We saw a lot of new donors finding out about us through The CommunityGive, and now we have a day on the calendar each year that we can really look forward to for fundraising."
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The Doctor Yum Project began in 2011 when Pediatrician Nimali Fernando MD, MPH, saw obesity growing at an alarming rate in her community.
What began as a simple blog aimed at teaching parents and their children how to make healthier food choices, soon grew into a community movement that bridged the gap between good food and good health.
“There has been a bit of an evolution,” said Heidi DiEugenio, board member at The Doctor Yum Project, “We’re helping families through the three programs we offer, and by partnering with local physicians groups to change the trajectory on how families approach food.”
The Doctor Yum Project carries out its mission through three key programs: The Doctor Yum Preschool Adventure Program, which gives young children a foundation for what healthy eating means, hands-on cooking instruction, to help families take back control of their health by getting back into the kitchen, and a state-of-the-art website, that provides proven research and tools for families to learn more about nutritious eating online.
“We know that you can’t change a child’s eating habits in a vacuum,” said DiEugenio, “a lot of research has pointed toward the problem of unhealthy eating being rooted in people not knowing how to cook. Here, we have the opportunity to design cooking classes that are accessible to children, where they will learn a ton.”
The Doctor Yum Project holds the belief that when children get to be hands-on and actually make the recipes they eat, they are exploring new foods and engaging more in the healthy eating lifecycle. The organization is already seeing a statistical significance in the changing of attitudes toward food through its offered programs.
As The Doctor Yum Project geared up to participate in Give Local America 2015, the organization brainstormed how they could be creative with their ask, in a way that also represented the purpose of the nonprofit.
“We did something similar to the ice bucket challenge, which we called the veggie challenge. We asked people to try a fruit or veggie they had never tried before, take a video and post it on social media. It really helped spread the word,” said DiEugenio.
In addition to a veggie challenge, The Doctor Yum Project hosted what they called a “Yum-a-Thon” in their kitchen. It was a giving day celebration where they offered up live cooking classes. A state senator even came by and did his own cooking demonstration! Having a day-of event also gave The Doctor Yum Project volunteers and stakeholders a reason to bond together as a team and take part in a larger giving effort in their community via The Community Give of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“We saw a lot of new donors finding out about us through The CommunityGive, and now we have a day on the calendar each year that we can really look forward to for fundraising,” said DiEugenio.
She recalled one instance in particular during the giving day, when one mom who had benefitted from The Doctor Yum Project brought her children in to make a donation in person.
“The kids came in with five dollars apiece to give, and it brought tears to our eyes. The fact that those children understood the process of giving – it just opens up their whole world to the good being done in our town,” said DiEugenio.
The Doctor Yum Project is a prime example of how local giving events can strengthen ties and better the community as a whole, which is what Give Local America is all about – neighbors helping fellow neighbors.
“Local friends and neighbors serving local friends and neighbors,” – this is the essence of what Hospice of Northwest Michigan is all about. A small, but mighty organization, they have been serving their community for over 43 years, partnering with local health departments to provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to individuals and their families during and following life-limiting illness.
In 2015 Hospice of Northwest Michigan began thinking about taking a new approach toward giving. How could they tap into the valuable giving potential of their local community? In the end, Hospice of Northwest Michigan decided to give back by supporting other organizations in their own community with the time and resources they had, in lieu of asking for their own support. They did so through Give Local America. We have all heard that giving is better than receiving, and sometimes you see a return even when it’s unexpected.
By going out in the community, participating in Give Local America events and having the opportunity to educate others on their mission, Hospice of Northwest Michigan exceeded their donation expectations.
“This [strategy] was wonderful for our organization as it increased our exposure in the community and showed us to be a true community collaborator and partner,” said Amy Wieland, executive director at Hospice of Northwest Michigan. “Doing so increased donations and support for our organization almost immediately.”
Give Local America has proven to help organizations acquire new donors, and it seems that when it came to end of year results, Hospice of Northwest Michigan’s ongoing efforts paid off.
The proof of their fundraising success is the the pudding: They saw a 45% increase in total donations in 2015 as well as a patient census increase of 53%.
“This will always be a part of how we serve our community,” Wieland says, “by making life moments happen.”
In addition to helping nonprofits raise more funds, Give Local America also helps organizations grow relationships within the communities they belong to. Whether you are a large or small organization, or if your goal is raise money, grow your visibility or to simple give back like Hospice of Northwest Michigan did, Give Local America makes that possible.
Hospice of Northwest Michigan’s goals are to assist with safe and comfortable dying, self-determined life-closure and healthy grieving over the loss of loved ones.
The key to their success? Drawing on an interdisciplinary team that collaborates with the individual, the family and the physician to determine the appropriate care needed for the afflicted individual and how that care will be delivered.
“The hospice program exists in the hope and belief that through appropriate care, and the promotion of a caring community, sensitive to the needs that individuals, families and significant others may be free to attain a degree of preparation for death, results in quality of life when quantity is limited,” said Wieland.