By Emily Mendelson
The Epsilon Zeta chapter of Delta Zeta, from Drexel University, holds an annual tug of war event, and this year we wanted to expand our forms of fund raising. We started by researching different websites that we could create to give each sister a central place to send donations to. In our search we found Fundly, which turned out, to be the greatest gift we could have discovered. We sent out an email, and they went out of their way to speak with us on the phone for hours, helping us make our goals possible. They didn’t only provide us with the beautiful personalized website, but they provided advice, and ideas. Prior to our relationship our event was just a tug of war event that we self advertised around our campus, we had to convince people to make teams, leaving us with around 10 teams for our event.
This year with the help of the Fundly staff we were provided with the idea to have team captains, the captain is a girl from our chapter who communicates with the chapter she was assigned through emails and meetings to ensure that her organization will have a team or at least some presence at our event, which in some cases was a donation, but we appreciated any presence they were comfortable providing us with. Even though this year we had a little less time and some set backs on our campus, because of our captains we were able to double the teams that came out to tug, and we ended up with 20 teams this year!
Every year we rely solely on the donations raised at our event, leaving us with around $2000, which we are proud of, but this year with Fundly’s help we raised over $7600! All of our proceeds go to The Painted Turtle Camp, a camp in California for kids with chronic illnesses, it is a fantastic cause that we our honored to raise money for, and this year we were able to send 5 kids to the camp! We could not be any prouder with our successes of this years event, and we cannot wait till next year to see how much more we can raise for our incredible cause! Thank you for everyone who helped us accomplish our goals, and good luck to you on your goals, if you work hard enough, like us, you can reach them!
By Natalie Diaz
Back on December 14th, 2012, the nation was rocked when shots broke out at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This event was the second-deadliest mass shooting event by a single person in American history. Twenty children and six adults were murdered on that sunny winter day. One of the victims, Noah Pozner, the youngest of the children killed, was shot eleven times. He stands out in our mind, not only because of those two facts, but because he was a twin.
The reason why this struck a chord with us is because Twiniversity is a global support network for parents of multiples. When we heard about this terror, we all put ourselves in Noah’s parents shoes and our hearts grieved a little more.
Thousands of Twiniversity families around the globe felt lost; they wanted to help, but didn’t know how. After finding out that Noah’s parents had recently moved from New York City to Connecticut, Natalie, Founder of Twiniversity and Author of “What To Do When You’re Having Two” started a Fundly campaign and rallied her community. Previous to this, she had only recently heard of Fundly, but after further research decided that it was the best fit for her fundraising efforts.
Natalie quickly sprang into action and launched a campaign to raise $500 so that a sapling can be placed in Noah’s home town park, Central Park, in the middle of Manhattan. From the time she launched the campaign to the time she raised the full amount, only eleven minutes had passed.
After discussing it with the Twiniversity team and family, Natalie agreed there was more that could be done. Families wanted to contribute anything they could. Natalie though bigger and wanted to dedicate a tree along with a plaque created for Noah in the park, but that would mean raising $5,000 in total. She was unsure that she would raise the money, but to her shock, it took less then twelve hours before she reached her goal once again.
The evening the fundraising started, Twiniversity got a call from a blogger (Pistolsandpopcorn.com) and twin mom friend, Jodi Call, who had spoken with her own family and found that they wanted to help as well. Jodi’s brother, Jay, wanted to match the Twiniversity community’s donation for the tree so that TWO trees could grow side by side in Central Park in honor of Noah AND his twin sister, Arielle. Since the twins can’t grow together on earth, these trees will grow old side by side for many years to come in remembrance of Noah and honoring his twin sister and family.
Not only did Twiniversity reach their fundraising goal with the help of Fundly, but they raised over $3000 in addition that was donated to Noah’s Ark of Hope, a trust fund set aside for Noah’s surviving siblings, two of whom were also in the school that day, in different classrooms.
The trees chosen in memorial and dedication in Central Park are located in the Cedar Hill area. This spot was specifically chosen since its the location of the annual Manhattan Twins Club Picnic. These Norway Spruces (the same type of tree that is often found as the Rockefeller Christmas Tree) will shade thousands of sets of twins in the years to come. The trees, planted in 1975, are well-established and deeply rooted, and there are many spots where their branches are even intertwined. These evergreens will be with us year-round for us to enjoy as well.
The trees stand for the unity and love of twins. Without the outpouring support of Twiniversity families around the globe and the ease of fundraising through Fundly, this would have never happened. The entire experience has humbled Natalie Diaz and reminded her that ONE PERSON can make a difference. If there is anyone reading this contemplating doing something “big” but wondering if it’s possible, she wants you to just do it. “Don’t hesitate. If you feel something, others do to. You are doing a great service to people by allowing them to help. Often we think “no one will want help” and then we launch something big and watch everyone get behind us. Don’t hesitate to make a difference. You’ll regret it if you do.”.
Natalie, her twins, and twin families throughout the East Coast gathered on September 8th to dedicate the trees. Take a moment and watch this video to get the full effect of the remarkable power of community and twin love.
By Mike Rognlien
On November 12, 2013, Ryan Ferguson was released from the Jefferson County Correctional Center in Missouri after serving 10 years for a murder that he did not commit. Ryan’s battle with the Missouri justice system began in 2004, when he was arrested for the murder of journalist Kent Heitholt. Publicized by the news media as “The Dream Killer” case, Ryan’s friend Chuck had – with ample help from police and prosecutors – confessed to the murder and implicated Ryan due to ‘dreams’ he started having just over two years after Heitholt’s death. Add in another eyewitness – who, along with Chuck, later admitted to committing perjury in their implication of Ryan – and Ryan’s fate was sealed.
This case captured the attention of people from all over the world, not just because the premise of the conviction was so unimaginable, but because Ryan himself had maintained such poise, maturity and fortitude in light of being unjustly convicted. Over the course of the 8 years following his conviction, Dateline NBC, 48 Hours and several other media outlets covered his story, and in December 2012, a Facebook Page was started to organize – and galvanize – supporters of his freedom. Almost 90,000 strong, Ryan’s Facebook supporters wrote letters, made phone calls and – now, with the help of Fundly – raised money.
Being involved in running the Facebook Page has taught me a lot about the justice system, and the ignorance that I and many other Americans have about how it works and, more importantly, how it doesn’t. Many people believe that the wrongfully convicted are showered with compensation and apologies from those who put them away, but they aren’t. We started this fund for Ryan to give his supporters one final opportunity to help him – to get back on his feet and, similar to the way an insurance policy would, restore some of what he lost by spending almost the entirety of his 20’s behind bars.
For more on Ryan’s case, visit his Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/freedryanferguson
Donate to Ryan”s campaign here: https://fundly.com/ryan-ferguson-fund
By Heather Laurence
October 30, 2013 was one for the record books in Austin, Texas. City waterways turned to dangerous, fast moving flows of debris. Streams and creeks turned to raging rivers, busting banks and flooding hundreds of homes. Even our beloved statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn succumbed to the extreme flooding. People were rescued by helicopter from rooftops, or taken by boat to higher ground. Such was the experience of the Fisher-Maloney Family. The storms swept in after 10p dumping a foot of rain in some areas. At 12:30a, while watching the churning water rise up the street curb, Norma Jeanne said to her partner Dawna that it was time to get ready. It was already too late to leave by car so they packed up the animals, got their two teenage daughters ready, grabbed important documents, and waited. The water crested into their yard, lifted their cars from the ground crashing them into each other, and quickly rushed into their home. The family perched on furniture as the water became waist-deep and watched as their home and possessions were destroyed all around them. Finally at 6a, help arrived by boat. Firefighters helped the family climb out of a window and paddled them and their pets to safety. All made it out and were taken to shelter by friends.
As friends were leaving sweet birthday messages on Norma Jeanne’s Facebook the morning of October 31st, the family was regrouping after the shock of what had just happened. As soon as friends found out, we sprang into action. I created the page on Fundly at 1p and posted it to their Facebook walls. Close family friend, Kate Payne, started a Facebook group to coordinate volunteers and physical donations. The outpouring of support has just been amazing. After only 24 hours live, friends and family had come together and pledged $7000. We began the hard cleanup work the next day, November 1st. But there was another terrible shock, the family’s home insurance will only cover the structure and NONE of their possessions. They lost more than 90%, including their beds, fridge, oven, dishwasher, washer & dryer, all their furniture, computers, tvs, electronics, cookware, linens, clothes, textbooks, so much gone, and not to mention the funds they will need for deductibles, temporary housing, and transportation.
You couldn’t find any more generous, welcoming, beautiful people anywhere. The Fisher-Maloney Family deserves all the help we can muster and we welcome any additional help!
Donate to Heather’s campaign here: https://fundly.com/help-dawna-norma-jeanne-family-recover-from-the-flood
By Matt Zeller
I never thought I’d owe my life to an Afghan man, but here I am. Janis served as my personal interpreter throughout my 2008 deployment as an embedded combat adviser to the Afghan National Security Forces in Ghazni. More importantly, Janis served as my guide to the Afghan people and culture. I consider him a lifelong friend and a combat brother. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here — it’s that simple.
Janis saved my life on more than one occasion — be it through the intelligence he gathered, the warnings he passed, or by shooting and killing the Taliban who were trying to overrun our position during the worst ambush of my life. Janis has not just saved my life, he has saved the lives of countless American soldiers. And come 2014, as American combat troops pull out of Afghanistan, I could not bear to think what might happen to Janis if we left him behind.
I spent many a night learning about the Afghan people through Janis’ stories and experiences. When I asked him what he wanted most in life, he told me he wanted peace for his people and that if that was not possible, he wanted to come to America and give his wife and children the sanctuary they crave. Janis has more than earned that chance.
Every time I look at my newborn daughter, I’m reminded I owe Janis for two lives: her’s as well as my own.
The Jewish faith teaches that “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Janis saved my life in combat and for that he is my brother and I will always be in his debt. I considered him the last member of my unit still serving in Afghanistan, and we don’t leave our brothers behind. Thankfully after 5 years, the last member of my unit has finally come home.
Now Janis and his family need your help. They came here with one suitcase each and nothing more. They are at the mercy of the kindness of strangers as they literally start their new lives from scratch. All funds go directly to him and his family. We cannot adequately thank you for your support and are humbled by your overwhelming generosity. This is exactly what America stands for and I couldn’t be more proud to be your fellow citizen.
Click here to read more about Janis and Matt’s story: U.S. Soldier Fights For Afghan Interpreter Who Saved His Life on NPR
By Hollie Fulsom
The Houston Texans fan community is a very close and supportive group. As fans, we are always doing our best to give back to our community and use our “fan spirit” for as much good as we can. When I got a text from a fellow Texans fan about Houston Texans Cheerleader Texana’s story we knew we had to do something.
On Tuesday night, Texana lost her family home in a tragic fire. Besides all of their possessions and home they also lost their dog leaving them homeless and heartbroken. That did not slow down Texana from doing what was expected of her. She showed up to cheerleading practice on Wednesday night as if it was another day of work. A fellow cheerleader filled in our mutual friend Chuck, Commander Freak of the Battle Red Freaks, about the situation and he immediately contacted me. We both wanted to do something that could have an immediate positive impact on Texana and her family. With the holidays just around the corner this family was going to need help. We started the fundly account hoping to raise a couple hundred dollars within our “FANmily” and started spreading the word. Neither of us imagined by the following morning the news would be retweeting it and calling us for interviews. The best part of it all is that Texana and her family are getting their immediate support and needs met while we can continue to raise money for their needs moving forward. The money we raise will help them replace basic essentials from clothes to toiletries and help cover the cost of temporary housing.
We have really shared this through funding project email and social media exclusively. We use social media for promotion on almost all of our events and fundraising and have both created large followings within our targeted community of Texans fans. Texana’s fellow cheerleaders were so moved by the efforts they have started tweeting it to their followers as well to get the word out. It has pretty much been living on twitter. In 140 words or less you can say a lot and make an impact when it is for a good cause. The local news has also picked it up and will be airing a new piece this evening about our efforts and hopefully that will help our totals grow even higher. This is what it means to be a “FANMily”.
Donate to Texana’s campaign here: https://fundly.com/help-htc-texana-bounce-back.
By Brittanie Gordon
My younger sister Mackenzie, at age 18, fractured her C5/C6 vertebrae in a car accident June 4, 2012. This caused spinal cord damage, resulting in paralysis. These injuries classified Mackenzie as an incomplete quadriplegic. Immediately we were told Mackenzie would never walk again.
Mackenzie spent seven weeks at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. In that time Mackenzie had a numerous hour surgery where she had rods and screws put in her neck to stabilize her C4 through C7 vertebrae. When Mackenzie left St. Mary’s she went to Craig Hospital in Englewood, CO for long-term therapy. She spent another six plus weeks in Colorado trying to relearn to do everyday tasks. While she was in Colorado we learned she had minor controlled movement of her legs, this gave us great hope to what the future could hold.
She returned to Craig Hospital in March 2013 for a checkup, and was told her ongoing improvements qualified her for a new therapy at Craig, The NueroRecovery Network. NRN was everything we were looking for except it had a price tag well over $20,000 for eight weeks. Our parents already had numerous expenses including home renovations and a handicap accessible vehicle and $20,000 just wasn’t something we could afford. I refused to let a lack of funds keep Mackenzie from getting the therapy she needed.
Our community had been so great in supporting Mackenzie and making her previous fundraisers highly successful, I knew we would be very limited to what there was left to do locally. I got the idea to share Mackenzie’s story all over Facebook. I made a few Youtube videos and started posting it on any page I could. People started asking where they could donate, and that’s when I found Fundly. Fundly’s website allowed us to post pictures and videos and made it very easy to share our fundraising page online. In ten days we raised $10,000 and it was just amazing! The outpouring support from people that didn’t even know Mackenzie or our family started donating money and spreading her story.
Mackenzie made great strides her second summer at Craig. She became able to stand with a walker for five-minutes plus, previously she was in the thirty-second range. She was able to walk with a walker around the gym of Craig and for the first time in over a year she was able to walk outside with some robotic assistance. The muscles in her abdomen and arms also greatly improved.
Mackenzie got home the end of August and I got married on September seventh. Mackenzie was my maid-of-honor and I wanted her to be able to walk down the aisle in front of me so badly. With the best man on one side and our brother on the aisle, Mackenzie walked the aisle. It was an amazing moment that no one there will ever forget.
Without Mackenzie’s continued therapy I know she would not have been able to walk on my big day and without Fundly we would have never had the funds to pay for that therapy. So Fundly, the Mackenzie Gorden family thanks you ever so much!
Click here to read about Mackenzie’s inspirational recovery: A paralyzed bridesmaid defies disability on The Denver Post
By Erika Milenkovic
We at Maryland New Directions, a nonprofit dedicated to helping job seekers in need find stable and lasting employment, believe that employment is empowerment, and earning income is the main road out of poverty. We want to change the outlook for individuals and families in Baltimore City, where currently 1 in 4 residents live in poverty, with at least 83% of public school children living in low-income households. We believe strong families start with strong parents, and we are here to support adults wanting to make positive changes in their lives.
Because only 7% of Maryland New Directions’ budget comes from government funding, we turned to Fundly to help us raise money from the many community members and businesses involved in our organization. Because we actively seek professionals in the community to volunteer to help our clients become job-ready, we knew we could rely on them, as well as our staff, board members, and clients to become fundraisers for our Sponsor-a-Client campaign. We let our fundraisers know that an investment of $1500 can sponsor one client to receive our no-cost services for a year.
We have been so thrilled that so many passionate fundraisers and donors have joined us in our campaign. At the beginning of our campaign, we asked businesses to consider sponsoring one or more clients, and they gave generously. Donations from small to large have been helping to close the gap for us to reach our goal. Fundly has been a great tool for our supporters to tell others about our organization and why they care about what we do.
Our goal is for the community to sponsor 50 clients by raising $75,000 by November 8, 2013. We at Maryland New Directions genuinely appreciate the support from people who care about improving neighborhoods and lives in our community and country. Please consider giving toward our campaign to give adults and families a pathway out of poverty.
Donate to our campaign here: http://fundly.com/mndsponsor-a-client. Learn more about our programs and success at www.mdnewdirections.org.
By Rajan Patel
It has been amazing watching the support pour into our Fundly campaign for The Baby Owen Fund. Good friends of mine, John and Megan Errecalde, recently introduced a gorgeous baby boy, Owen, into this world. With a smooth delivery the last thing they expected was that Owen would nee to be air lifted to UCSF where he would have surgery for congenital heart failure. It was a life or death situation and a moment’s notice to make a decision about taking Owen into surgery. Without it he would not live and with the surgery there was a list of potential complications.
John and Megan fought through. They have taken time off from work and endured very little sleep in the past two weeks. These two stood by and kept a positive energy about them when all was in the hands of fate. Baby Owen is now recovering from his first surgery. Every day he gets better and every moment they can have with each other means so much more. This was the first step in a long journey of recovery.
We turned to Fundly to bring together our friends who have been in touch since high school. We all grew up together in Lodi, California and graduated in 2002. The overwhelming support for this family has come from physical donation drives in Lodi and Fundly efforts. After years it was amazing to watch social media be the catalyst to bring a community back together.
As baby Owen recovers, friends and family alike are coming together to come up with plans and ideas to support the Errecalde family through the next phases of his medical plan. That is what is so amazing about charity. At the end of the day we can come together and know that ultimately we doing this for Baby Owen.
I am happy to report that within 24 hours of making the campaign live we are at 75% of our goal that we expected would only be hit by December 15th, 2013. Well now we are confident that we will break our goal and deliver a check to Owen’s parents who have been staying by his side through his recovery.