important grants and a cause that, really, we’re the only nonprofit that works to address, beyond this, the point of Modest Needs is to build not just a sense of community, but a sense of philanthropy among people who really didn’t think they could be philanthropists because, you know, to me, you know…back in the day, when I heard that word, philanthropy equaled Bill Gates, right?

Brian Therrien:  Yep.

Keith Taylor:  And that was…you had to have big money.  Well, what…what happened…the reason Modest Needs started is is that simply I just realized one day, that, you know, because I’ve been in these situations, too.  We’ve all been in these situations and, you know, hopefully most of us had a support system where someone could help us, a friend, a family member, someone could help us.  Well, you know, what I realized is that none of the people who ever helped me had been wealthy.  They had just been compassionate.  And that is what philanthropy means.  Even the very word means compassion for people.  And, so, it’s important to remember that it is not about…it really is not about how much money you have.  It’s about what you do with the resources available to you and if you’re willing to take $5.00 and, you know…how about somebody who is…even if you’re in need, you’re willing to pitch in a little bit for somebody else that’s in need?  You know, together, you know…if you think about it, in the couch cushions of America is more than the fortune of Bill Gates…

Brian Therrien:  Hmm.  Hmm.

Keith Taylor:  …you know?  All we have to do is pull those resources and do what we can to help each other.

Brian Therrien:  Yep.

Keith Taylor:  And I think that that’s one of the most important parts of Modest Needs.  You know about 70 percent of the people that we’ve helped have ult…even people on fixed incomes have, ultimately, become donors to Modest Needs and most of them stay for, at least, a couple of years before they either discontinue their contribution but, in the process, those people have actually…the people we have funded have ac…and in some cases people we haven’t funded…have ended up funding 100s of other people just like them.  And that is what’s important about this organization.  It is not about one or two wealthy people doing what they can for people who, you know, are beneath them in some way or who don’t have their resources.  It’s about regular, average people proving, every day, that every person has the power to change a life.

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.  Fantastic.  I mean…so, what you’re saying is if somebody can give a $1.00 and they can do it every month, they’re really giving…have a $2.00 because it’s matched?

Keith Taylor:  That’s right.  That’s exactly right.

Brian Therrien:  Five is 10.  So, so, you know, a buck a month, $24 a year, you know, that would have funded this guy’s medicines, so you can make a difference for him.

Keith Taylor:  I mean, you know, if you can think about it right now, I mean, let’s see…let’s see how the guy is doing from Omaha, right?  I mean, this guy needs $13…$13, basically.  Thirteen points to be funded, right?

Brian Therrien:  Um-hum.

Keith Taylor:  I mean, you know, I don’t know how many listeners you have, but we could have funded that with our…with the pennies on our dressers…

Brian Therrien:  Sure.

Keith Taylor:  …a few minutes ago, and this guy would be in good shape.  That’s what we really need to do, I think, not just…and this is not just about giving to Modest Needs.  This is just a mindset.  That is how we need to think our ability to impact other people’s lives.  It is not about having a great deal of money.  It’s about caring enough about other people that you’re willing to share just the smallest part of whatever you can do.  No contribution is small.  There’s no such thing as a small gift is there?

Brian Therrien:  Fantastic.  No.  No.  No.  They all add up and they make a difference.

Keith Taylor:  That’s right.

Brian Therrien:  So, what…what I’ll…what we’ll do at the end for the audience here is we will put, you know, the links to modestneeds.org so they can come on over and check it out and, you know, get involved.

Keith Taylor:  Well, that would be great.  We certainly welcome your audience and the impact that they could make is really just immeasurable.

Brian Therrien:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Well, listen, in closing, good for you, Keith Taylor.  I mean, what you have done here in championing this is just…it’s it’s remarkable.  The technology, the cause, the way it’s all put together.  Great job.

Keith Taylor:  Well, thank you Brian.  Thank you very very much.  It means a lot that you would ask me to come and speak to your audience.

Brian Therrien:  Great job.  Great job.

 {end of the interview}