During the last week of July, Mary & Brad flew out to Seattle to meet with Liz Truong Doyle, our Foundation consultant. To say it was a valuable time together would be an understatement. Our foundation is at a critical turning point in regards to moving upward and we needed advice on how to get that process started. We came back with so much information about decisions that have to be made. All of that information has been summarized and will be shared at our Board meeting this week. We have two ways to describe our relationship with Liz. One is “she’s been there and done that.” The other is “no reason to reinvent the wheel.” Liz has been where we are with the Seattle Transplant House, with great success. We have followed that model from the beginning with opening transplant apartments. Now we’ll see where we go from here.
And, of course, since we were “home,” we made a few trips down memory lane, riding two ferries being one of them. If you want to see the real beauty of Seattle, ride a ferry! We also took a day trip to Eastern Washington to visit one of our favorite campsites where Brad and Jeff spent many a summer day. We stayed with Uncle Ron & Aunt Karen, who live in a house with the most fantastic views of Puget Sound. A lot of time was spent relaxing on their deck over looking that view. And then a true highlight of our visit was dropping in on Aunt Betty and our niece Cathy, along with our nephew, Donald and six of his 20 kids! Donald and his wife, Amy, have adopted 13 of those 7 kids, many with disabilities. The kids arrived like a tornado and by the end of the evening, Brad and I were totally in love with every single one of them. We had the BEST time on this short, mostly unplanned, trip. It ended with a red-eye home, Seattle-San Francisco-Atlanta. Only one thing can be said about that….red-eyes are horrible!
SO…we have accomplished Phase 1 of the Foundation. We have 5 apartments up and running, almost always occupied. In fact, we are running at 94% capacity, which is amazing! When we began this journey, we described it as “jumping off a bridge, not knowing where we would land.” Now we are moving on to Phase 2, facing another bridge, so to speak. This phase will add five more apartments by the end of 2020. In order to do that, we have begun our “Coffee Money Fund Raising Campaign. And it looks something like this, all based on donating an amount less than a cup of coffee per day!
Our goal is to get at least 200 people who would sign up to donate $25.00/month on a recurring basis. This can be done on our website http://www.jcevansfoundation.org. Follow the instructions on the circle, above. If we reach our goal, we will be able to easily open five more apartments, which will ease a very pressing problem for transplant patients in Atlanta. The need is great. In the last four weeks, we had to turn away 15 transplant families. It’s easy to see how these donations will help.
Sometimes a picture says a 1,000 words. This picture illustrates where our foundation has gone over the last three years and explains that we have been very successful. Statistics show that 90% of non-profits fail in the first year of operation, and 97% fail within the first three years. We’ve made it through that!!! We’ll call that “Phase 1.” The straight line indicates that we could continue on as we have over the last three years “forever.” We know the model and the model is successful.
But our goal is to move up the trajectory. We’ll call that “Phase 2.” And that will take two things: money and staff. Currently we are sitting in the circle called “No Man’s Land” and we have to figure out how to pass through that circle. To facilitate that, Mary & Brad are heading out to Seattle next weekend to meet with Liz Truong Doyle, our Foundation Consultant. She has “been there, done that,” so there is no need to “reinvent the wheel.” We have our lists of questions ready for her and we hope to come back to Atlanta armed with exactly what we need to move forward, through the circle. Get ready, Liz! And thanks for sharing your expertise.
Coxe Curry & Associates provides professional counsel to help greater Atlanta nonprofit organizations attract resources, accomplish their missions and serve our community.
Mary and Brad met with David Eidson, President and CEO on Friday, June 14th. We are, obviously, a much smaller non-profit organization than they work with, but due to a former colleague relationship with Brad, David was willing to spend time with us.
We asked for advice about many different aspects of the foundation going forward, from ways to fund raise (“coffee money campaign” to capital fund raising). About a salary for Mary as Executive Director. About how many Evans family members can be on the payroll (no more than one). To future Board member qualifications. And many more.
It was an extremely beneficial meeting. At some point in time in the future, we will be a client of Coxe Curry, and we look forward to that time.
Yesterday these two quilts were delivered to our front door. They are from the Mending Hearts Quilting Group in Washington State. What makes them really special is the fact that they were made in memory of our friend, Marge Mitchell. Marge passed away about a year ago, and one of her dying wishes was that her quilting group continue to make quilts for our transplant apartments. The group has fulfilled that promise over and over again.
We tend to give our apartments nicknames based on their decor. The next apartment we open will house these quilts and it will be called “The Quilt Cottage.” The group made another quilt which is in “Jeff’s Cabin.”
I have never made a quilt, and I never will. The whole process is just “beyond me!” But I can certainly appreciate all of the work that went into these. The blue one, in particular, was apparently a very complicated pattern and it was made by a local quilter, MaryCee, who then gave it to the Mending Hearts to finish and give to us. The pink quilt was made by Betty Walsh, a member of the group. And I cannot forget to thank Joan Huehnerhoff, who not only helps with the quilting, but is also the person who is really in charge of carrying out Marge’s wishes.
Thank you, again. My gratitude is endless. And Marge is happy!
Last week, we welcomed the 40th transplant family to our apartments. Who would ever have guess that we would be at this point already. It has been, and continues to be, such a privilege to be able to provide these apartments to our transplant patients and care givers. We love them all.
Do you remember this little guy? This is Trey, our little patient that passed away before he got a liver transplant. On Sunday, April 28th, Mary and her sister-in-law, Karen attended a “Celebration of Life” at Egleston Hospital which was held in loving memory of all the children who passed away in the Pediatric ICU in 2018. Mary and Karen joined Trey’s family (mom, dad, grandma, and three sisters) to celebrate Trey’s life. It was a very touching time when the lives of 40 children were celebrated.
“Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place,
The whole of the flower,
The whole of the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower,
The truth of the blossom
The glory of eternal life is fully shining here.”
(from the Celebration program)
Trey captured my heart from the moment I met him. The smile on his face was always there and I’m convinced that, even as he is now in heaven, that smile is eternally glowing. Trey, you are loved, sweet boy, and you will NEVER be forgotten.
Near the end of April, we had to evict a family from one of the apartments. They had misrepresented themselves to everyone involved. Unfortunately, they were really enjoying living there and they did not want to move out. So we had to exert a little pressure to get them to start packing. It was a L-O-N-G day, ending around 11:00 p.m. with the last of their possessions being taken away.
We are considering this a learning experience. One thing we learned about is the legal process of evicting someone. YES….if they refuse to leave, there is a process that takes 30 days and involves local government.
On top of everything else, they trashed the apartment. We were told by someone who knows (Liz, out Foundation Consultant and former Executive Director of the Seattle Transplant House) that this would inevitably happen, so we were not taken totally by surprise. After many trips to the dumpster and four days of cleaning, we were back in business.
And the good news is that we have another family in the apartment. When the caregiver, the patient’s sister, arrived at the apartment to get the keys, she had the wonderful news that a liver had just become available and her sister was scheduled for the transplant at 4:00 a.m. the following morning. That’s the kind of news we love to hear. And good news ALWAYS trumps bad news!
Last week we got Apartment #3 moved from Post to Belara. The movers came on Wednesday. Bob and Mary unpacked and set up on Wednesday. Mary & Brad finished the set up on Thursday. Then they went down on Friday afternoon to hang all of the pictures, etc. and install the washer & dryer. And a new care giver moved in on Saturday. He is a gentleman, probably late 50’s, whose wife got a liver transplant last week. When he arrived at the apartment on Saturday, he had been sleeping in a chair in the hospital for eight nights. He was flat worn out! So I encouraged him to sleep at the apartment that night and he assured me he would.
The only hickups in this move were two evenings of WAITING. Thursday it was for Comcast, who arrived around 9:00 p.m. and the technician was there until after 10:00 p.m. Friday it was waiting for two recliners to be delivered, which happened around 8:00 p.m. Brad got them unpacked and put together. And then we headed home. DONE!
We had originally planned on doing the move on Saturday, but we got an email from one of the social workers at Piedmont asking if we had an available apartment “at the end of the week.” So we moved everything up a few days to ensure we had a resident right away. So all of the apartments are occupied now.
Late last year, Mary had lunch with her friend, Logan Vaughan, who gave her a fabulous reference that she thought would benefit the foundation. As a result, Bob & Mary met with Beth Concepcion, Assistant Provost and Director of the A_LAB at Oglethorpe University. She introduced us to a public relations class taught by Kate Keib to students who have a particular interest in non-profits. She agreed to use our foundation as a “case study” that five of her students would study.
Fast forward to the beginning of the semester in January. We were contacted by our five students: Connor Bollinger, Caleb Blakley, Julissa Canas Escobar, Manuel Portillo and Johnathan Feibus. They conducted a phone interview with Mary to get a general idea of what our foundation is all about. Each one of them had a specific topic: Partnerships & Supporters, Social Media, Internal & External Environments, Directors & Executives and Finances and Fund Raising. It was a fantastic interview, which was absolutely brimming full of youthful enthusiasm!
Early in March Bob, Mary & Brad met them for lunch at . YUM! Once again we were so impressed and pleased with their enthusiasm for the foundation. They asked a lot of questions, as we got to know each one of them in a more personal way.
They are working on two things as we speak. One is a press release whose subject will be the opening of Apartment #6. The other is a document whose subject will be our four new Board of Directors members. When we receive the final products, we can use them in any way we see fit, such as through social media or the press (i.e., TV or newspapers) or sharing with future investors. The possibilities are endless.
At the end of the semester, the group will present a final report on the foundation to their class and we will attend. Stay tuned!