Sparking Ideas

TLC Raises Money for DC Capital Area Food Bank

TLC’s Year of Service took a break from the road in September, and instead our efforts have been spent organizing a special fundraising project to benefit one local organization – DC Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB).

Founded in 1980, the Capital Area Food Bank is the largest, hunger and nutrition education research non-profit in the D.C. area. Their mission is to feed those suffering from hunger by acquiring food and distributing it throughout a network of local agencies. Additionally, CAFB works to educate, empower and enlighten the community about issues facing hunger and nutrition.

In September, we put our direct marketing expertise to good use and called on our vendor partners to join us in raising money for this important cause. We’ve already raised over $2,000 and we plan to continue our efforts through this month! To make a gift to the Capital Area Food Bank, please click here and stay tuned for updates about our progress. 

TLC Runs for Seattle Children’s Hospital

TLC staff trained for our August Year of Service project during DC’s hot summer months, so the cool Seattle air was a welcome change when team “Smells Like TLC Spirit” laced up their running shoes for The Covey Run’s 10k on Saturday, August 18. Staff from TLC’s east and west coast offices met in Seattle for this month’s Year of Service project to support Seattle Children’s Hospital. Their assignment was to either participate or volunteer behind the scenes at The Covey Run, an annual 10k run/5k walk that supports uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Of the 86,000 patients treated at the hospital each year, 65% need financial assistance and the need for uncompensated care is expected to exceed $100 million this year.

Team Seattle flew out a day early to visit Seattle Children’s Hospital before race day. They were given a tour of the facilities and had a chance to meet some of the wonderful staff who help take care of the patients. Families come from all over Washington, Oregon, Utah and Montana to receive treatment at the hospital. Seattle Children’s is in the process of building a new wing, which is set to open in spring 2013. The new wing will allow for private hospital rooms, of which there are none in the hospital currently. With no private rooms, there isn’t space for parents to stay overnight with their children in the shared rooms – the new wing will alleviate this issue.

Naturally the volunteers on this project were very inspired by this cause and they decided to conduct their own grassroots fundraising for the event. Team “Smells Like TLC Spirit” really took their fundraising seriously and raised well over $2,500 in a matter of weeks. Their efforts were matched 100% by TLC and, as a result, we were the #1 overall team for fundraising by a landslide – nice job, guys!

TLC’s support was warmly received by Seattle Children’s Hospital, and the team had a chance to present their cumulative donations at The Covey Run event itself. There they met Keilana, this year’s featured patient, and her family. Keilana’s story is a remarkable one (read more here) and the team agreed that meeting this spunky young woman was a highlight of the experience.  

West Coast Account Director Kathryn McMonagle found the project to be both rewarding and fun.  “Seeing firsthand what our efforts were supporting made the entire experience much more meaningful,” Kathryn explained. “Beyond the fundraising, taking part in the actual run with hundreds of local North westerners – all running for a common cause – was an experience words cannot describe.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities with The Covey Run and Seattle Children’s Hospital, or to make a gift, contact Aileen Kelly at aileen.kelly@seattlechildrens.org


Announcing TLC’s July Year of Service Project

It’s no coincidence that we decided to head to the Windy City in the middle of the summer, so we figured we should take advantage of the warm weather with a project that will get us outdoors. Enter our July Year of Service organization, Urban Habitat Chicago (UHC). UHC was founded in 2004 and their mission is to create sustainable urban farming projects all over Chicago. These sites are used to run gardening and environmental programs for children and teens in challenged neighborhoods and the fresh produce harvested is distributed to Chicagoans in need through the organization’s partnership with Neighborhood Nutrition Centers. 

On Thursday, July 19, TLC volunteers and friends will roll up their sleeves to garden at UHC’s Teaching Farm behind Northside College Preparatory High School. This is the organization’s largest site and volunteers will work alongside local students and adult volunteers.

Want to exercise your green thumb while spending quality time with TLC staff? Contact Ashley Gunning at agunning@thelukenscompany.com or 703-845-8484 x231.  

TLC Does Heavy Lifting with Denver’s Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

In early June staff from TLC’s LA and DC offices met in Denver for our most challenging Year of Service project yet –two days of trail restoration with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC). VOC is a non-profit based in Denver and the organization is committed to motivating and enabling citizens to protect, enhance, restore and preserve Colorado’s outdoors. Projects range from tree planting to invasive weed removal to campsite and trail restoration.

On a 1-10 scale of difficulty, TLC’s Team Denver agrees that their assignment was an 11! Along with a group of about 70 volunteers, the team was tasked with helping to restore the beautiful Midland Hill Trail. This meant constructing 170 new steps of rock, installing over 30 feet of new rock walls, building several large switchbacks (trails that follow a zigzag course on a steep incline), and rehabilitating over 2,000 feet of existing trail. Set near the scenic mountains of Buena Vista, the Midland Hill Trail is subject to severe erosion due to the rain storms that often hit this valley region and regular maintenance is important in keeping the trail safe for Colorado’s many hikers.

Although exhausted upon their return, TLC volunteers agreed that the experience was incredibly rewarding. “The VOC staff were just great!” said VP of West Coast Operations, Anthony Plamondon. “Our crew leader Joe was so experienced and funny, too. He made sure we had a lot of fun while working hard. I’m really proud of our team – this project was no easy feat!”

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado’s Project Manager Matt Martinez was equally impressed with TLC volunteers. “Our organization is grateful to receive a lot of donations, but it’s rare that comes coupled with boats on the ground,” Matt remarked about TLC’s willingness to jump in and help on one of the more challenging projects this season.

For more information about volunteer opportunities with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, or to make a gift, contact Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Becca Summer at becca@voc.org.

Announcing TLC's March Year of Service Project

Start spreading the news...TLC is leaving for New York on our March Year of Service project! We're couldn't be more excited to partner with our next organization, Materials for the Arts (MFTA), on a two-day project at their art supply warehouse in Queens.

MFTA provides thousands of New York City arts and cultural organizations, public schools and community arts programs with the supplies they need to run and expand their programs. They gather supplies from companies and individuals who no longer need them and distribute them at no cost to artists and educators in need. The organizational model not only enriches arts education in the city, but it also keeps unwanted materials out of the waste stream and landfills. It’s a win-win all around!

TLC volunteers will spend Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 22 helping MFTA organize their art supply warehouse and also assisting artists and educators who visit during the organization’s shopping day. If you’re interested in joining clients and friends who’ve already committed to the project, please contact Ashley Gunning at agunning@thelukenscompany.com or 703-845-8484 x231.

We’ll be back later in March to recap!

Announcing TLC’s March Year Of Service Project

Start spreading the news...TLC is leaving for New York on our March Year of Service project! We're couldn't be more excited to partner with our next organization, Materials for the Arts (MFTA), on a two-day project at their art supply warehouse in Queens.

MFTA provides thousands of New York City arts and cultural organizations, public schools and community arts programs with the supplies they need to run and expand their programs. They gather supplies from companies and individuals who no longer need them and distribute them at no cost to artists and educators in need. The organizational model not only enriches arts education in the city, but it also keeps unwanted materials out of the waste stream and landfills. It’s a win-win all around!

TLC volunteers will spend Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 22 helping MFTA organize their art supply warehouse and also assisting artists and educators who visit during the organization’s shopping day. If you’re interested in joining clients and friends who’ve already committed to the project, please contact Ashley Gunning at agunning@thelukenscompany.com or 703-845-8484 x231.

We’ll be back later in March to recap!

TLC’s Year Of Service Stops In Austin

The rain didn’t stop TLC staff from exerting a bit of manual labor in exchange for a good cause down in Austin, TX! Our second stop on TLC’s Year of Service tour introduced us to Green Doors, a small organization in Austin committed to preventing and helping end homelessness in Central Texas. They do this not only by creating affordable, safe, quality housing for formerly homeless residents, but also by providing residents with the support services and education needed to end chronic homelessness.

So while rain deterred our original plans to get outside and help Green Doors with landscaping needs at several of their housing facilities, volunteers found plenty of work to keep them busy indoors. Over the course of two days, TLC staff helped build furniture for two apartments in Green Doors’ transitional housing site for veterans at Pecan Springs.

TLC volunteers also got a tour of several Green Doors housing facilities located throughout the Austin area. Account Assistant Joe Richards commented, “It was amazing to see the number of apartment complexes and houses Green Doors provides for disabled veterans and families struggling with homelessness. The sense of community amongst the residents is very apparent.”

Click to see more photos from TLC's Austin Year of Service project!

The experience was inspiring to volunteers. Lynn Levendusky, graphic designer, shared, “It was heartwarming to hear stories about previously homeless individuals who were given a place to live and a chance at gaining independence through the services Green Doors offers.”

And the impact the group’s work and philanthropic contribution will have on Green Doors residents is invaluable. “So often, our residents come to us with nothing; opening a door to a fully furnished apartment really makes a house feel like a home,” said Avalon Rehn, volunteer coordinator at Green Doors. Joe agreed, “By far the best part of the entire experience was seeing the finished product – a beautifully furnished apartment that will greet one resident when they move in for the first time.”

New residents begin moving into the apartments at Pecan Springs March 6.

TLC would like to thank Green Doors for welcoming our volunteers on this project. For more information about volunteer opportunities with Green Doors, or to make a gift, contact Avalon Rehn, Volunteer Coordinator at 512-469-9130 x305 or arehn@greendoors.com.


Announcing TLC’s February Year of Service Project

We’re still winding down from our first Year of Service project, but at the same time looking ahead to February when a group of TLC staff will head to Austin, Texas for our next project. We can’t wait to team up with our next organization, Green Doors.  

 

Green Doors is based in Austin and their mission is to prevent and help end homelessness in Central Texas by creating affordable, safe, quality housing for those in need; providing residents with access to support services; and educating about and advocating for individuals and families struggling with homelessness.

Volunteers on this project will spend two days (Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, February 29) helping staff at Green Doors prepare their community garden for spring harvest and also removing unwanted landscaping from their housing for homeless veterans. We look forward to getting a little dirty for this worthwhile cause!

Want to join TLC staff and a number of clients and friends who’ve already committed to the project? Contact Ashley Gunning at agunning@thelukenscompany.com or 703-845-8484 x231.

Make sure to check back here for a recap on this project and find out what we’re planning for our trip to New York in March.

TLC and Friends Conduct Beach Clean-Up with Heal the Bay

It was a sunny and mild January morning in Los Angeles when one enthusiastic bunch of TLC staff, along with local clients and vendors, met at Santa Monica Pier to take part in our very first Year of Service project – a beach clean-up with Heal the Bay.

The day started with an orientation led by Heal the Bay volunteer coordinator Kate Nevels where volunteers learned more about the organization’s important work protecting Southern California’s coastal waters.Then the group split into two teams (the Dirt Devils and the Kickin’ Butts) and the real work began.To keep things interesting, Heal the Bay organized two friendly competitions to determine who collected the most trash (congratulations, Dirt Devils!) and which team picked up the most cigarette butts (nice work, Kickin’ Butts!). Collectively the group picked up 61 lbs. of trash and the amount of cigarettes collected reached over four feet tall.

Our first Year of Service project was a great success. We’re proud to say everyone in attendance had a productive and rewarding experience. Danielle Brown, Vice President of Annual Giving, Natural History Museum LA summed the day up best, “Our mission at the NHM is to inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds and the task of cleaning the beach falls perfectly in-line with this. It was a wonderful way for me to build my team’s relationships with one another, align ourselves with the Museum’s mission, and spend some time bonding with one of our largest Museum partners (that’s you, TLC!).”

                      

Thank you to Heal the Bay, Natural History Museum LA, The Monaco Group, Hoon Designs and The Pinnacle List Company for helping with this project. For more information about volunteer opportunities with Heal the Bay, or to make a gift, contact Kate Nevels at 310-451-1500 x159 or knevels@healthebay.org

For more photos from this project, click here.

Announcing TLC’s January Year of Service Project

Organizing TLC’s Year of Service has been a labor of love, and there is still much to be done. But after a month-long nomination process and hours of research, we’re ecstatic to announce the very first organization we’re partnering with for TLC’s Year of Service (drumroll, please): Heal the Bay!

Heal the Bay is a LA-based nonprofit committed to making Southern California’s coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy and clean. In addition to organizing regular beach clean-ups, the organization uses a science-based approach to guide their education, community action and advocacy efforts. On January 24, staff from both our DC and LA offices, along with some of our LA based clients and vendors, will lead a one-day beach clean-up in Santa Monica with Heal the Bay.

Want to join TLC staff and a number of clients and friends who’ve already committed to the project? Contact Ashley Gunning at agunning@thelukenscompany.com or 703-845-8484 x231.

Stay tuned for a recap on this project later this month and also for the announcement of February’s charity in Austin, TX!