An announcement from the Director…
I am writing this note with sadness and relief. Along with the Harvest of Hope steering committee, I have made the decision to pause the 2023 Harvest of Hope fundraiser.
I’ve jumped many hoops the past nearly 20 years to get New Hope (and more recently, Kids Hope) on to the fundraising scene in the Columbia Basin. There have been a variety of barriers to overcome and in 2021 our first Harvest of Hope fundraiser brought Elizabeth Smart to us. It was like fresh air to get an event off the ground when we were all coming out of COVID isolation. Elizabeth shared her harrowing victimization and her transition into thriving survivor with us. We gathered, we learned from Elizabeth, and our agency was highlighted for the amazing victim services we provide. We felt successful with our first Harvest of Hope netting $45,340 for survivors in Grant and Adams counties.
Our second Harvest of Hope event brought the engaging Sasha Joseph Neulinger to the stage sharing his own childhood sexual abuse history perpetrated by a well renowned cantor of one of the nation’s most prominent synagogues on the Upper East Side of Manhattan—who was also Sasha’s uncle. Again, we gathered, we learned, and our agency was highlighted. While the experience was no less powerful than the year before– our fundraising success was not as impressive. Every dollar raised above our event expenses goes right back to serving local survivors and we are thankful for the $9,852 raised at this fundraiser.
We are still learning. We are listening to our community.
We heard that it is hard to listen to survivors share their experiences of abuse. And, we agree. It IS hard. Really hard. You know what else is true? A part of me rejoiced in the fact that Elizabeth’s and Sasha’s stage time put the topics of kidnapping, abduction, child abuse, child sexual abuse, and molestation in the spotlight and out of the darkness. Even when it was hard to listen.
I’ve purposely chosen the word “pause” as we move forward. We will not be hosting the 3rd Annual Harvest of Hope Fundraiser that was scheduled for November 2. Only the event is on pause. New Hope and Kids Hope will continue to be present in our communities by providing information and education for those listening and learning.
I have always been in awe of this great Columbia Basin and how giving the communities are! So, I began the journey of exploring fundraising for the agency I believe in. There are several local fundraising events that are well supported and causes that are very deserving. My hat goes off to the fundraising committees all around, it is not for the faint of heart. Gaining event sponsors, selling tickets, and oversight of a community event is not a small task. We are an agency who is a provider of services, we are not an agency that is staffed for orchestrating the administrative tasks of a fundraising event. It is beyond our capacity at this time. I don’t want fundraising efforts to exhaust us, disappoint us or cost us more dollars than we receive.
New Hope and Kids Hope services are funded exclusively from grants, agreements, or donations. The grants we receive are a combination of federal, state and local sources. Grant writing has become more competitive, and awards come with additional administrative reporting requirements that didn’t exist a decade ago. Our other funding comes from generous donations from supporters like you. Financial contributions that come in as donations are relied on for helping survivors without restrictions—and those are the most rewarding ways to make a real difference.
Your support is needed and appreciated. $30.63 can cover a night at our domestic violence shelter for a family fleeing violence. $20 can provide gas for a survivor to get to and from support group. $52.99 provides a bag of dog food for our courthouse facility dog. There are many ways your dollars help survivors locally and immediately.
Suzi Fode, Director of New Hope and Kids Hope