We are getting ready to open our 6th transplant apartment on September 27th! What we have found out along this journey is the incredible need for what we are doing. Over the last couple of months we have turned away more than 20 transplant families and that is a true heart breaker from our standpoint. Another amazing statistic is the number of transplant families we have served in just over three years….52!
We could not have imagined in our wildest dreams how our foundation would impact so many people. We always describe our beginnings as “jumping off a cliff.” We literally had NO IDEA where we would land, but we have indeed landed in the most wonderful place. God has been good; he has provided everything we have needed at exactly the time we needed it.
The next week will be a circus around here! Final preparations are being done. Things like washing sheets and towels, buying last minute items, staging the move (in order to get it done in the fastest and most economical way possible)….staging works! Our garage is a mess. Our storage units are a mess. But the mess is necessary to get to the final product….THE MOVE!
The movers will arrive around 9:00 a.m. to load things up from our garage, drive over to storage, load up the truck from the two storage units, and deliver everything to the apartment. There we will be met by members of our board, willing workers who will help unpack and set up. Exciting times!
Lastly, on top of all of the good news, above, we already have a family waiting to move into #6. Their daughter is in the hospital recovering from a kidney transplant and the family is staying in a local hotel until the apartment is ready. They are waiting for the call that says “come on over!”
Then, I guess….it’s on to #7!!
Last week, Bob and Mary visited a person that Mary had been referred to by a fellow networker. The referral was given months ago, but there was no follow up until now because there had not been a need up until now.
The person we met was Scott Holliday. According to Scott’s business card he is “A Liquidator of Mattresses, Furniture and Home Goods to Charities and Charitable Retailers.” The name of his business is “Heart In Your Hand.”
We drove up in front of an enormous warehouse, walked in, sat down in front of Scott, and told him our story. He then took us into the warehouse, where we saw more stuff than you can imagine. Mattress were stacked all over the place. Boxes were sitting around that were filled with sheets, towels, bedspreads, shower curtains; you name it (he buys up what Macy’s can’t sell). In additional there was furniture, lamps, etc.
So here’s the best part: Whatever we need for future transplant apartments that is in the warehouse is ours at NO COST to us! Can you even begin to imagine what that means for us? It’s huge! Scott asked us to send him our apartment inventory list. When the time comes, he will stage whatever we need that he has in stock and will hunt for what he does not have in stock. Then he will stage it in order for a mover to easily pick everything up and move it to an apartment.
There is a Christian song that Mary listens to all the time while driving between home and the apartments. One line says this: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard all that is in store for those who pray.” Our Heavenly Father is, indeed, good to his children!”
We are proud to say that we have published a new brochure. The effort put into it was pretty amazing….8 versions before we decided on a final. In our opinion….it’s lookin’ good!!
Annlouise Peroutka, a former care giver in one of our apartments, has agreed to join our Board of Directors. Her husband, Thomas, had a double lung transplant at Emory. She brings an incredible amount of value to our team. Her background is in the financial sector, as well as in non-profits. From 1997-2000, she was the Ohio Credit Union Foundation Executive Director. As a CEO, she dealt with her Boards of Directors. She was also a Board Member at Coco Cola Credit Union.
Welcome, Annlouise! We look forward to working with you as our incredible foundation moves into the future.
AS OF THE WEEK OF AUGUST 18, 2019, WE HAVE WELCOMED 50 FAMILIES TO OUR TRANSPLANT APARTMENTS. THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY!
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!