Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Today is Giving Tuesday. Here's how you can help

On December 1st, many nonprofits will double down on their fundraising efforts and the one I created is no different. With the support of online vendors such as Ebay or Amazon the industry will push to have the hashtag #GivingTuesday  trending, highlighting both the charity sector as a whole and their individual stories. Many worthy causes will introduce themselves to you and we all have one thing common: we want to make a difference. At the same time, smaller nonprofits like ours don't produce, make, sell or distribute anything and do not have a whole lot of power behind them. The sad reality we rely on donations and grants and a small handful of volunteers. Opportunities like this as we band together, are some of the few chances we have to convince you, to ask you  to give us a second look. We also have the attention of online payment tools, like PayPal, as they're trying to break the Guinness Book of Records world record for the biggest fundraising campaign today. Florida Disability Access and Awareness Foundation is part of that effort as well. If you donate, Paypal will forward 101% of your gift today. There's a lot of great stories.   Here's how I want to make a difference:

As someone who spent all his life in a wheelchair and proving I'm just as able, as capable, as professional as everybody else, I've  come to realize that while I'm doing all I can to prove myself, there's an issue with the public perception in  how it sees people like me. The problem is greater than me alone.  People with disabilities live in communities around you. I know first hand, we all want to feel included and appreciated, seen for more than just the external. To me it comes down to two major areas: being able to be mobile, function in the outside world and being able to access public areas with ease; And not having to deal with the stares, the looks, the well intended, but misplaced- pity. Just this Sunday a lady on the sidewalk attempted to give me a dollar she pulled out of her wallet. While in her mind she was helping someone in distress, the connection she made in her mind that disability equals trouble was the thing that worried me, not her actual actions. I need to educate people to change these attitudes and this is where I need your help.  This year, I'd like to focus FDAAF's action in following areas:
- To work as a disability clearing house by putting together a portal first in Florida, then beyond. We'd collect information on accessible buildings and areas, certify businesses as FDAAF approved on different levels, feature inspiring individuals with disabilities and stories of those who want to try their day in a wheelchair.
- A video is worth a thousand words. We have seen how we can change attitudes if we simply put people in a wheelchair, and then turn the camera on. In August we've spent an entire month giving business owners the wheelchair experience.  This is a project that inspired me to refocus on our mission, reenergized me and reassured me in what we were doing. I'm confident it needs to continue.

To me, it's a very personal cause. But I'm limited to how much I can do. I dedicated a lot of my time and money to make this vision come alive, and we're closer. But we do need your help. The harsh reality is that while we can lean on student volunteers to help us and they're eager to join and to learn- anything from t-shirts to pens and brochures cost money. We could do so much more with public support. We also hope to reach out to corporate sponsors- we can really make a difference together and reach out to a group of proud, independent, ambitious, driven people that are often overlooked. Please email me at rstrzalkowski@fdaaf.org.
If you can, visit the PayPal's challenge to donate today https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=74616&s=3

Or simply shop at Amazon via this link and they will donate on your behalf http://smile.amazon.com/ch/46-1804557

1 comment:

  1. It's an wonderful concept by the by. The creative crowdfunding ideas helps a lot to collect more funds and to snspire people to donate.