I feel like we get to the end of the year and we’re always kind of crossing our fingers and hoping that things will end well. We know we’ve worked hard and done everything we can, but we’re also in the midst of holiday giving and seeing how that will affect how we set direction for the coming year. It’s like holding your breath to wait and see where everything will land.
I’m sure there are people out there that are scratching their heads and wondering why we would be wondering what the coming year will look like and waiting on funding, but that’s just a bare bones reality of what we do as a non-profit. With being a non-profit in general. As much as we dislike it, we recognize that funding determines how hard and fast we can work in the coming months and year. That’s just how it is. We don’t like it, but we have no choice other than to roll with it.
I’ll be honest, last year was a bit of a stretch funding wise, but once again we saw a loaves and fishes situation where we always seemed to have just what we needed when we needed it. We went into our holiday giving campaign crossing our fingers and saw some slow momentum but by the time we finished work and wrapped the year up with our Christmas staff party I think we were accepting that it wasn’t going to be an amazing success.
Until it was.
You guys, we set the goal of raising $20,000 between Canada and the US in the months of November and December with our Make Waves Campaign. After all the totals were added up and things were converted into US dollars, we had over $100,000 donated!!!
$25,000 is a grant from the International Foundation that we applied for earlier in the year, and were awarded in December. $10,000 was donated specifically to the purchase of a new work truck. We’re SO close to having all the funding for that. The rest was simply donated for the filter project, and we couldn’t be more excited.
This was the biggest donation response we’ve had in years, and it was so exciting to see things roll in, and know that we were going into 2018 in a much better financial position than we’d been in for the past few years. Sharing the news with our staff this week as we started back to work brought a lot of smiles. They know that they are such a vital part of making this all happen, and that you see the work they’re doing for their country. Thank you for encouraging them through your support.
Looking back over 2017 I can tell you that we installed slightly more filters than in 2016, and we’re happy about that. Did we reach the goal we had set? No, but we did a lot of really good work, and this year we’re going to keep pushing forward.
In 2017 we welcomed new board members and spent some really good time as a team this past summer deciding on where to focus our energy. In two weeks we’ll be meeting again and growing things even more, and we’re all really excited about that. I wish you could meet every one of our board members in person because they’re a solid, committed group of people that love us well and want to do what it takes to make Clean Water for Haiti an amazing organization that is truly helping Haitian families. It’s a privilege to work with them.
We saw our guest house finished! We still need to install kitchen cupboards, but we opened our doors for guests in November and it was heavily used all through December with rave reviews. I honestly think the building turned out better than we ever imagined that it would, and we’re so excited to see how it will be used to host people who come for trainings this year, who join us on Vision Trips, and for friends and family who want to visit or need to just have a place to get away and rest. Did you know that Chris and I also volunteer with the Canadian Embassy as wardens, which are people work as a liaison between the Embassy and citizens in country in times of crisis or emergencies? They stopped by in December to check out our facilities so they knew what was available in the event they need to shelter people. We’re so happy that this building is available for so many uses.
One of my personal high points for the later half of 2017 was having Kim join our staff. Over the years the work load here has grown and changed, and my role has moved from being extra help to being vital, and I’ve spent the past few years feeling overwhelmed because I couldn’t do it all. Kim has been such a great and much needed addition to our team and has just fit right in, in a way that we never could have planned ourselves.
Our staff. We love them so much. They’re such a hardworking group of people. While we had to let go of some last year, we also added people to our team, and we’re seeing them grow and take on more responsibility.
YOU! You’ve been such a highlight of the past year for us. Out of all the donations we received in November and December, a large part of them were from brand new donors. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who gave of their hard earned finances to support the work we’re doing. Thank you to those of you who comment on social media, or leave blog comments. We read them all and feel so encouraged when you take a few minutes to say hi. Thank you for praying for us. We know that not everyone that supports Clean Water for Haiti shares our faith views, and we love that. For those that do, your prayer support mean the world to us. Please know that when we say we can do any of this without ALL of you, we mean it from the very bottoms of our hearts, and it always feels inadequate.
So, what’s coming in 2018???
Well, we have a grant to process through! And we have a couple of Rotary grants in the works that we’re hoping to see distributed this year. There are a lot of people working hard behind the scenes in the US and in Haiti to make that happen.
We know we’ll be getting a new truck!!! We’re so close to reaching our goal, only about $10,000 more to go. Being able to make that purchase is going to see two years of fundraising come to an end, and that feels really good. It’s going to mean that we’ll be able to do more deliveries and offer more repair and maintenance services faster. We’re very excited about what this is going to mean for our program.
With Kim on staff this will be the first year in quite a while where we’ll be able to keep operations up and running through the summer months while our family takes our annual vacation. This is something we’ve been pushing towards for years, and we’re so excited that we’ll be able to offer uninterrupted service to our filter recipients and keep our staff working through the summer.
We’re able to host Vision Trips once again! So excited to welcome people to Clean Water for Haiti and let them see what we do in person. If you’ve thought about coming to see us check out the Vision Trip page for more info.
This will be the first year since 2014 where we won’t be dividing our time and energy between our day to day operations and construction. It feels SO GOOD to know that while we have some small projects to do, we’re DONE all of our buildings at our new site, and that we can get back to focusing 100% on doing what we do best – getting clean water to people.
There’s so much more I could say, but I feel like the best way to leave things is to just let you know that we’re excited for 2018! How could we not be?!? I’m looking forward to sharing all of it with you as we charge full speed ahead.