What kind of impact could you have in Columbus if you had 14,000 young professionals? How much money do you think you could raise to help local nonprofits?
Columbus Young Professionals Club has raised more than $200,000 in seven years through its members to support local charities throughout Columbus and Central Ohio. CYP Club is a young professional membership organization offering events, athletics, and volunteer activities on a weekly basis. The organization was founded by Derek Grosso and Patrick Preston in 2005.
Each year, CYP Club hosts almost 150 event that focus on participants connecting and having a good time while making a positive contribution to the community. Events are designed to fill a need and allow an opportunity to be discovered. Events range from monthly happy hours and social networking mixers with 200 to 300 attendees to more intimate outings that allow members to experience arts, music, and sports as a small group.
“When I moved to Columbus in 2005 from Washington D.C., via New York where I grew up, I saw a need in the community for something like this for area young professionals and I wanted to fill that niche,” says Derek Grosso, president/CEO of CYP Club.
CYP Club’s first event raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims. About 100 attendees made donations to the Red Cross, which were then matched by The Columbus Dispatch. Their second philanthropic event, a canned food collection and trick-or-treat campaign, netted more than 1,200 pounds of food and more than $200 for Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
“The CYP club has focused talents and resources on building community impact in Central Ohio since we were founded,” Grosso says. “It has always been rooted in our mission.”
CYP Club’s most successful and well-known philanthropic event is A Date 2 Remember, a combined live date auction and fashion show. The event, typically hosted in January or February, has raised more than $150,000 for local charities since it was established five years ago.
The event takes nearly 20 CYP Club leadership team members to make the event a success. Using a three-step interview process, 28 singles and couples from the club’s membership are selected to sell tickets, garner sponsorships, participate in the fashion show, and create date experience packages. Two examples are Double Date Tailgate, which includes premium seating for four to Blue Jackets, Clippers, Crew and other sporting events, and The Sweet Suite Life, which includes Jeni’s Ice Cream, a Columbus Food Adventures’ sweets tour and cookies from Cookie Cravings.
Each year a new charity is selected to receive 100 percent of the event’s proceeds, which have gone to charities such as A Kid Again, Flying Horse Farms, and the Capital Area Humane Society.
“A key to this event is our strong and strategic partnership with the more than 200 local businesses and community sponsors who help us piece together the date experiences, donate food and drink for the cocktail hour, and offer their services, expertise, and support to make the event a high-energy, high-value evening where everyone has a great social fundraising experience,” Grosso says.
When looking for philanthropic partners, CYP Club seeks charities willing to partner, as well as an opportunity to build a successful relationship. The club seeks to connect members to the charity to enhance their experiences in life and work. Some charity partners have been the Columbus Historical Society, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Franklin County, Habitat for Humanity, See Kids Dream, and Lifeline of Ohio.
“We do a lot for charity and we are happy to do even more as we continue to grow,” Grosso says.
For businesses looking to incorporate philanthropy into their work, Grosso recommends setting a goal to be met by your employees and making a plan for action.
Philanthropic Pursuit is a monthly feature on The Metropreneur, powered by Community Shares of Mid Ohio. Is your business giving back to the community or partnering with a local nonprofit in a unique way? We want to hear about it. Contact Ryan Kovalaske at [email protected].