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  • Writer's pictureMark

#AlwaysThere: Carolyn & Many Hands

(Campaign Progress: $47,828 Raised on $200,000 Goal)

In the life of an organization, there are certain gifts that are transformative. In 2016, Reach received the $100,000 grand prize from Many Hands, a local woman-led giving circle. Through an intensive process, organizations are identified, vetted, and selected. The final four organizations present to all Many Hands members, then a vote is taken. We were proud and honored to be the organization selected a couple years ago.

The $100,000 gift allowed Reach to start a scholarship program, grow to serve additional participants, and invest in expanding our Summer Leadership Academy. But, probably as important, through the process, we met Carolyn.

During the Many Hands process, each organization is assigned a point of contact. Carolyn was ours. She attended multiple site visits, truly worked to understand the organization, and helped us to better understand how to communicate our work to the Many Hands members.

We also get the sense that she was quite the evangelist – telling other members about what she thought made Reach so special.

We would have been wildly appreciative of Carolyn had the relationship ended there. But, it didn’t. Over the last two years, Carolyn has remained connected to the organization by attending events (though we don't seem to have captured her in a single photo!) and having a quarterly breakfast with our executive director.

During those breakfasts, she would ask about kids by name, inquire about the biggest challenges facing the organization, and offer smart ideas about potential paths forward. She would also firmly remind us to stay focused on our unique, after-school program.

Carolyn and her husband recently moved to New York City. At a recent Many Hands event, several members quietly shared this news with us, speaking in a tone akin to how one might speak if sharing news of a death in the family. “Have you heard,” they would ask with a serious tone and sympathetic head nod, “that Carolyn moved to New York?”

Don’t worry, we already knew.

But, we don’t expect things to change much. The quarterly breakfasts will become phone calls. We expect the support will remain consistent, and the reminders about sticking close to our mission will remain firm.

And, like always, Carolyn will be #AlwaysThere for Reach.

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