Laura pours her heart out in this refreshing and honest conversation. The week before Mother's Day Laura and I sit down at The Red Barn to talk about giving until it hurts, filling the soul first, and how she leads from her heart. Laura talks about growing up poor, her lowest of lows, and how she came back from depression to be the happiest she has ever been. To make the world a better place, she encourages everyone to join the Random acts of kindness crusade. And she answers 10 questions.
Laura Benedict has utilized her business in Augusta, the Red Barn, to help raise over $700,000.00 for local organizations and individuals in the community during the past four years. She has been so successful in raising money that other non-profits often ask for her advice. More recently, she received a letter from the Attorney General’s Office to “stop operating as a charitable organization” because she had raised over $35,000.00 in a calendar year, prompting the application of a license to continue raising money for charity with the current Maine law.
The letter and incident received press coverage through out the entire state of Maine, and was even picked up by the Associated Press and the Non-Profit Quarterly. Legislators from all over Maine offered to help by submitting an amendment to the Charitable Giving Act, which required for-profit entities to have a license if certain thresh holds were reached. There should not be a limit to what a for-profit business can do to give back to their local communities in Maine. So, an amendment was submitted by Representative Lori Fowle and passed unanimously in the House and Senate, Governor LePage signed the amendment into law shortly after.
Laura is one of ten siblings and knows what it is like to struggle; she has turned her experiences growing up into her passion for giving. She knows without the compassion she received from other individuals growing up, she would not be where she is today.
Laura Benedict not only gives financially, but she has also built a community of giving through her business. This is perhaps her most significant accomplishment because she has inspired so many others to give back to their own communities.