This has been an exciting year for The Samfund, filled with growth and changes and so many good things. Earlier this year, Steve Bandrowczak took over as Chair of the Board. Among the many reasons why this was awesome is that he introduced us to the Young Employee Networks at HP locations around the country, who jumped in with both feet and launched what became the largest single fundraising effort in our 12+ year history.
Teams in Georgia, California and Texas decided that they wanted to make a difference, and what a difference they made. They set a $5,000 fundraising goal to start. Then a $25,000 goal. And, as of last month, they raised an incredible $100,000 through their friends, colleagues and family members around the globe.
They got creative: they held bake sales and guest bartending events, sold candygrams, and hosted book sales and other events. They were strategic: they asked their managers to get involved, found opportunities to raise the visibility of The Samfund, and brought their efforts outside the office to their local communities. But most of all, they got personal. They spent countless hours by phone and email getting to know us and our family of young adult survivors. They invited us to their events and asked us to share stories. Through all of this, they felt personally connected to our mission and even more so to the people whose lives they were impacting.
In the end, it wasn't just about the money they raised. Over this past year, we have formed relationships that will continue far longer than the campaign itself. Members of the YEN teams are now some of our newest Advisory Board members and Sambassadors. Many of the people who donated once have committed themselves to staying involved for years to come.
So, thank you, YEN, for the ripple effect you have created, both for The Samfund and, more importantly, for the young adults who we're now able to help. You have created something so much bigger and so much more meaningful than anything we could have imagined.
Thank you also to Steve, for inviting us into the HP community. To Brad, for taking me aside after a management meeting to say, "you know, there's this group called YEN I think you should meet..." To Adam, for coming on board as YEN Alpharetta's Executive Sponsor and to Lynda and James for taking on those roles in Houston and Palo Alto. To Zack, for having this crazy idea in the first place... and to all of the YEN members (and you know who you are) for seeing the crazy idea into an even more incredible reality. We are more grateful that we could possibly express in one blog post.