Doing good works: Young community builder raises $10K for Boys & Girls Club

Today we meet Franny Donovan, who will be presented as a winner in the “Outstanding Young Philanthropist” category during the 2013 National Philanthropy Day Awards, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. You can meet her up close and personal at the 26th annual awards luncheon on Friday, Nov. 1 at the Overture Center for the Arts, and here is why you’ll want to do that!

When she was 7 years old, Franny told her mom that she wanted to ride a bike in the Boys & Girls Club Bike Ride, but Mom said no for the best of reasons — the main one being that Franny didn’t even know how to ride a two-wheeler yet! Her parents told her that if she wanted to ride, she’d have to master that skill first; furthermore, to prove her dedication to the race, she’d also have to raise funds to help the kids at the club.

With those challenges before her, Franny took off her training wheels and, at the age of 9, became an official “biker girl” for the Boys & Girls Club bike ride. Not only did she fly past on her two-wheeler, she also finished in the top 10 in fundraising. As her confidence grew, and her commitment blossomed, Franny eventually led a team and began speaking at team events to inspire more people to ride — and to ride farther.

In the push for miles, Franny has also led by example, earning a Champion Award in 2010. She rode 10 miles that year and the next. In 2012, she increased her distance ridden to 25 miles, which became her 2013 goal as well. In all, she’s biked 105 miles to date for the group.

Since that first entry in 2008, Franny also has annually raised money by emailing her family and friends with giving pleas, and posting a broader message on social media. One year, she added her birthday money to the pledges. Last year, Franny stepped up her game by hosting a bake sale at The Purple Goose in Verona.

How has she done with her fundraising goals? Along with the miles she’s put on the books, Franny has personally raised about $10,000 to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. She has an acute social conscience and inspires other people to care about the community as well, and the club reports that she has become a widely recognized and respected leader within the organization. Boys & Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson summarizes: “When Franny is involved with a club project, event, or initiative, she is there to make a difference, not just to be seen. She is a great role model for young people her age.”



Now this ambitious and competitive young woman has set a goal of riding 50 miles, which she feels is very doable over time. She always likes to be riding toward one goal, whether it’s defined by miles or dollars — making sure other children have the resources they need to compete in the larger world, too.

This young entrepreneur is obviously a community builder. Shake her hand and personally reinforce the great path she’s on by attending the awards luncheon to meet her and all the other (older) community builders who share her commitment to building the best place to work, play, and raise a family.  

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