September, 2020

COIPP Moves Forward!

“I have to tell you when [XXX] put on her new shoes I picked up on Saturday, she said, ‘I love these so much, I’m never taking them off!’ Thank you again for everything you do for all of these children. Your organization truly makes this so much easier and bearable to know someone cares about us.”

Love.

Testimonial received from a grandmother after a recent COVID Emergency Giveaway

The COVID restrictions keep us busy as we try to meet the needs of our children and their families, and at the same time follow the rules of social distancing and wearing a mask.
With this in mind, we have continued to go forward in ways we never thought about before.  September has been no exception. Below are some September highlights. However, other than focusing on our usual activities, I am going to use the space to take you “back stage” at the kinds of things we do to keep COIPP alive. 

Fundraising-I would say that this month has had us overwhelmingly busy raising money to support all of our efforts. While this is not as much fun as doing our actual activities, it is a necessity. For one, we mailed out a letter asking for donations, something that is of great importance since we cannot have our yearly Silent Auction. As of today, we have had an overwhelming response, raising $5,990, with more expected. We are so grateful to all of our COIPP friends. I also want to offer a great big “Thank You” to Sally Smith who led this initiative. It took lots of organizing, and she did it perfectly!

Grant Writing– We have been working on grants that will allow us to move forward. For example, we have applied for and received help for a part-time grants manager from the Community Foundation. We have applied for and received help for assistance with data entry from the Ausherman Foundation. In addition, we have written and continue to write grants for more Resource Boxes for families and funding for children’s books.  Pat Rosensteel has taken the lead with this effort, and I could not be more grateful. With her at the helm, lots of others have come forward to assist with editing and doing the appropriate follow up. What a team!  

Spreading The COIPP word– This month brought two interesting speaking engagements.c
Mid- month I was able to do two Zoom meetings with members of education classes at
Mt. St. Mary’s College. I was also able to speak to several groups at Hood college who had an interest in volunteering. As always, young people who care about helping others makes my day!  I heartily thank Stacy Brown Hobbs at the Mount and the team at Hood for making this possible. I have already received follow up requests from both groups. 

COIPP Retreat- Every year we hold one retreat for all board members. This year we focused
on  our Strategic Plan to make sure we are moving forward. We also shared some videos on the effect of having a parent in jail, as well as statistics on this topic, including disproportionality, a key part of our work this year was to brainstorm additional activities we feel our families may need. One cannot thank a board enough for giving so freely of their personal time.  Thank you: Pat Rosensteel, Sally Smith, Shirley White,  Theresa Posthuma, Gretta Benson, Pat Einhorn, Cindi Diamondstone, Cathy Anderson, Ally Elspas, Larissa Metzger, Donna Quatman Wilder, Sue Guissinger, and Vanessa Thomas.

Website Update- We are going to be working with a company to create a database with all needed COIPP information. In order to get ready for this work, we had to begin to migrate our present website. Thanks to a few of us (Sally, Pat, and me) getting together to edit our present site, we were able to make all of the changes needed. However, it was board member Ally Elspas who did all of the editing we needed to do before the migration could best happen. Thank you, Ally. We are very grateful!

Budget Updates- A few months ago, Theresa Posthuma agreed to become our COIPP treasurer. Since she took this on, she has not stopped working. Now we have a smooth financial reporting system, new ways to check on the amount spent on our grants, and a way to repay those who lay out money quickly and accurately. We know that a good organization needs a well kept budget. Thank you, Theresa. 

Looking to the future– It is clear that we need to begin to consider our future, including a paid Executive Director position for COIPP.  This month a few of us met with Michele Nusum Smith of The Word Woman to talk about how we go about planning for this. We took it back to our Board and have decided we will keep planning so that when the right time comes, we are ready. I love COIPP, but also know that it is good for organizations to have fresh leadership. However, I have no plans to step away from COIPP; I just hope to serve it differently as I age out of leadership.

The usual activities keep happening. We delivered over 300 prestamped Postcards to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center (FCADC) so that those in jail can stay in touch with their loved ones. We planned for our next COVID Emergency Giveaway, to be held in early October, and we have continued to plan for our early October Respite meeting. In addition,
we have lots of new initiatives on the table that we hope to pursue.   

Our work is never done, but all our participants keep us going! We thank each of you who takes the time to read our Blog. Please share it with a friend. We want everyone to know about COIPP.

Stay well!

Shari

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