Month of Chocolate Fundraising Report

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A HUGE “Thanks” to everyone who supported the Month of Chocolate this year! We are still waiting on a few numbers to come in from some of the events, and we’re still selling the Art of Chocolate Recipe Books, so our total may increase a bit more yet. We are so pleased to report that through the support of all of the businesses who sponsored or hosted events, guests who attended the events, donors, volunteers, our employees who worked hard to plan and coordinate the activities, and our board members and ambassadors who also helped to share the events with others, a net profit of $37,244 was raised to support people with disabilities!

Here are a few highlights from this year:

  • We were able to decrease our overall expenses by about $8,500
  • The Art of Chocolate received a lot of positive feedback about the change to the new venue at One World at Woolery Mill
  • Our All Abilities Choir enjoyed singing for our guests at the Art of Chocolate
  • The Bloomington Moose Lodge’s Chocolate Bingo was absolutely packed, they had their largest attendance of bingo players ever
  • The new Art of Chocolate Recipe Books sponsored by Oliver Winery and created in partnership with the Bloomington Watercolor society have been VERY popular! We ordered 250, and have only about 50 remaining for sale
  • We were able to work with a videographer this year, and we’re excitedly waiting to share the video recap of events for this year

As we reflect on the events this year, we are so honored to have the support of the community behind us in so many ways. We hope to grow the events each year and do more to raise increased funds for our clients to provide them with opportunities for growth and independence that Medicaid services simply don’t fund. Just a few examples of the types of things that aren’t funded by Medicaid are: travel (more than one round trip per day, and limited to local trips), the extra support needed to learn to drive, any over the counter medications, any housing repairs or maintenance. While these examples are some of the things we see most often and which have the greatest impact on our clients’ lives, there are many other examples of things that our clients need assistance with to be more independent which are not covered.

See more pics of the all of the events on our Facebook page!

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We are Thankful

With it being so near the Thanksgiving holiday, there is no better time to express what we’re thankful for. We asked the employees of LIFEDesigns what they’re thankful for this year. Read below to see why we’re grateful for our teams, clients and more!

“I’m thankful I get to have a meaningful impact in our clients lives and I get to meet so many different people I might not have met if I didn’t work for LIFEDesigns. Also, that this is a company where hard work is recognized and rewarded.” – Braden Kinser

“I am thankful for so many things about LIFEDesigns. I am so happy to be part of an organization that provides consistent housing to many who have experienced chronic homelessness. We, the worker-bees of LIFEDesigns, genuinely make a positive difference in the lives of our clients and greater community.” – Timothy Baer

“I am thankful for all the employees who dedicate themselves to our clients and making their lives better. I am thankful for the great team I have and that we are always willing to jump in and help each other in any way possible.” – Heather Bagshaw

“I am so very thankful for the opportunity to work with really caring, sincere and giving people who help LIFEDesigns clients become independent, stay healthy & happy and build relationships both at home and in the community!” – Sandra Reynolds

“I’m thankful to work for an agency that allows me to use my education and experience to help others in a rewarding way. I’m grateful that I work for an agency that I’m proud to be associated with.” – Desiree Branaman

Mona’s Wine Tasting

LIFEDesigns would like to thank Mona Mellinger for hosting a wine tasting party at her house to raise funds for LIFEDesigns endowment campaign. Mona was first introduced to LIFEDesigns through her daughter Sarah Burgess who is on our board. She immediately was touched by our mission to partner with and promote independence for people with disabilities, and subsequently she became a LIFEDesigns ambassador. As an ambassador she assists with fundraising, promotes our mission, and helps to connect us with others who want to support people with disabilities. In addition to hosting the wine tasting party, Mona played a major role in helping to connect German American Bank to LIFEDesigns for the Angel Tree. The project was very successful the first year, employees, bank clients, and people from the community enjoyed choosing a wish list. This year, we’ve received several phone calls and emails from people in the community who want to help, and have absolutely no connection with either German American Bank or LIFEDesigns. We’re excited to see the engagement from the community grow. 

Mona was surprised that many of her friends did not know about LIFEDesigns which gave her the idea to plan a fundraising event to help others learn about our mission and generate new donors. Mona invited 20 of her friends to her house to taste delicious wines. This fun social event raised $3,750 for our endowment held at the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. Mona, a very humble woman, did not wish to be acknowledged too abundantly for her efforts. She said that “seeing the work LIFEDesigns does with clients just melts my heart” and she wanted to help.  We thank Mona for all of her support, and hope that this can serve as an idea that will help others create similar experiences! 

Centra Credit Union

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Centra Credit Union, in Columbus Indiana, uses the motto, “People helping people” to serve not only union members but those in their community. The Centra Foundation has used this motto to give to 41 nonprofits throughout central and southwest Indiana totaling more than $100,000. Centra typically awards grants by asking each Centra department to nominate 3 nonprofits they feel passionate about. The nomination will then be reviewed by a committee and those selected will be gifted $2500 to be used to fund initiatives. LIFEDesigns board member and Centra employee Sharon Taylor nominated LIFEDesigns and we’re humbled to announce that we received this generous grant 2 years in a row. When asked about Centra’s impact, Sharon explained, “Centra is all about the community. Companies providing support to nonprofits like this is so beneficial.”

The Centra Foundation typically awards to projects that support education, community action and financial education. They gave to these other nonprofits: Advocates for Children, Lincoln Family Center, Hope of South Indiana, Hoosier Veteran’s Assistance Foundation, etc.

The funds granted to LIFEDesigns will be used to support people with disabilities in Columbus, IN to find and keep employment.

 

Angel Tree

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Now that Halloween has past, LIFEDesigns has begun to prepare for the holiday season. Each year, we do the best we can to include all our clients in holiday cheer. Typically we support about 40-50 people who do not have anyone in their lives to spend the holidays with. Our annual Angel Tree is our way of providing them with the holiday giving experience they so desire. The Angel Trees share these wish lists by our clients with the community. On Wednesday, November 13, LIFEDesigns will host an angel tree ornament decorating party where our clients will each decorate their personal ornament as a gift meant for the person from the community who fulfills their wish list. All are invited to volunteer to help our clients with this fun craft project. Contact Kristen King (kking@lifedesignsinc.org) if you are interested in attending the party.

More news to come on the dates and locations these trees will be on display out in the community. Each year we’re so honored to see how much support from the community is given through this project. Last year, German American bank hosted each of the trees with client wish lists, and the bank donated a little extra to cover purchases of gifts that weren’t taken care of by their staff or community members. Additionally, the South Central Indiana Kiwanis Club helped to sponsor several wish lists, and Royale Hair parlor collected cash donations for LIFEDesigns as well. We’re so grateful to everyone who helped last year, and look forward to building on these relationships for this year!  

Thank you Smithville and Jack Hopkins!

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LIFEDesigns is pleased to announce our new maintenance truck has arrived, thanks to two grants! This F-250 truck will be used to provide general maintenance service to our 5 group homes and our affordable housing apartments and duplexes. Smithville Charitable Foundation granted $10,000, and the City of Bloomington Common Council Jack Hopkins Social Services Funding Committee granted $16,084 toward the new maintenance truck. This coupled with the state minimum pricing discount Community Ford of Bloomington was able to offer us left only $5,565.25 of the truck for LIFEDesigns to cover.

The next step to this plan is to purchase a snow plow for $5,500. We do still need donations to help cover this cost. The snowplow will allow our maintenance team to handle our own snow maintenance, saving us about $12,000 every 3 years. 

We are humbled by the community’s support of this project and are especially grateful to the City of Bloomington Jack Hopkins Social Services Fund, and Smithville Charitable Foundation for their generous gifts. In the next few weeks we’ll be working to display proper recognition for these gifts by having their logos placed on the side of the truck.