Underground of Good
Who We Are
The Underground of Good is an informal, membership-based giving group that targets young professionals who wish to invest in the greater Lansing community to help it thrive today and forever. Together, members select and award grants to causes they care about in the community. Prior to the establishment of the Underground of Good with the Community Foundation, a group of Lansing philanthropists formed organically in December 2013. Since its inception, the Underground of Good has already donated more than $23,000 to twelve nonprofits in mid-Michigan. Quarterly gifts have ranged from $1,000 to $3,600.
Our Endowment Fund
Members contribute $500 annually, of which $400 is allocated to the spendable portion of the fund for quarterly grantmaking. The remaining $100 is allocated to the “endowed,” or non-spendable, portion of the fund. Earnings will be pooled with the fund’s spendable assets to increase grantmaking once the endowment reaches $100,000. You can contribute to our fund online here.
Our Grantmaking Process
The Underground of Good meets quarterly in an informal setting. Each quarter is assigned a giving theme—youth, arts, placemaking, animals, etc.— and members in attendance at the quarterly meeting may nominate a local 501(c)(3) organization in mid-Michigan to be considered for a grant. Three organizations are randomly chosen from all nominees. Members who nominated the organizations give a 3-minute pitch, and other members may ask questions following the presentations. Then, attending members vote for one of the three organizations; the one with the most votes wins the grant.
Underground of Good Leadership
Two volunteer co-chairs provide overall leadership and direction for the Underground of Good, with tax receipting and grantmaking support from the Community Foundation.
Contribution and Payment Options
- 100 percent of member contributions are pooled and granted to the community
- This is a tax-deductible contribution to the Capital Region Community Foundation; the Community Foundation will award grants to mid-Michigan nonprofits based on member recommendations
- Membership is $500 per year, per person. Members may pay in one lump sum, quarterly ($125/quarter), or monthly ($45/month) payments with a credit card. Membership begins with your first gift and continues for 12 months. If quarterly or monthly installments are not fulfilled, membership communications and voting privileges lapse
Member Participation in the Underground of Good
It is expected that all members:
- Attend as many meetings as they can at which they can cast their votes
- Respond to surveys on funding opportunities
- Stay informed and provide feedback
- Cast a vote for the grant recipients
- Adhere to the Community Foundation’s conflict of interest policy (in short, you may not recommend or vote for a grant to an organization from which you personally benefit financially)
If you are interested in joining the Underground of Good, please complete our pledge card here and mail it to our office.