DAI Staff in the U.S. Office Raise More Than $23,000 for Local Charities

August 10, 2020

It started with a question during a virtual meeting from DAI Finance staffer Ina Nasution: “What are we doing to help our local community get though the pandemic?” That was in April, in the early days of the lockdown, when DAI’s Bethesda, Md., office had been closed for nearly a month in response to COVID-19.

Heading up that meeting was Tine Knott, Senior Vice President of our U.S. Government Business Unit. “I realized that I did not have a good answer,” said Knott. “So we launched the contest that same day. Any team that could come up with an idea that met the minimum contest requirements got $150 in starter capital and they just ran with it.”

Just one month later, more than $23,000 has been raised for 15 local charities and businesses, over and above the original $1,500.


Each of 10 teams was given $150 and asked to at least double that money—preferably more—and use the funds generated to support a Washington, D.C.-area charity or business that is suffering due to the pandemic. The idea had to be implementable by the team within two weeks, and the winner would be the team that leveraged its seed capital the most.

Some of the creative fundraising events included online cooking classes; sales of succulent plants; sponsored bike rides; donations to a bail revolving fund; refurbishing and donating bicycles to people in need; distributing vegetable seed packets; and purchasing and delivering face masks.

The team that won was able to leverage its original investment by 40 times.

Some participants enjoyed the events so much that they plan to continue them. The online cooking classes will now be held monthly. Others see work continuing to yield benefits into the future; the team that donated to the bail revolving fund said, “We estimate that this will help over 7,000 individuals secure bail that will allow them to return to their families and communities while awaiting trial.”

Charities and local companies that benefitted include: Bread for the City, BikeMatchDC, Bethesda Deli, Bethesda Cares, Miriam’s Kitchen, Latino Economic Development Center, Xiquet, Gastro Soul, Loveland Therapy Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, World Central Kitchen, Real Food for Kids, The Bail Project, Indonesian maskmaker Tri Narmini, and Color of Change.

Nasution is pleased. The contest “reflects the DAI motto: ‘Shaping a more livable world,’” she said. “Things would be better for many people if each of us were reaching out to our communities and helping those whose livelihoods are disrupted as a result of COVID-19.”

“It is the best $1,500 I have ever spent in my entire life,” said Knott, who launched the challenge with her own funds. “We are now working on plans for Linda Norgrove Foundation fundraising and also are going to do another community-based contest around supporting local get-out-the-vote efforts.”



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