In the Fall of 2008, I was serving as the Development Director for a small, tuition-free middle school for girls in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood when the bottom of the US economy dropped out. As a tuition-free school, programs were funded almost entirely through grants and private donations.
In my previous ten years in fundraising, I’d never experienced anything like it. We were in for a dark and uncharted journey.
It soon became clear, though, that the school’s donors – big and small – had no intention of leaving us. Every week brought surprises in the mail. The donor who’d been giving $25 a year for 10 years sent $50 that year. The foundation that sent an extra $5,000. The couple who sponsored the sixth grade and recommitted to fulfilling their pledge to support the class through the next three years, though their assets were now likely less than half what they’d been.
At the end of our fiscal year in 2009, we were closer than ever to our donors and we had reached our goals and kept all of our programs in place.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because in March, when the Covid-19 pandemic closed businesses and restaurants, cancelled meetings and travel, and caused death and illness across the globe, I felt a familiar sense of panic. I feared for all those who would be hit hard and experience loss and trauma. I also feared for Dogwood Alliance and the people and forests our work supports. But in time, I realized that all the strengths that pulled that little school in Boston through the storm would also keep Dogwood strong: a clear and compelling mission, a history of success, programs that support and buttress the mission, and donors who believe in what we do.
As we did in 2008, we had many conversations with our Dogwood donors and friends this year.
We heard encouragement for our efforts, concern for communities hit hard by Covid-19 that are still facing wood pellet plant expansions, interest in our webinars, reports, and journal articles published in collaboration with allies. We’ve missed seeing your faces at rallies and protests, storytelling events and film screenings. But we know you are with us, because you’ve told us you are – by taking actions, reading our reports, sending comments to decision-makers, and by supporting us financially.
We are so very grateful for you.
We are grateful that you, along with environmental activists from around the globe, have recognized Dogwood Alliance as a smart, science-based, climate-justice ally at the forefront of forest protection. Together, we will meet the challenges of this moment and keep the pressure on government, regulators, and the logging industry. With you, we will stand united with communities on the frontlines of the health and climate impacts of deforestation.
As 2020 comes to close, we’re asking you to support Dogwood Alliance with a donation.
I hope you will again consider us worthy. We cannot do this work without you.