Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Season Giving

Thanksgiving is over which means:

1. "Frosty the Snowman" came on the radio 2 times during my 20-minute grocery shopping trip.

2. My mom will urge my dad to put up holiday lights every day from now until December 24th when he decides to get out the ladder.
3. I am craving Christmas cookies 24/7.

Until this year, these have been some of the main things I have associated with the post-Thanksgiving weeks leading up to the holidays.

After having joined the nonprofit world, however, I realize that the weeks from now through the end of the year are some of the most critical days for nonprofit organizations to raise funds.

In these weeks comprising the "holiday giving season" more people donate to nonprofits than during any other time of year, so organizations like
Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection rely heavily on people's generosity to get through the end of each year.

When depending on donations, it almost goes without saying that the economy is hurting nonprofits extremely hard. In my weekly PIP seminar, many fellows express how the recession is impacting their organizations. Several of our speakers have suggested that the "nonprofit world" is about 2 years behind the "business world" within the recession, meaning we are getting hit hard now and face more tough times ahead.

For Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, a lot is riding on the next few weeks of donations and grants. While the programs are solid (Tutor/Mentor Connection just had a
successful conference, and Cabrini Connections continues to bring in a packed room of students and mentors each night of tutoring), we are financially at a point where our future and the organization's survival into 2011 and beyond is uncertain.

We face an uphill battle, but if you look at the impact the organization has made in its 17 years, it is filling a critical role in the city of Chicago and in the
Cabrini community.

As it says on the
homepage of the Cabrini Connections website: "Thanks to the many people who have responded, Cabrini Connections has connected more than 500 inner city teens with 800 workplace volunteers. At the same time, CC has built a library of information and a collaboration strategy that is helping more than 200 other youth serving organizations in Chicago, and countless others around the country."

While the situation is certainly grim, there are reasons to be optimistic. Today we are stuffing envelops of "
Holiday Fund Raising Appeal Letters" to send out to hundreds of our supporters. We have also had a number of our students write appeals discussing what the organization has meant to them. They are definitely worth reading to get a personal glimpse at what the organization means to individual students. You can read Melissa Young's letter below and read all of the letters on our fundraising blog.

Please consider what you might do during the holiday season to help push us through this tough time and give us momentum to start next year.

You can
donate now, pass this holiday letter and response form on to your rich uncle (or anyone else), and register for eScrip so that your holiday purchases support Cabrini Connections (go to this website, and enter group ID 500025364).

Thanks for your support and happy holidays!


Letter from 11th grade Cabrini Connections student, Melissa Young:

Dear Reader,

My name is Melissa Young. I am a junior at Josephinum Academy. I started attending Cabrini Connections when I was in 7th grade. For the past four years at Cabrini Connections, it has been the best I ever had in my life. There are so many opportunities here. There is also so many people that help us achieve the dreams we have. They also teach us about the real world, such as an example, we have to be here on time, or if we are running late, or not feeling too good, they make sure we call in, and tell them our situation. There is an example of what would happen with a real job.

Cabrini Connections has so many things for us (students) to do, like clubs. We have video club, which I am in. There is also art club, tech club, and writing club. Fun stuff for all of us to do. Like I said before, I am in video club. I really enjoy it. They taught me how to use a camera, the many different shots, how to do a story board, and how to edit. I even got the chance to do some of the videos by myself.

They also take us on field trips like basketball games and college tours. Through this program I figured out what two colleges I am thinking about going to, which is Columbia College or DePaul University. As for the basketball game, I enjoy seeing girls play, instead of the boys. During or around Halloween I plan my own fundraiser. We called it the Halloween Bake Sale. Through this I learned how to fundraise events and know how to organize.

Last summer I was the lucky student to go on one of their events called the Golf Benefit. I was able to meet the chairmen of Cabrini Connections. I was also able to video tape everything and watch people play golf for the first time. You can meet so many people through this program. When I first came it was just me and my niece. Four years past, and I know mostly everyone, and they all know me.

Every Wednesday and Thursday we have tutoring night, which now I meet with my tutor Elena. She has been so great to me. She helps with homework problems or if I am ever in need of something. I am really glad that we met.

Now that I told you my story at Cabrini Connections, I really hope that in the kindness of our heart you will donate us some money so that all these wonderful things could stay open for children and teens like me. If you could I would really appreciate it. Thank you for reading my letter.


Melissa Young

P.S. Have a good day =)

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