By Cathleen | March 2, 2010
You might already know Sherry Delaney. She’s been part of the Giving Circle long enough not to be sure when she joined, been involved with the Alexandria Red Cross, the Early Childhood Commission of Alexandria and chairs the ACPS Talented and Gifted Advisory Board. But do you know about the Safety Net Project, created by Sherry to make it easy for people in Alexandria to directly and immediately help families in need?
“The Safety Net Project is a network of community donors who commit to provide a single $25 gift card to an Alexandria City Public School when an in-school social worker identifies a family in need. These small gifts tide families through short-term emergencies until they can be connected with available social services. The program also helps working families who are over income for many social service programs, but still one illness or missed paycheck away from financial crisis. Donors receive an e-mail when their gift is needed and they deliver the gifts directly to the schools. The commitment to our donors is to ask for a gift card only once or twice in a calendar year.” There is more to this story, just make the click and find out!
What challenges did you face in kicking off this program?
“Growing the network of donors is the biggest challenge to making the network self-sustaining over time. Robin Wallin, the head nurse at ACPS, was super supportive in helping me get the administrative process organized with ACPS central office staff. We had to backtrack a little this fall to reestablish this administrative process due to changes brought about by the new Superintendent, but the in-school social workers and principals have been great throughout and we are moving forward.”
What can you share about the impact The Safety Net Project has had in the community?
Also, The Safety Net Project was honored by ACPS last year with a 2009 District-wide Partner in Education Award, “In appreciation for outstanding service and commitment to all Students of the Alexandria City Public Schools.”
What plans do you have for The Safety Net Project this year?
“The priority this year is to keep the rotation of donors growing quickly by continuing to spread the word about The Safety Net Project. Our generous founding sponsors and couple of additional kind donors have kept us going as the rotation has gradually grown. But this project is predicated on the belief that the small donations of many people can have a large impact if the gifts are wisely directed. That’s my ultimate vision.
The Safety Net Project and the Giving Circle of Alexandria share the same philosophy, that little gifts wisely invested can make a big difference. How can I make a contribution to the Safety Net Project?
“If you would like to add your name and email address to the rotation of Safety Net Project Donors, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do have a couple of schools whose families are much harder hit than others these days, which could use donations of several gift cards, and I know those social workers would be grateful in anyone wants to make a larger contribution.
Finally, please share information about the Safety Net Project with people and organizations you know so we can continue to grow the network of donors. You can help spread the word through organization newsletters, by asking me to come tell your group about The Safety Net Project or even in your general conversations with friends..
Any words of encouragement or advice for other women wanting to take action on a community need?
Inspiring! Sherry Delaney asks a single question receives a simple answer and, because of her passion and compassion, uses that information to create a service to bring some relief and stability to families all over Alexandria. Do you know another Giving Circle “Member in Motion?” Are you a Member in Motion yourself? Let us know so we can introduce you next!