Thursday, July 18, 2013

Just Putting It All Out There

Today, as I'm thinking through the 500 for $500,000 campaign that we are currently in the midst of here at First Glance, I'm feeling a little reflective. I'm going to be honest and maybe even a little vulnerable.

For me, asking people for money is hard. I can write grants or call businesses all day long, but when things get personal, at a one-on-one level, I get nervous. I don't want to overstep boundaries or put someone out. I can always justify in my head why someone wouldn't want/need to give.

Part of this, I think, stems from my own personal struggle with giving. When I first started earning my own money, I gave to the church but mostly out of obligation. And I always hated sermons on tithing. Not sure if I felt guilty or maybe just distrusted the church, but I guess I didn't know exactly what it takes to run a nonprofit organization. (I know now, and believe me—it takes a lot.)

My last year of college, I started going to a church that I adored. They were very open about finances, and I was older and a little more understanding. I never minded discussing giving there. I loved the people, the pastor, and what the church stood for, which led me to actually WANT to give versus just doing so out of obligation.

It seemed that I was somewhat overcoming the struggle of giving when I was introduced to the struggle of having to ask other people for money. It is very humbling and more difficult that I thought when I took this job. Honestly, I thought I would do more impersonal asking—businesses, churches, mass groups of people, etc. But I soon learned that personally asking individuals was a lot more productive.

Then Noelle (the executive director) mentioned to me how she approached fundraising. She said that by asking people to give, she was giving them the opportunity to be a part of God's work here at First Glance. It is a privilege to be able to give, knowing that God is using those gifts to change the lives of people in this community. Hungry kids are being fed. Students whose parents could care less about them are being loved, so why wouldn't people want to be a part of that?

I try to remember this as I give now, be it to First Glance or a church or to a friend looking to go into mission work. I should not worry about my money or where it is going, but be thankful that God is giving me such an easy way be a part of His work.

I truly believe that you can "bear good fruit" just by being willing to write someone a check. When you give to an organization like First Glance, you ARE adding to God's kingdom. You ARE affecting lives for eternity.

So Facebook friends and family members, be warned. Even as I work through what it means to give in my own life, I will be asking you to do the same. I will be asking you to join me in seeing that giving is a privilege.

Now campaign plug: If you would like a place to begin giving or even give a little extra, First Glance is a great place to start. We are in the middle of a campaign to raise $500,000 that will cover a large portion of our expenses for THREE YEARS! (3 years. Seriously. Long time.) By reaching our goal, we will be able to focus more on the ministry and worry less about raising the needed funds. We are encouraging 500 people to commit just $28 a month (less than $1 a day, except non-leap year Februarys where it would equal $1/day. haha), but any amount is incredibly helpful. Plus, by giving you WILL be adding to His kingdom! (FOUR students became believers just in the 8 weeks I was gone for maternity leave!!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It Always Happens...

It's been a running joke around the office that many of the times I leave the office, be it vacation, a seminar, maternity leave, etc, some form of a substantial donation comes in.

For instance:

Last year I went home to Georgia, and the day I left, I got a call from Noelle telling us we had been awarded $25,000 by the GAR. And though the GAR had been consistently funding us in the previous years, I was still pretty nervous about it. (Foundations who tend to support a particular organization annually will often take a break from support for a year here or there to ensure that the organization can survive without them. I had feared this would happen to us last year.)

Then while on Christmas vacation, we received numerous one-time donations from individuals. Great encouragement to complete 2012!

My next substantial break was my maternity leave. Because I knew I would be gone from the office for so long, I worked really hard to crank out a lot of grants to make up for my time away. We had received one grant before I left, but I had sent out 20.

So because of the pattern that had obviously been previously established, I was hopeful for my leave that we would received answers from several grants. And the tradition held true. The GAR again awarded us funds for the year, the Ronald McDonald House Charities awarded us funds for equipment for the students, another small grant came in, and we were rewarded our full asking amount from a Teen Moms grant.

Why does this happen? Honestly, I think God is trying to remind me who is really in charge of First Glance's finances. Even though I do work to get these grants out of the door, He is the one who opens the hearts of the funders and individuals. He sustains this organization.

So maybe I should leave more often? I do have another trip to Georgia planned for the end of this month...I guess we'll see what happens!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Growth All Around

First Glance exists in the Kenmore community because a need for First Glance exists in the community.  Best evidence of this: the 70% growth in number of students attending First Glance weekly in 2012. Last year, First Glance saw an average of 597 students each week, whereas in 2011, the average was 352. More and more students are coming, and we are seeing more and more needs desperate to be met.

Growth in our student base always brings about growth in other areas as well.
  • As more needs became apparent, several programs were added to meet these needs.
  • All programs saw growth in 2012. Some grew substantially in the number of students, some in volunteers, and some in both.
  • With more students, more space becomes a necessity, and we therefore began an extension of our previous capital campaign, calling this one Explosion: Phase II.necessary
  • It became imparative to fill new staff positions as the organization, so two interns and a business director were added.
  • And to top it all off, we saw more spiritual growth and salvations in 2012 than ever before in the life of this ministry!
And now 2013 is already looking to be another year of considerable growth as well! We feel so blessed, and we truly believe that God has great plans for this organization for this year and the ones to come. 

In 2012, God provided, opening up the hearts of the people, businesses, and foundations of this city, and though at times things may have been tight, we always had enough to meet the students' needs. We know God will continue to provide in 2013, but we also know that we must do our part, step out of our comfort zone, and really pursue even more avenues for funding.

If you would like to be a part of this mission, whether that be through prayer, volunteering, or financial support, we would LOVE to have you! We would love to see you blessed by what God is doing here. Please see the "Ways to Get Involved" side tab for more information.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Silent Auctions Are Never Really Silent

This was the first year that First Glance decided to split its main event, the Open House/Silent Auction, into two events, the Open House and the Silent Auction. The Open House was to be mainly planned and executed by the executive director, and the Silent Auction was my responsibility to plan and host.

Now, I had only ever been to two silent auctions before, and they were really just events with a couple of silent auction tables to the side. As I began planning, I did have the opportunity to go to a silent auction that was only a silent auction. And it got me excited.

Our First Glance administrative assistant stepped up early on, volunteering to help me as I began planning. Together the two of us researched and began to recruit a team. Looking back even now, it's amazing how perfectly our committee and committee leaders came together. Even then, God had His hand on this event.

As we began planning, we developed a few simple goals:
1. Make this an event to remember (set a precedence for the years to follow)
2. Bring in 100 people, mostly those outside the First Glance community
3. Gather 50 items to be auctioned off silently or in a small live auction portion
4. Raise $5,000 for First Glance (a goal which I was encouraged to up to $10,000 a little later in planning)

Starting this, I had no idea just how much work goes into planning an event like this. Each week, I saw successes and challenges that made me realize that this event was going to be a beast of a project. But with the help of my committee, we pressed forward.

As we got closer, I saw God's blessings time and time again. People from all over were donating items and buying tickets. But as I began to evaluate everything, I realized, to reach our updated goal of $10,000, it would take more than me and my committee.

The Silent Auction came. Decorations were incredible (and mostly donated!!). Food was superb. Most of our goals had been reached:

1. The event was spectacular. We knew people would remember this one! (Even got several compliments about it being the best silent auction some of the attendees had ever been a part of!)
2. We sold out of tickets! Granted, some people couldn't come last minute, but we still had over 100 guests there!
3. We had over 100 items. DOUBLE our original goal!!

God was here and once again, showing His favor towards First Glance.

As the night came to a close, it was time to see if we met the last goal. Counted a few times over, the total came to just over $9,000! Incredible. But I still thought God would do more. I knew that our ticket sales had not been taken into consideration, but then again, neither had our costs.

It took a little time to gather receipts and costs and such. Each time the numbers were added, we inched closer and closer to our $10,000 goal. Finally, final numbers were calculated.


And this was subtracting expenses!! The total income was over $12,000! I really and truly do believe that this was only possible because God had His hand on this organization and this event. First Glance is blessed and lucky to have such amazing favor, and I am so exciting to move forward with next year's event!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I want to update everyone on my 25 for $25 for my 25th quest. It wasn't at all a complete bust, but unfortunately, we did not reach the goal. BUT, we did have $825 committed. And just to give you an idea of how much of an impact that amount will have at First Glance, consider this: our Open Plate program, which weekly feeds 30-40 students a home cooked meal, can function on less than the amount we raised! It just shows how much your donations really do affect First Glance!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

25 for $25 for my 25th!

It is drawing near...

happening just once a year...

a spectacular festival...

September 16th...


I'm sure you are all pumped for this spectacular holiday! Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, queso, sombreros, pinatas, and the list goes on and on. But what you may not realize is that September 16th is more than just the anniversary of the Grito de Dolores that started the Mexican War for Independence. 

It is also my birthday.

Yes, little ole me. Celebrating my entrance into the world yet again. And its the 25th anniversary of that momentous day. From the time I opened my eyes and they held me upside down to hit my rear so I could breathe, I knew God would use me for something great.

The thing is, in that 25 years I've been contemplating my destiny for greatness, I have realized that God did not want me to accomplish it on my own. He knew I needed you.

So far you may be thinking to yourself, "Self, why is she writing about her birthday on her First Glance blog?" Well, here's where it ties in and you join me on my quest for greatness:

First Glance is incredible. For those of you who have seen it, you know how cool it is, and for those of you who haven't, believe me: God is at work here. And oh how God has blessed us! But He also reminds us at times that we do need Him, and we do need the Body of Christ to accomplish what He has laid out. 

First Glance is growing, and fast. More than ever, we need others to come alongside us and support us. Yes, through prayer. Prayer always helps. But also financially. Within the last year, many of our programs have more than doubled, and while we are holding steady in monthly supporters, the economy has really hurt our influx of grant money. 

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

Matthew 9:37

More than ever, we are having to lean on individuals. We are asking for workers to come and take part in this harvest with us. As a push for donors, I am presenting a challenge to all you who happened upon my blog. 

The Challenge!

dun dun duhhhhhhhh.....

I need 25 people...

To donate just $25 a month...

For my 25th birthday!

Think of it this way: You're giving to me (by supporting a cause I truly believe in). You're giving to God (and growing His kingdom). And you're getting a tax write-off. What more could you ask for?!?

What will this money do?? With 25 people supporting First Glance with $25 a month for a year, we could COMPLETELY cover all the costs associated with AT LEAST two of our programs. At least. These are programs that feed at-risk youth, give them mentors who care, and keep them off the streets. And it'll help keep the lights on to boot!

If you are at all interested, whether you want to give or just want more information about First Glance, PLEASE contact me at!

Sacrifice going out to eat at that restaurant just once a month, and make my birthday dreams come true!

In the inspired words of Daryl Hall & John Oates....

Well well you (ooh ooh ooh ooh) 
you make my dreams come true (you you) you
(you you)


Okay, so blog reading world, I'm crying out to you yet again only in another way. I've had some support already, but I wanna give another option to those of you out there who may not be able to commit to $25 a month.

25 people for $25 for just 12 month also equals 300 people giving one time donations of $25. Sound easier? And feel free to even give $100 (and it'll count for 4 of those 300 needed commitments).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why Do I Doubt?!

I haven't updated this blog in a while, well...honestly, because work has been tough. I had written grant after grant. I had been playing the waiting game, trying to be patient for responses from my grant requests, but for several months, I heard nothing.

I really do believe so much in First Glance and its mission, and I feel responsible for the financial well-being of the organization. I mean, that's my job. But I was trying and pushing for funds, and the wells of funding remained stagnant.

Then, after a while with no answers, foundations begin responding. Each with a "no." The waiting game and the rejections hit me hard. I felt like I was failing completely. Not to mention, I had made the transition to full-time at First Glance, and though it was/is a blessing, it was definitely a transition. AND Josh and I had moved into the Kenmore community (a great story that I shall write about later), and unpacking was stressing me out.

All things combined = a broken-down, worn-out Kendra

My co-workers took notice and came to my rescue, making me take a Friday afternoon off with the promise that I would have fun--No work, no unpacking. (In case you are wondering, I used the afternoon to play with puppies and go thrifting. Quite an enjoyable time!)

When I returned to work on Monday, God had a little surprise for me. Not only had we found a potential Business Director and database system (two things that will make fundraising more organized and streamlined), but we had received a random $5,000 donation from a  foundation! One of the foundation's donors had requested these funds be sent to us, and I cannot tell you just how encouraging that was!

The most amazing thing about it is that repeatedly God is providing for First Glance in ways that no one can truly take credit except Him. I believe it is His way of showing us that He also believes in what we are doing here, leaving me with the question "Why do I ever doubt Him?!"