Resilient Roots Campaign
Fortify our roots today so we emerge stronger tomorrow
If nothing else, 2020 has been a year of the unexpected. A year that has brought us into a reality we could never have imagined, one that has tested our adaptability in ways we could not have foreseen. We have all made countless sacrifices throughout the last few months and each of us have found ourselves in a different place than we anticipated when we closed out the final days of 2019. Birth Roots is in a very different place today than we imagined we would be, because 2020 was our year to THRIVE.
Seventeen years ago, the founders of Birth Roots reimagined the network of support for new parents after recognizing an abject lack of connection for women and families during the vulnerable stage encompassing birth through toddler years. The Birth Roots approach to innovative Community Supported Parenting means creating flexible and invested networks of parents who can rely on their peers to navigate through the dynamic, often challenging, time of early parenthood.
We have grown since 2003. We’ve moved, our classes are consistently incurring waiting lists, and we have a vibrant community of parents who are deeply engaged in community supported parenting as a result of our work over the past two decades.
In early March of 2020, we had just finished reformalizing our board structure by adding several committees to best utilize our governing bodies’ leadership and talents. We had started to shift our focus toward searching for our first-ever Executive Director to centralize our internal leadership and allow Leah and Emily (our founders) to focus on developing new programming with the aim of broadening our community reach. We were poised to SOAR. And suddenly, alongside all of you, our world shuddered. We’ve closed our physical doors and cancelled in-person fundraisers to keep our community safe. We’ve learned how to ZOOM, we’ve put our content online, and we’ve invigorated our outdoor classroom and nature-based offerings. We’ve laughed and cried every week alongside new parents who are navigating the uncertainty of the perinatal and toddler times with the added instability of life amidst a global pandemic.
We believe today, more than ever before, the connection and support Birth Roots offers is absolutely vital in creating and sustaining healthy families and communities. Accompanying this conviction is the knowledge that we will not be able to continue our work beyond this difficult time without your help.
Birth Roots is a very small nonprofit with an annual operating budget of under $150,000. This pays for our space, allows us to modestly compensate our small staff, and covers limited supply costs. To meet our budget demands we charge fees for our classes and hold fundraising events designed to not only generate much needed funds but to also create safe and inclusive family friendly activities for our community. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have cancelled the majority of these annual fundraising activities - resulting in a 40% loss of our overall operating budget. This means we need to make up a shortfall of $60,000 in each 2020 and 2021 to continue the critical role we play in our community. Given that we still do not know what the year ahead will bring, we have decided to set our sights on raising $100,000 by March 31, 2021. Meeting this milestone will ensure that Birth Roots can continue to offer online classes and groups, host nature based classes in our magical outdoor space, and keep the office at our Vannah Street location up and running so that we may welcome families back once life returns to something resembling normalcy.
There are more than 5,000 Birth Roots alums in our region and even more community members who have attended an event or participated in one of the many Birth Roots local activities. If each family who has benefitted from Birth Roots gave $100, we would easily reach our goal - even $50 per family would get us to this goal. We know not everyone can give $50 or $100 and we know many families can give more. We have an incredible community of caring, compassionate, engaged parents and friends and now we need your help.
We are truly at a crossroads. If we are able to sustain through this pandemic, we are still poised to SOAR. We have a comprehensive vision about how to expand our offerings and bring community supported parenting to more diverse communities throughout Maine. If we are not able to make up our budget shortfall, it will likely be impossible for us to continue to operate. We have already trimmed our budget to the essentials and without help we will not have the funding to keep our space and sustain our operations. This thought is heart-breaking.
Beginning more than 15 years ago, Birth Roots helped pioneer the foundation for an increase of maternal support that we now see available throughout Southern Maine. Of these various resources, Birth Roots is the only 501c3 explicitly serving mothers and families in this way. We cannot imagine a Portland without Birth Roots and we know many of you cannot either. We ask you to contribute what you can today to make sure that we don’t have to.
The impact of your support:
$50 pays for one month of electricity
$100 covers one month of heat
$200 pays for a month of high-speed internet and phones to continue our classes and respond to client needs
$500 pays for one full month of utilities
$1,600 covers one month of rent
$6,000 is equivalent to lost revenue from our cancelled Little Monsters Ball
We know our community is full of young families and we do not ask for your help lightly. We are working to engage more corporate and institutional donors, and secure funding from a wide variety of sources. However, today we must rely on our individual relationships to help us make-up our funding gap. Each dollar we raise will be used to sustain our general operations and fortify our footing as we march forward. We will consistently provide updates to our donors about the progress of our Resilient Roots Campaign as we navigate through this difficult time.
Leah, Emily, Birth Roots Staff and Board of Directors