We all have causes we're passionate about, whether it's saving the environment, feeding the hungry, supporting the arts, or providing shelter to women and children.

Usually supporting such causes means donating money to nonprofit organizations working to solve these issues.

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Nonprofit organizations certainly need those donations to accomplish their missions, but because so many organizations are underfunded or understaffed, they also need assistance with tasks like building websites or designing brochures.

What if people could donate their skills and talents instead of dollars to causes they care about while also supporting artists in the process?

That's the "win, win, win" concept Strengths Advantage founder and CEO Jennifer Schillinger explores at Creating Good, a community event on Sept. 28 where people bid on original artwork by investing volunteer time instead of money to area nonprofit organizations.

Rather than doing standard volunteer work like helping with mailings or being on a board, attendees bid their personal skills for term-based projects created by participating nonprofits according to their needs.

"I think there are other ways that we can activate the talent pool in our community that can make a difference for local nonprofits," Schillinger says. "I want (Creating Good) to be a catalyst that encourages organizations to think strategically."

Creating Good features 14 area nonprofits, such as American Red Cross, F-M Opera, Great Plains Food Bank, Immigrant Development Center and Red River Zoo, for attendees to meet and determine where they'd like to pledge volunteer time.

Participants then bid competency-based volunteer hours on 10 pieces of local art in a silent auction. Winners choose a nonprofit to work with and receive the artwork once their hours are complete.

Creating Good is the first event of its kind in Fargo. It's loosely modeled after TimeRaiser, a Canadian project in 10 major cities across the country that focuses on national and regional artists.

Schillinger attended a TimeRaiser event in Winnipeg and knew she had to bring it to Fargo, although she modified her event to feature artists and nonprofit organizations in Fargo-Moorhead.

All art up for auction was purchased at fair market value, which Schillinger says is a core tenet of the event.

"One of the things I loved about the concept is that artists are paid and recognized for their work," Schillinger says. "Good art doesn't just happen."

Artists will accompany their artwork at the event to meet community members and share the process behind each piece.

Ashley Kunz, a Moorhead-based artist, will have an abstract painting titled "Heart of the Storm" up for auction. The painting is a representation of her current creative process that involves applying thin layers of paint to create veils of color, texture and depth.

"It has my 'signature' shade of turquoise in it," Kunz says. "'Heart of the Storm' is one of the first of its kind so I'm happy to see it going for a good cause."

Kunz and Schillinger both agreed this event is a step toward greater collaboration between the arts, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the community.

Businesses sponsoring the event include Appareo, Bush Foundation, F-M Economic Development Corporation, Moore Engineering, Office Sign Company, Sanford Health and Strengths Advantage.

"Businesses have a social responsibility to give back and invest in communities, and part of the way they do that is working intentionally with nonprofits that are bearing the brunt of issues you cannot monetize," Schillinger says.

Kunz says the intersection of the arts, businesses and nonprofits "encourages creative collaboration."

"Businesses can connect artists to potential collectors or art opportunities, artists can assist nonprofits by donating art and time, and nonprofits can help all of them because they accomplish a lot with limited resources," she says.

Schillinger hopes the event continues to grow in the community and will eventually include more local artists and nonprofit organizations.

"It's not just about the 10 winners," Schillinger says. "It's about people coming together to lift up our community and make it stronger together."

"Heart of the Storm" by Ashley Kunz
"Heart of the Storm" by Ashley Kunz

If You Go

What: Creating Good hosted by Strengths Advantage

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28

Where: APT, a Creative Incubator, 225 4th Ave. N., Fargo

Tickets: $25 on Eventbrite

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit theartspartnership.net.