Thursday, December 31, 2020

Beside the Real World

Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world. 

~ Andre Maurois

Today is the eve of a new year. In the past, I've been able to make small but regular donations to suicide prevention non-profits. In 2020, because of income lost due to pandemic related reasons, I was no longer able to do this on my own. 

As with all of the economy, non-profits have suffered a severe blow to their income streams this year. This is particularly troubling for suicide prevention organizations, given the impact of the pandemic on mental illness. While there is no definitive data showing that suicide completion rates have risen, calls to suicide prevention hotlines have increased significantly. 

"Thousands of anxious, stressed, isolated and uncertain callers are flooding helplines nationwide. They are teenagers and senior citizens. They have lost jobs, homes and relatives. Some express suicidal thoughts or fears that their positive COVID-19 test is a death sentence. Others reach out in the throes of a panic attack."

As calls to crisis hotlines spike amid the coronavirus, those who respond feel the strain; Suzanne Hurt, USA Today, June 15, 2020.

So, suicide prevention non-profits are essential, while funding those organizations is in peril. The Association of Fundraising Professionals says preliminary data for 2020 indicates non profits will see a decline upwards of $25 billion dollars in donor funds this year, when compared to 2019. 

For well over a decade I worked professionally in a non-profit fundraising capacity. I can attest to the fact that every single dollar counts when it comes to funding charitable organizations, and there is no donation too small to make a difference.

Given all of the above, I decided to be creative, literally, so that I could continue to make small donations to a cause that is so close to my heart.

I knew what I wanted to do to raise money, and I knew why. When my mother died, I inherited all of her art supplies. I used them to create art of my own. I healed in those moments. I believed that my mother would have been proud of what I was doing. Over the years, my art has begun to lean toward the whimsical. My mother would like that, too. So, I decided that offering my art for sale would be an appropriate way to honor her memory and it would help to combat the thing that took her life, too.

Over many years, I've also collected a lot of collage ephemera and other supplies. I now have a surplus. In order to increase sales dollars that I could donate, I decided to sell much of my supply collection as well. I do not sell anything at a profit.

For every 10 items sold, I donate $10 to an organization. The donations I've made are small, but - as I've said - when it comes to funding non-profit organizations, I know that every penny counts.

Below you will find a list of organizations and the dates they received donations. At year's end, 2020, we've donated a total of $100 to nine different organizations. (Click here to be directed to a page that will reflect current information on donations to date.) 

For all of you who have bought something from the ChelStroud etsy store - thank you for making these donations possible. 

August 2020, $10 To Write Love On Her Arms.

On 9/16/20 we made a $10 donation to the American Association of Suicidology.

On 10/28/20 $10 to The Trevor Project.

On 9/12/20 we made a $10 donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On 9/24/20 we made a $10 donation to the Contra Costs County Crisis Center.

On 10/26/20 $10 to 2020 Moms.

*Note: The Lighting Up the Sky blog is not a non-profit (nor is it monetized). This blog exists to provide education about suicide loss and prevention, and to give a voice to those whose lives have been touched by suicide. I (Chelise Stroud) am not paid for any of the content on this blog. While sales transactions on the ChelArt etsy storemake it possible for me to make donations to these organizations - buyers should not consider their purchases charitable donations for tax purposes.