Welcome to Our Nonprofit Site . . .

We are glad you found your way to our site. All images on this site are copyrighted, and if you want to use any of them, you need written permission from us. Enjoy our site! - Anne Copeland, Director

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So Where's the Nonprofit Stuff?

You might well ask that as I tend to post here the doings of everyday life, but trust that we do have a nonprofit here. We just run it very informally. My belief is that one of the most important things we do to help physically challenged fiber artists is to provide a sense of normalcy in our everyday lives. People who are physically challenged are often very isolated from the rest of society, and as such, they don't get to be part of the everyday things that go on in life. We are always trying to assist them with professional development and ways to get exposure for their art behind the scenes. There is an ongoing effort nearly daily to make sure that everyone involved is making good progress, in good spirits, and that physical health is relatively good taking into account the nature of the physical challenge of each person. Often there are other issues to be responded to that don't necessarily involve art - how to get needed medications and other medical goods that are being cut back and sometimes general boosting of spirits when someone is not doing so well with health issues outside the ones they normally have, or just plain spirit uplifting. The quilt above left is my own work.

I have always felt that a good small nonprofit like ours, operating on a nonexistent budget, with a minimum of volunteers, needs above all to remain flexible to meet the needs of the people it is intended to serve, and so this is what we do.  We have made a lot of small changes over the years; going from having as many as ten venues a year to last year having just a couple of challenges, and one of these was a scarf challenge, something really different for us. One of the ladies who has participated in our events is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and she wanted to have a challenge that she could help with so that she would have something to think about besides the illness. So she and I came up with the idea of the scarf challenge.  This would be scarves that people could make from new pieces, or they could upcycle existing scarves.  Another new idea was that we would also encourage children to participate. Wendy Ferguson, the curator for the exhibit/sale, got us a single venue at Wilsonville Community College in Wilsonville, N.C. The above scene is the buffet at the opening reception, and the scarf hanging above the buffet table is by Barbara Williamson.

The theme was "Enduring Earth," and the pieces were to be positive in nature. We decided to use the money to benefit The Nature Conservancy. The people participating only had to send their pieces one way, and also it was very inexpensive to send them since they could be folded small and sent in large envelopes.  We had children participate, and here are some of the teens in Wilsonville who made scarves for the event. Some of them are wearing the scarves they made. We managed to raise $290 from the sale of the scarves, and only had a few left.

We were happy with the results. It wasn't about how much money we could raise, but rather that we were able to raise awareness about this good organization. We liked the idea of making opportunities for children as well as adults to participate and learn about community events. And at least one of the people who has been participating with us for quite some time was helped through a challenging health situation.

We have talked about creating another challenge this year, but if we do, it again will be a small one. I will contact the people who participate in our events and look into what people want to do.  I like the idea of the people sending their pieces to be sold in a charity event. It helps us so that we don't have to worry about getting them sent back, and all of us also like the idea of helping another charity even though it is true that ours could likely do something with funds we had. We really don't need the funds since we are all volunteers, and everyone feels good about selecting another charity to assist each year. The way we have worked things out, we are very efficient And it provides the participants who are adults the opportunity to become mentors to any teenagers or children who might want to participate. That is always good.

I hope that this helps others understand how we work and why you will often see posts that don't seem to relate to what the organization is doing on a day to day basis. Sometimes we go months like when a challenge starts, and there is very little to report daily or weekly until perhaps when the pieces start coming in so it would be boring to read the day to day happenings. Our nonprofit is very personable to the folks we serve and hopefully to others who might be able to provide some assistance such as a venue for hanging the work.

 Rest assured that when we decide on another challenge and what organization or cause it will benefit, we will let everyone know.  There may only be one challenge this year and it might not start for some more months now.  I too am dealing with some major health challenges, so I need to get a few things out of the way before we start another one.  We will have to make a number of decisions about it - theme, type, sizes, and whether we will just have one venue and if so, where it will be and if one of the other participants wants to serve as the curator.  I suspect we will open it up to children too.  It is good for children to learn to work for charitable organizations.