Local giving group continues to grow and welcomes anyone with a passion for helping others.
The 2020s have brought on several challenges. From the pandemic to civil unrest to rising inflation, struggles created during the past few years have left many people needing help. In addition, it has left other people feeling helpless, not knowing how or where to offer their time and energy to make a difference. That is where Maple Grove Giving Connection comes in to help.
Two and a half years ago, Taya Brodin-Hanson, founder of Maple Grove Giving Connection, noticed displaced people in the parking lot of the Maple Grove Community Center. It appeared to be the same people morning after morning, and because the local rest stop had closed, she wanted to know if something could be done to help.
Taking a leap of faith, Brodin-Hanson reached out on social media to solicit anyone wanting to help to gather at the library on a Sunday afternoon. The response was great. “That day we filled my garage with donations and raised about $800,” she says.
Realizing there are many people who want to help but don’t always know how encouraged Brodin-Hanson to start Maple Grove Giving Connection and turn it into a nonprofit with the assistance of others. “I give my team all the credit,” she says. “The board of directors team is amazing.”
With a team formed, Maple Grove Giving Connection began its presence with a Facebook group that now has more than 550 members, all who share ideas and resources of how to help their friends and neighbors in need.
“We really want it to be a group that helps make Maple Grove as a city feel more like a community,” Brodin-Hanson says.
Posts in the Facebook group range from people needing winter clothing to celebratory news of homeless clients finding housing. Maple Grove Giving Connection helps wherever there is a need.
“We work with school counselors if kids need anything; we help clients get their vehicles fixed; we connect people with what benefits they can receive; we’ve gotten people out of domestic violence situations; and even raked leaves,” Brodin-Hanson says. “We do a little bit of everything.”
While Maple Grove Giving Connection is a smaller nonprofit, Brodin-Hanson says members routinely work with larger groups, should the need arise. “We connect people with the right resources if it’s something we’re unable to help them with,” she says.
The More, the Merrier
Anyone wanting to become involved with Maple Grove Giving Connection is encouraged to join the open Facebook group, Brodin-Hanson says. Opportunities for people who want to help range from physical volunteering to monetary donations, all of which go a long way.
“We continue to grow by word of mouth and have people join the Facebook group daily,” she says. “We’re so inspired by how many generous people there are out there who just want to make Maple Grove better … these people are truly making a difference in their own backyard.”
Brodin-Hanson says connections that members have to other resources is what helps add to the group’s success. And she hopes that trend catches on in other communities.
“As time goes on, we would really like to be approached by another group of people in other communities about how to start something like this for their city that can be a resource for many, many people,” she says. “We would love this concept to grow and grow, so each city can have a nonprofit like this.”
Brodin-Hanson admits she never imagined the group would become what it has and is humbled by the generosity of others.
“We’re small, only a [bandage] on some problems, but we really help people connect to different resources for more long-term help,” she says. “It’s truly amazing.”