Pay-It-Forward sees more spirit of giving, charity benefit set for Dec. 7

Published 9:21 am Saturday, November 30, 2019

A charity benefit dubbed “At Your Service” is planned from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Austin Holiday Inn to help Pay-It-Forward with continuing its mission of helping others and offsetting the expenses of the large PIF projects.

Keeping with the spirit of PIF, no admission price or ticket is needed to attend the event, said Gina Grundmeire, owner of T’NG Plumbing. Rather, attendees can expect 50/50 raffles, a grand prize raffle, door prizes and around 100 silent auction items waiting to be claimed. Live entertainment will be provided by Morris Park Band and C-rock City, along with snacks and refreshments.

“We’ve done fundraisers before like at the Pizza Ranch,” Grundmeier said. “But, we’ve never done a full-fledged even before. The Holiday Inn donated the ballroom to us, and we decided we’re going to make this as big as we can. We don’t want people to worry about the cost of getting to come.”

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Another twist to the night will be a live auction, where individuals offering their skills through various industries such as cooking, house cleaning and electrical work, will be auctioned off. Even Grundmeier’s husband, Todd, will be auctioned to assist with any plumbing projects.

“Well, for his sake, I just keep telling him that he’d better bring in some good money,” Grundmeier laughed. “All of the participants were just phenomenal and happy to be a part of it. Many of the people being auctioned off have played a strong part in PIF projects, and there’s some new ones who are participating.”

Due to the number of donations that were being made for the silent auction, there was a sense that there has been greater exposure for what PIF does for the communities around the area.

“The community and the businesses and everyone who donated have been phenomenal, I’m still running around and picking up items and still getting messages about whether they can still make donations,” Grundmeier said. “It’s amazing to think of those who know of us, and believe enough in us in what we do to make a donation. It’s important for us.”

Grundmeier reflected on how much the movement for showing others generosity and kindness has grown, both in size and in value of projects, over the years since PIF started.

From its start in 2014, the first project value was $24,175. Fast forward to 2019, and the PIF project then was $62,400. From the six PIF projects that have been done by T’NG Plumbing, the estimated retail values amounted to a total of $248,752, according to numbers provided by Grundmeier.

Aside from the annual PIF projects, donations to various individuals and organizations have been made through the years, ranging from medical expenses to supporting fundraisers to even just general things, such as helping someone afford daycare, or donating to causes, such as building deer stands for disabled veterans by the American Legion Riders Post 91.

The total amount of giving through PIF for the non-PIF Project donations was $24,875, with the largest portion of donations ($13,147) being made to people to help offset their medical expenses.

“Our financials will show that since we started, the larger remodels have come so close to a quarter of a million,” Grundmeier said. “I believe for the size of our organization and the way we are currently funded, that’s huge. When I was adding the numbers together, I’m pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished. To know you’ve made a difference for them, it’s just amazing.”

Speaking to the increasing retail value of each of the PIF projects year after year, Grundmeier believes the most significant factor that plays into that increase is the number of businesses that are now partnered with PIF, which is now about 42 businesses.

“I think more of the amount of work we do, in the first year we did this it was a bathroom renovation and we replaced the water heater and softener,” she said. “In the general scope of everything, we’ve added two more nights in the hotel room to make it easier on the family, more meals provided to the family, and we now have a landscaping company who landscapes outside of their home. So much more was added than when it started in 2014 to how many are with us in 2019-2020.”

While many have been helped over the years, Grundmeier still feels the strain of financial limitations; she had to turn some folks away who needed the help. She wants to be able to have further outreach and assist more people through increased donations.

An example was helping a young mother with covering the cost of daycare for her child. Grundmeier recounted the number of tragic events that played out in that woman’s life, and footed the bill for the daycare with $491, and then took $150 to a nearby Arby’s restaurant and let the manager pay for a number of meals for others with the money.

“We want to keep doing the same thing we’re doing, but more,” she said. “There are people who requested help for something like carpentry and a lot of them were either terminally ill, or someone was going through cancer treatments, and I just don’t have the funds for it.”

Grundmeier hopes that people looking to make a difference will encourage individuals to donate funds to help others in the community who need it.

“If there’s a request, we want to be able to take care of it,” she said. “The ease of taking care of more people, and then undergoing the heartbreak of when I don’t do it, I just want to be able to eliminate it from my vocabulary from PIF in the future. I want to be able to do it, and not worry about not having the money in the budget.”

If you want to go

  • What: “At Your Service” Charity Benefit for Pay-It-Forward
  • Where: Holiday Inn Austin Conference Center, 1701 4th St. NW
  • When: 6-10 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Admission: Free

PIF Project Value Est. Retail Amounts

2014: $24,175

2015: $32,150

2016: $35,117

2017: $40,160

2018: $54,750

2019: $62,400

Total: $248,752

Non PIF Project Donations

  • Medical: $13,147
  • General: $7,611
  • Dining: $900
  • Diseases/Fundraisers: $3,217
  • Total: $24,875