Gina loves a good birthday party. For her 30th, she invited 30 friends to a 30-item scavenger hunt. Teams were divided by lining up shortest to tallest, and the hunt ended at a local bar.
For her 33rd birthday, she threw a Scottie Pippen themed party. "I got all my old posters and hung them throughout the house."
"I wore his jersey and had various other Scottie Pippen themed celebratory items. We made coasters as take home gifts featuring the faces of many of the guests and we did a basketball skills obstacle course. The night ended with a friend fire dancing in the street! It was pretty epic."
But when it came time to start planning her 40th birthday, things changed. "I kept trying to think of something to do but it felt like a chore. I told my husband I just didn’t want to plan anything and if that meant I didn’t do anything, so be it."
So, instead of throwing a party, she decided to try something new: she would use her birthday to raise money for Adelante Mujeres' Capital Campaign.
Gina manages our ESPERE program here at Adelante Mujeres. ESPERE, the School of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, is a workshop that helps people develop proactive strategies to address and overcome conflict and learn the power of forgiveness. "I believe in the work that we do and I believe we do it well – I believe in the organization, not just the work."
Our Capital Campaign is raising money to renovate our new building to include Early Childhood and Adult Education classrooms, a commercial kitchen, and more. With $2M raised out of a $3M goal, construction is scheduled to begin this June.
"Adelante is home for so many people, including me," says Gina. "I’ve seen what Adelante means to immigrant families, to the community and to my co-workers. Adelante has my heart, and while so many other things are important, I choose to focus on my heart."
"I’ve seen how comforted Latino immigrants are when they arrive at Adelante - knowing they are safe, they can trust us and we will show up for them. Our new building will only serve to welcome the masses and show them the love! I also recognize the importance of this place for my program, ESPERE. People arrive and need safety to process all the harm they have experienced and conducting a workshop here is so comforting to most people. It allows them to feel safe, and when they feel safe, they can better work through their trauma. That is why a home for Adelante is so important to me."
So Gina set a fundraising goal of $4,000 on our online fundraising platform, Classy. She emailed the link to friends and family and spread the word on Facebook and Instagram.
"I think people were excited about giving a gift they knew I wanted. I’ve found when you tell people what you want, usually they want to help out!"
A few weeks later while sitting in a training on trauma-informed practices, Gina got a 'ping' on her phone. She looked at the notification which said she had reached her fundraising goal. Gina had raised $4,195 from 47 donors.
"I was so excited but I was in training so I couldn’t whoop and holler. I waited for a break and I texted some folks to share the news, but mostly I felt so honored and loved that people had donated to Adelante for me. There were some folks who donated who I only keep in touch with via Facebook and friends’ moms who donated – totally unexpected and yet totally amazing and endearing."
Because of Gina's generous donation of her birthday, we are one step closer to reaching our Capital Campaign goal, and one step closer to providing a safe, welcoming place for Latinos and immigrants in our community.
And, the tradition of epic birthdays didn't end. Gina was surprised by her husband with a birthday helicopter ride through the Columbia River Gorge, followed by a party with all of their friends.
"The day was gorgeous and fun and I got my party after all and I didn’t have to plan it!"
"It feels good to give back to an organization that means so much to me! I am really grateful for the generosity of my friends and family! And the ease of the Internet to communicate, keep in touch and share the good work that Adelante is doing!"