Founded in 2002, Modest Needs is an award-winning public charity with a simple but critical mission: to stop the cycle of poverty BEFORE it starts for the low-income workers whom conventional philanthropy has forgotten. “Together, we can make sure that no hard-working person is ever forced to choose between taking a child to the doctor and putting food on the table.”
They do this by empowering compassionate members of the general public to safely and securely help hard-working, low-income households to afford the kinds of short-term emergency expenses that we’ve all encountered before: the unexpected car repair, the unanticipated visit to the doctor, or the unusually large heating bill, for example.
Since 2002, by working together in this very ‘modest’ way, Modest Needs’ donors have stopped 9,868 low-income individuals and families from entering the vicious cycle of poverty and a lifetime of dependence on the public welfare system for their survival. And, through their unique Non-Profit Grant program, they simultaneously empower our donors to invest directly in small non-profit organizations struggling to serve their communities, but whose needs are generally too small to be considered a funding priority by larger, more conventional grant-makers.
Modest Needs has earned the highest possible charity ratings from both Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
In keeping with its mission, Modest Needs offers the following four types of grants:
- Self-Sufficiency Grants
Modest Needs makes Self-Sufficiency Grants by remitting payment to a creditor for an expense on behalf of an otherwise self-sufficient individual or family for a relatively small, emergency expense which the individual or family could not have anticipated or prepared for. In making a Self-Sufficiency Grant, our goal is to prevent an otherwise self-sufficient individual or family from entering the cycle of poverty as a result of the financial burden posed by a relatively small emergency expense. For example, we might make a Self-Sufficiency Grant to cover the cost of an emergency auto repair that must be made if an individual is to continue working.
- Back-to-Work Grants
Modest Needs makes Back-to-Work grants by remitting payment for a small work-related fee or expense on behalf of a temporarily unemployed individual. In making a Back-to-Work grant, our goal is to provide a willing but temporarily unemployed individual with the means to return to work. For example, we might make a Back to Work grant to cover the cost of a professional license renewal for a temporarily displaced worker.
- Independent Living Grants
Modest Needs makes Independent Living Grants by remitting payment to a creditor for an expense on behalf of persons who are permanently unable to work but who nevertheless are living independently on the limited income to which they are entitled – their retirement income, or their permanent disability income, for example. In making an Independent Living Grant, our goal is to empower financially responsible persons who cannot work to continue to live independently on their limited incomes, despite an unexpected expense which no conventional agency is prepared to address. For example, we might make an Independent Living Grant to cover the cost of maintenance on a piece of accessibility equipment not covered by Medicaid, to cover an unexpectedly large prescription medication co-pay, or to assist with a large summer cooling bill.
- Non-Profit Grants
Modest Needs makes Non-Profit Grants by remitting payment to a creditor for an expense incurred by a small non-profit organization that will demonstrably strengthen that organization’s ability to serve its clients and community. In making Non-Profit Grants, our goal is to provide a forum whereby small non-profit organizations can apply directly to members of the public for the assistance they need to complete the small projects that will allow these organizations to more effectively carry out their missions, but which most larger grant makers would not generally consider a funding priority. For example, we might make a Non-Profit Grant to cover the cost of a handful of new beds for a small but expanding women’s shelter or to assist with the creation of a basic website for a small non-profit with no ability to communicate directly with its own constituents.