A case in point are the efforts of two local women here in New Canaan, Carolyn Williams and Barbara Davis, who watched with growing concern this last year as the number of vacant stores seemed to rise and their friends increasingly shopped out of town to save money. Davis a former lawyer and Williams a former sales trader at Morgan Stanley, pooled their brain power to come up with a way to save their town. Last October, they launched Ib.l.a.s.t., an acronym for “I Buy Local and Shop in Town”. The Ib.l.a.s.t. card rewards local residents for shopping in New Canaan stores through special deals and savings incentives.
Now, barely 5 months later, more than 65 merchants are participating, 600-plus cards have been sold; and 7 nonprofits are fundraising with iblast. Plus, Barbara and Carolyn have started an online local exchange (a la craigslist) that connects you with goods, services and recommendations from other people in the town. Other towns are contacting them to see if similar services can be set up in their communities.
Their success is a prime example of how we can make a difference in the lives of others. Beyond the obvious commercial success this brings to store owners and communities, Iblast helps non-profits raise money during a period of increasingly shrinking donations.
In Carolyn's own words: "One of the reasons we started Iblast is to give non-profits a way to raise money in this economy. Over the course of the last 10 years volunteering in town, we have witnessed a decline in the local merchant's ability to support the non-profits in town. We wanted to come up with something that would help raise money for the non-profits and help support our local merchants at the same time. 11 non profits are already fundraising with Iblast but we have only scratched the surface".
Hats off to our local Hometown "She-roes"! If any of you out there in the blogosphere have other stories of how Women of Wealth are making a difference, let me know and I will pass them along in future lifestyle lifter posts.Until next post, continue to believe, achieve, receive. SDG - JBHIV