We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Keating and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was completely organic, motivated by the generosity and compassion of friends. We started with a simple idea to offer help to a needy family during the holidays. As things caught on and the passion of donors grew, it became a must due. Our friendly fundraiser doubled in donations three years running, or success in both fundraising and “changing lives one family at a time” necessitated our need to incorporate. So Givingmas.org was born.
What should our readers know about your business?
Givingmas offers a unique vision in the world of nonprofits helping families. Our focus is 100% set a on “Changing Lives One Family at a Time.” 5 years ago while raising money to help a family at Christmas we started to raise more that enough to make one families Christmas a memorable one, so we had to ask ourselves, should we start helping more families have a better christmas? I thought to myself, wait all we are doing is making a better Christmas for someone and it is only for this Christmas,what happens to the family next year? Chances are they are right back in the same situation next year. That is when we decided, Let’s keep the focus on one family, not on Christmas. Now we work with them for a year to help get them out of the subsidie cycle. 100 percent of donations go to families unless designated by the donor to help with operations.
We have cleared up warrants, criminal backgrounds, provided transportation, paid off student loans,educational opportunities, helped people over 35 get their 1st ever driver’s license, corrected and improve credit scores and so much more. We really do focus on changing the lives of families, sometimes that can take a couple years.
We hold the family accountable, example: They need car insurance or cell phone, we help with 50 to 90% of the bill the family has to come up with the rest, they need to get used to paying the bill each month.
We have grown in our range as well, during the Covid-19 shut down Givingmas provided $100 gift cards for several months to over 100 families who had been laid-off because of the shut down- we called the opportunity Givingmas Groceries.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First off I would cook, we have great verity of food here so we can eat well and cheap at home. I would make anything from Thai to Steak and potatoes, we dine pool side.
Now they didn’t come to just see me so we need to entertain, correct?
The Arts, Broadway plays, local theater and live music there is always something special going on. We would,depending on their interests visit the Dallas Museum of the Arts, The Depository (Kennedy assassination) George Bush library, Sports Cowboys, Mavericks even the Stars. If they have kids, Perot museum, the zoo and North Park Mall always entertain.
When dining out, so many places. There are a couple must visits on the list. I am not a chain food guy, so The Cock & Bull for the best upscale (my home pub) but casual pub in dallas, The lakewood landing for BLT’s, Cosmos and 70’s retro bar, they play VHS movies and have the best Vietnamese food in Dallas.
Of course I would invite them to one of our many Givingmas Social events, great people of all walks of life.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Governor Williams Janklow for his wisdom and mentoring. John Craft and Mark MaGruder for their vision and dedication. Mostly the friends and neighbors of the community of Lakewood and surrounding neighborhoods for their generous wallets and compassion to help others, without them there is no Givingmas.
John Craft, Givingmas Secretary- V.P Community Development AT&T Mark MaGruder, Givingmas Treasure- V.P. BOK Investments