Team CALICO’s efforts at the Oakland Running Festival was a roaring success! 67 runners raised an incredible $42,000 for CALICO. Anyone looking at the figure can tell what an enormous contribution these runners and their supporters have given CALICO and the children and families we aid. What you may not realize, though, is the tremendous power these individual donations mean for CALICO.
Much like a calico quilt stiches together many pieces to create a whole blanket; at CALICO we stitch together several sources of funding to ensure our organization never has to turn away a child or family in need. CALICO does this by piecing together government grants and contributions, grants from private organizations, and gifts from individual donors, like those who supported the Run for CALICO event. Many of the funds we receive from grants and the government are designated for exact types of usage and can only be spent in very specific ways (in nonprofit lingo, these are called “restricted funds”). This is why individual donations are vital to CALICO. Individual donations generally come without such strings attach, and can be used to support any part of CALICO’s program (as you might guess, we call these “unrestricted funds”). This type of funding is essential to CALICO’s ability to provide holistic services, as these funds can fill in gaps not covered by the restricted funds.
What’s more, individual and community donations are especially valued by CALICO, which prides itself on staying on the cutting edge of practices in child abuse investigations and intervention. Unrestricted funds help us create new programs and trainings to ensure we are the forefront of our field. For example, we have used unrestricted funds to train our county’s team on behaviors and profiles of adults who sexually offend, how to build resiliency and decrease the effects of vicarious trauma, how to better serve the deaf community, how to increase medical referrals and more. All of these initiatives have helped make CALICO a leader in this field and help CALICO better serve children.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the impact of community-generated donations is recognized by the children and families who come to our office. For instance, one teenager, after receiving a tour, asked his CALICO interviewer, “Who pays for this place? It’s really nice.” When she responded that CALICO receives donations from many people, he responded, somewhat awed, “You mean people gave money just to help kids who had things happen to them, like me?” At that moment, some of the embarrassment, isolation and shame he had been carrying with him, as result of his abuse, lifted a little. There were people out there who thought he – and other children like him – mattered and were worthy of having a safe, comfortable place to visit. Thank you to all our runners and supporters who have joined the group of community members sending that message to our clients, that the community as whole stands by them and their right to be placed on the path to justice and healing.