Story of SEEDS
In the summer of 2007, Mary Jenson met her friend Karen Loritts at a wedding in Arkansas. After the ritual “kids and family” conversation, Karen, with an extra twinkle in her eyes, told Mary about the new foundation she and some friends had begun in Atlanta. One Hundred Shares Atlanta was a year old at the time and its goal of challenging 100 women to give $1000 a year for a specified term, thereby amassing a $100,000 lump sum to be given to a worthy Atlanta Christian nonprofit “serving the needy and sharing the Gospel,” started a fire in Mary’s heart.
When she returned to San Diego the idea of pooling gifts in this way was never far from her conscious mind. Occasionally she would mention it to whomever she was lunching with, and, while nearly every woman she told was intrigued with the idea, she saw the eyes of a few light up. Finally, Marian said, “So what are you waiting for?” And that (plus the previous year of thinking) was all she needed.
Five women joined her in September 2008 and together they became the SEEDS Leadership Committee. It took two months to settle on the name SEEDS San Diego, during which time, via emails and meetings, the plan began to form. The website was launched in December and lists were drawn up for the invitees to our first ever SEEDS KickOff Dessert on February 3, 2009.
We are grateful to One Hundred Shares Atlanta (particularly to Anne Irwin) for mentoring us throughout the first six months of our existence. Their willingness to share their experience and even their procedures gave us the kind of direction and momentum we needed to get moving.
You might wonder just why we initiated a new funding idea the month the housing market ushered in what we are now calling the Great Recession. First, if we were hurting we knew the chronically hurting were hurting even more. Second, we believed that the best response was not cowering in our own little caves but planting seeds of hope, giving what we could to make something grow.
We’ve had our snafus, but we all agree that the birth and growth of SEEDS has exceeded our expectations. It has not, however, exceeded our faith. For in the beginning we acknowledged our naiveté and our lack of experience and knew there would be only one reason this would work: God. To him be the glory and the thanks.