KALAMAZOO, Mich — The nonprofit Guys Who Give has raised more than $130,000 dollars to help charities in Kalamazoo.
"The goal is to give at least a $10,000 dollar gift to a local nonprofit once every quarter," explained Cody Livingston, one of the founders of Guys Who Give. "You have to be a 501c3, and you have to serve Kalamazoo county. Those are our only two rules."
Livingston created the organization alongside his brother several years ago.
"Guys Who Give started in Boulder, Colorado, with my older brother Justin starting his chapter out there," he explained. "We quickly followed suit here in Kalamazoo."
The organization now has several chapters forming across West Michigan and the country.
The goal is to get 100 guys together four times a year, asking each person to contribute $100 dollars to benefit a charity voted on by members.
"Used to be breweries and bars, now it's been zoom for the last few months," said Livingston. "We knew that we are all very busy, but there's got to be a way for us to get together and make an impact...it's much more impactful if we can rally people together and multiple that impact tenfold."
Despite the pandemic and economic uncertainty in 2020, the Kalamazoo chapter had a record-breaking year, bringing in more than $50,000 dollars.
The group's fourth quarter donation of $13,700 dollars to Lending Hands of Michigan also set a new record.
The charity operates on a tight budget to provide free medical equipment to residents in need.
"It's amazing for us to have been a part of it...we're just overwhelmed," said Lucinda Stinson, the executive director of Lending Hands. "For me, it was one of those gifts, manna from heaven, because we are here to serve."
Collectively, all Guys Who Give chapters are closing in on the one-million-dollar mark in 2021.
Livingston said being a part of the check presentations and surprising local organizations is really special.
"To be able to do this and give these types of funds to an organization in the community--it certainly makes me feel good as an individual," he said. "It makes you feel great to make an impact in your community."
Livingston said new chapters in St. Joseph, Van Buren and Kent counties are launching in 2021.
Several 'Gals Who Give' chapters have also been started.
The next event is set for Feb. 10. Livingston said you don't have to be a member to contribute.
As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Livingston is receiving a $300 prize.
To learn more about Guys Who Give, visit the group's website or Facebook page.
Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.
Meet Chris Waleskowski, our December 2020 Pay it Forward Person of the Month.