Denton Christian Preschool (DCP), located in Denton, TX, provides early education for at-risk children in the community. Denton Christian Preschool was founded in 1970 by a group of concerned citizens, representing 17 different churches in Denton who believed the first few years of a child’s life are the most important. Since then, a group of dedicated professionals and volunteers have taught, fed, loved, and nurtured three and four year olds who are considered to be at-risk for succeeding in public school without early intervention. DCP does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, political belief, disability, color, religion, age, or sex and does not teach a specific theology, but cares for children with love and concern. Five main components make up DCP’s early childhood education program: developmentally appropriate learning activities in a classroom setting, transportation to and from school, daily nutritious meals and snacks, medical, dental, speech, and other diagnostic screenings and referrals and monthly parenting events. The Marketing and Fundraising VISTA will build capacity by developing a marketing plan to increase community awareness thus increasing student enrollment, volunteers and donors. As a Marketing and Fundraising VISTA you will be part of a cohort coordinated by the AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project at Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. To learn more about Denton Christian Preschool, visit www.dentoncps.org.
The Marketing and Fundraising VISTA will increase community awareness and enhance fundraising activities to help provide early education for at-risk children in Denton, TX. Major functions will include developing a marketing plan to increase Denton Christian Preschool’s presence in the community to include the development of print materials, social media content and participation in community event. The VISTA will enhance fundraising activities and write 10 grants to raise an additional $100,000 for the education and care of at-risk children. Applicants should possess exemplary written and oral communication skills as well as experience in fundraising, marketing, and computers.
Our Daily Bread (ODB), a community soup kitchen located in Denton, Texas, provides an average of 300 meals per day along with health and human services to the hungry, homeless and economically disadvantaged. Serving those in need for over 17 years, ODB, strives to improve the health, well-being and economic self-sufficiency of its clients. The 2017 Denton County Homeless Coalition Point-in-Time Count identified the top three needs for those experiencing homelessness as transportation, clothing/food, and food stamps. Our Daily Bread meets these three areas by providing gas vouchers and public transportation passes to those who have interviews or medical appointments, by serving seven meals per week on site, no questions asked, as well as providing weekly meals to three other local agencies, and by hosting a Tarrant Area Food Bank Social Services Specialist to answer questions and complete applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In 2017, ODB distributed nearly 204,000 hygiene items; 436 shower passes; 1200 laundry vouchers; 21,422 referrals to social agencies; 232 gas vouchers; 80 prescription vouchers; 4,085 Farmer’s Market items; 993 bus vouchers. All in addition to over 86,000 meals served. The Marketing and Fund Development VISTA will build capacity by researching and writing a minimum of 4 grant proposals with a potential outcome of $60,000 and enhance current fundraising and marketing efforts through the creation of a plan that will result in improved community outreach, awareness and support. As a Marketing and Fund Development VISTA you will be part of a cohort coordinated by the AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project at Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. To learn more about Our Daily Bread, visit www.ourdailybreaddenton.org.
The Marketing and Fund Development VISTA at Our Daily Bread will increase community awareness and enhance fundraising to provide more clients with nutritious meals and basic needs services. The VISTA will increase fundraising efforts through the research, writing and submission of a minimum of 4 grant proposals that persuasively communicate ODB’s mission and programs to potential funders and garner a potential outcome of $60,000. The VISTA will enhance fundraising efforts by developing a plan to increase donors and participation in fundraising events, will create and update collateral marketing materials and improve current social media communications to include the development of new social media avenues to communicate with targeted audiences. Applicants should possess good communication skills, be proficient with social media marketing and have basic computer skills.
Miranda Bonilla is a Resource Development VISTA with Youth and Family Counseling in Lewisville, TX. Youth and Family Counseling provides sliding scale and free services to low-income at-risk youth. She has been busy marketing for the agency’s many upcoming scheduled fundraisers by creating and distributing flyers. She has written and submitted a grant to the Build a Bear Foundation that, if funded, will provide weekly on-site group and individual counseling sessions to homeless and at-risk teens as identified by Journey to Dream and Kyle’s Place, the county’s first teen homeless shelter. Miranda also found success in the request for funding proposal she submitted in February to the Speedway Children’s Charities. For the first time in recent history, Youth and Family Counseling has been invited to officially apply to this grant. If granted, the funding will benefit the agency’s First Offender and At Risk Kids (FOARK) Program. In a true act of altruism, Miranda held a Facebook birthday fundraiser in honor of her birthday and raised $200 for Youth and Family Counseling.
AmeriCorps VISTA Stephanie Adams’ work at Christian Community Action (CCA) in Lewisville, TX has included submitting grants to the Hillcrest, Harry W. Bass, Celanese, and Kohl foundation as well as the Bank of the Ozarks. If granted funding from each of these foundations Stephanie’s work could provide Christian Community Action’s comprehensive programs and services with $32,500 to continue providing relief to its clients in crisis. CCA’s programs include food and financial assistance, life skills and job readiness training, as well as spiritual care and counseling to approximately 4,000 community members in need. The grants written to the Hillcrest and Harry W. Bass foundation could potentially provide funding for CCA’s Food Assistance program and help CCA purchase fresh fruits and vegetables as well as household and hygiene products.
Cornerstone Ranch, located in McKinney, TX, is a unique home and day program for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. In late November, Cornerstone Ranch began working with a development consultant to design and implement a strategic fundraising plan for the end of 2017 and 2018. The first step was to craft a year-end direct mail appeal targeting various segments of donors and prospects to consider an end-of-year gift. For the past two years, Cornerstone Ranch has maintained approximately 2000 names and address in their database, but not donation information. Donations have been stored in QuickBooks and various event-related spreadsheets. For this reason, it was a very difficult and time-consuming process to segment donors into major donors, mid-level donors, event donors, general donors, and lapsed donors, as was needed for the appeal. VISTA member Martha Tonn took the information that was compiled from various sources and sorted out the donors into the appropriate categories, taking the time to check and re-check for errors and duplications. While one large group of constituents was sent to a mailing house for processing, the smaller groups, totaling approximately 500 letters in six different segments were printed and processed in-house to save on costs. The appeal was successfully mailed in early December and resulted in donations of $37,275. These funds support the Day Program activities and operating costs for Cornerstone Ranch where the residents and day program participants learn new skills, and reach their highest level of independence, as active participants in grocery shopping, home care, meal preparation and personal grooming. They can also be found volunteering at local nonprofits and making contributions to their communities.
Marketing and Fundraising VISTA Maegan Shafer is serving with Denton Christian Preschool, a non-profit day care serving at-risk 3-and 4-year olds in Denton, TX. In September, Maegan successfully coordinated with University of North Texas service groups to promote and participate in Denton Christian Preschool’s Tamale Fundraiser being held in October. Maegan helped Denton Christian Preschool raise $10,000 through North Texas Giving Day, an annual on-line fundraising event. These funds will be used to continue programing for the children in their care. In addition she organized a campaign to raise funds for the new Stop Poverty Educate At-risk Kids (or SPEAK) initiative that focuses on providing the best opportunity for at risk children in the Denton community regardless of their situation by writing a $25,000 grant to Wells Fargo. Maegan also wrote a grant to the Denton Benefit League to purchase new computers and projectors.
AmeriCorps VISTA member, April Comperda, worked alongside Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) Marketing and Development team to prepare for Taste for a Cause, DCFOF’s largest fundraising event of the year. April assisted with garnering in-kind donations for the silent auction. These donations had a total value of $14,000 and contributed to DCFOF raising over $75,000. In addition, April helped her agency raise $11,000 through North Texas Giving Day, an annual online fundraising event. April spread the word about the event through social media and attended a tabling event held on the Square in Denton. These funds will allow DCFOF to serve more clients by providing lifesaving services and programs to victims of sexual and domestic violence across Denton County. It’s the dollars that make the difference as $1,500 provides one week of emergency shelter for a mother and her two children and $1,000 provides one month of groceries for the entire shelter. Since January, DCFOF has been able to serve 1,302 new clients and because of events like Taste for a Cause and North Texas Giving Day, DCFOF is able to increase their capacity to help more and more.
Last month Hurricane Harvey caused financial challenges for Epilepsy Foundation Texas. The Foundation made sure every affected patient needing their medication received it at any cost to them. VISTA Rashika Smith made it her personal goal to double the in-kind donations from last year in order for the silent auction at the “Race on Over” fundraising event in November to be successful. The word “no” became a common word she heard but that one yes kept her motivated to reach for another yes. Thus far, Rashika has garnered 78 items for the silent auction for a total value of $41, 364. She was also able to network with different business to set up a fundraiser day, such as Kendra Scott Jewelry. Kendra Scott has agreed to not only donate jewelry for the auction but also set up a giving day (Oct. 20) where 20% of the money is donated back to the Foundation. Monies raised will help Epilepsy Foundation Texas provide medical services to patients with epilepsy, education to patients, families and the community and will help send children to summer camp.
In September 2017, AmeriCorps VISTA Business Development Officer Melanie Cheney helped bolster her organization’s total fundraised amount from North Texas Giving Day on September 14th. Through careful strategizing and posing a fundraising challenge to the Board of Directors, Cheney successfully helped raise nearly $9,000 more in 2017 than her organization raised in 2016 (increasing the total amount fundraised from $28,000 to $37,000). The money she helped raise will go toward tuition scholarships for children from low-income backgrounds, in fulfillment of North Texas Performing Arts’ vision of making arts education accessible to all North Texas families. In addition, Melanie strengthened the agency’s existing database of potential local donors for our silent auction fundraisers by adding over 20 new donor businesses to the spreadsheet and garnered in-kind donations worth $3,200.
Hurricane Harvey shifted the dynamic in fundraising efforts for Epilepsy Foundation’s Community Outreach VISTA, Rashika Smith. The Dallas office took over the calls for the Houston clinic August 25, 2017. The Epilepsy Foundation wanted ensure the crisis would not have a big impact on patients receiving much needed medication. The calls Rashika received helped her understand how important funding is to keep the clinic open. Epilepsy Foundation staff worked with the doctors and pharmacies to make sure patients received their medication wherever they were. Rashika took on a personal challenge to increase the in-kind donation for our upcoming fundraiser in November, Race for the Cure. In August, Rashika sent out over 343 inquiries for donations and has received over 43 items so far with a value of $10,000. She has also helped secure sponsorships worth $38,000. The secured donations increase the likelihood the fundraiser will bring in more money than before.