Friday, January 31, 2014

Sincerely, A Happy Do-er

"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt 

those who are doing it"

~ George Bernard Shaw

With the marvelous news that we have been accepted into the Open Challenge, the scheming part of my brain has taken off like a racehorse. The good kind of scheming. The happy, dream-big-or-go-home scheming, because I finally get to do more of what I have always loved most about being part of this foundation (second only to being a living jungle gym for 300 kids): FUNDRAISE.

Which, although primary revolving around raising money of course, really has more to do with helping people fall in love with what we're doing, and the people we're doing it for/with. Perhaps I am too sentimental, but I personally believe that generosity has more to do with the heart than the actual wallet. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I think my strengths lie more in this type of work than the technical, legal, paperwork-y stuff I've been doing pretty much exclusively for the last six months.

So, this week finds me busily preparing for a fundraising benefit on March 9th! It's an ambitious project and I don't want to speak too soon, but so far I am quite hopeful! The businesses I've approached so far have been so generous and willing to help us out. If I can pull this off, it will be a fun, memorable event to kick start Students of Success Foundation's fundraising efforts!

As an aside, I/the foundation now have a Twitter account! I must admit it's not my social media of choice, but it seemed like a logical choice to get some more publicity. So if you're a fellow tweeter, follow us @GhanaWithLove !

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Well-Earned Victory Lap

In contrast to my last post, today finds me full of hope.

Although Global Giving's next Open Challenge does not begin until March, the application deadline passed yesterday -- And I am beyond pleased to say that, this time, Students of Success Foundation managed to throw its hat in the ring on time. Which is not to say we are guaranteed a spot in the Open Challenge, but at least we have the chance.

As always, each step forward comes with a mixture of celebrations and frustrations. The richness our foundation has from its multinational representation is often tempered with the challenges inherent to working across multiple cultures (Not to mention time zones...). We are all still learning to work together as a team, as well as learning what running a foundation entails - yours truly more than anyone. It took late-night effort from many people, but at the end of the day I clicked "submit" with everything I needed in place. And that is a victory that should not be understated.

Therefore, in light of that victory, I want to take this chance to honor the many, many people who made it possible. Whether our application is accepted or not, we are growing and moving forward, and that is worthy of celebrating.

So, thank you to Daniel, Worfa, Samuel, David and Thomas, who took on the project of creating a budget and in doing so put one of the most important puzzle pieces in place. Thank you to Dennis Benson-Sayram for writing us a glowing, professional letter of recommendation. Thank you to Karina for sacrificing sleep to design improved promotional materials and always being willing to help in any way possible despite her demanding schedule. Thank you to Sebastian for volunteering at SISCO and taking so many wonderful, heart-warming pictures for our website; it is exciting to be able to say that we have had our first volunteer! Thank you to Janet for advocating for our new organization where it matters most, and taking our efforts so seriously. Thank you to my roommates - Hillary, Kat and Alanna - for being my moral support, having so much patience with my turbulent emotions about this process, and in general keeping me sane.

It is impossible to express how much the efforts and dedication of each and every one of these people have made a difference. I am, as always, grateful for the countless people who have supported our work every step of the way. So whether your role in the foundation takes the form of Board Member, donor, blog reader, or something else - pat yourself on the back today.

Since drafting this post, I would like to announce that I have received the news that we were accepted into the Open Challenge! It has been a week of celebrating for everyone involved with Students of Success!