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Affairs of the Heart: Networks, Scalability and a Simple Vision

April 8, 2013

I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody. ~Author Unknown

Headshot 01The ongoing inspiration of meeting smart, philanthropic people is an incredible benefit of working for a community foundation.

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Georgia Kossoff, a student who lives in Sarasota and attends a virtual high school based in California that develops young leaders from all over the world.

After witnessing a 5-year-old girl drown in a resort pool when CPR was administered incorrectly, Georgia didn’t wait for another “somebody” to do something about the shortage of people who know how to help in an emergency.

She started a local program called Affairs of the Heart, offering custom CPR parties.

Georgia conducted her research and learned that one in four Americans have been or will be in a situation requiring CPR. So she started  financing BBQ/pool parties “with some basic CPR and AED training thrown in” (we love it!) because she understands the power of social networks in action. After all, we are most likely to experience cardiac arrest around friends, family or co-workers.

She’s not the only CPR training game in town, but she is accomplishing her work differently, while using the CPR resources available through existing instructors.

Aside from the personal story driving Georgia’s motivation, three components of her business model are noteworthy for nonprofits and anyone considering a thoughtful approach to activism:

  • Affairs of the Heart relies on networks. 
    We’ve been hearing the messages of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, co-authors of The Networked Nonprofit, and others for years now. It seems foreign and daunting to some, but our organizations and programs will become increasingly dependent on third-party ambassadors to inspire action. Georgia is far ahead of the curve. People, not a tax status, will make her mission a success–especially when combined with personal empowerment and fun in a casual environment.
  • The program is scalable. 
    Georgia has created a model that can be reproduced on college campuses, in local businesses, within nonprofit organizations, at informal group meetings across the world–virtually anywhere.  She has even prepared a handy toolkit to help anyone host a CPR party. The epicenter isn’t the organization itself, but the process and the result.
  • There is no 501(c)(3) designation.
    Because Affairs of the Heart is not a separate 501(c)(3) charitable organization, there is no requirement for a board of directors, Articles of Incorporation, or annual IRS Form 990 filing. The end-game is to get as many people CPR certified as possible, and Georgia determined it can be accomplished informally. We are appreciative to her for illustrating that you don’t have to obtain a nonprofit status to make a difference.

Next tasks include reaching those beyond her own networks and developing a sustainable funding model. Georgia has already accomplished so much with a simple but powerful approach.

How have you channeled a life-changing experience into positive action and change? We can learn so much from this example.

You can reach Georgia Kossoff and Affairs of the Heart at iDancer4 (at) gmail.com or by calling (941) 321-2262.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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4 Responses to “Affairs of the Heart: Networks, Scalability and a Simple Vision”

  1. Deya Says:

    Such a beautiful thing to do! 🙂

  2. Lynn Rasys Says:

    I am so inspired by this story that I have already contacted her. What a wonderful young lady. The world would be a much better place if we all followed I CAN DO SOMETHING!

  3. renee hamad Says:

    I know her personally; she is my adopted granddaughter! I am so proud of her accomplishments!!!! she is as gorgeous as humble too! a true reflection of her parents upbringing, caring and nurturing


  4. I have know Georgia for many years and have had the great pleasure of watching her grow into such an admirable person. I also attended one of her CPR parties and left very inspired, educated, and impressed.

    I am so proud of the young lady she has become. Way to go!

    Jennifer LeBlanc


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