Was it a mistake? $10,000 seemed too good to be true.
HOPE Network—a grassroots, non-sectarian, self-help support system—serves single mothers and single pregnant women in five Southeastern Wisconsin counties. Built on the vision of founder Gail Grenier Sweet, the dedication of its staff and board of directors, and the support of local business/community partners, this non-profit organization has been around for 35 years.
It operates with a small budget. Works out of a classroom. Depends on volunteers. Many of its Menomonee Falls neighbors don’t even know HOPE Network exists. No wonder, then, that when reading an announcement of an unexpected $10,000 donation coming from T.J.Maxx, HOPE Network News Editor Pauline Beck thought there was one zero too many. She had to read the e-mail twice.
No mistake, the $10,000 check was delivered just days ago to HOPE. Now they get to put the retail giant’s generous donation to good work. Like providing safe sleep environments for babies thru Pack ‘N Play portable cribs. What’s more, every mom-to-be who receives one of the cribs is taught safe sleep practices by a public health nurse.
Starting early 2018, the T.J.Maxx funds will also help expand awareness in Waukesha County of the HOPE Network crib and layette program.
Getting recognized by such a large discount store chain should also help the non-profit’s other programs. More visibility, for instance, will spread the word about HOPE’s scholarships, clothing banks and free services.
Recognition will assist with HOPE’s different drives for diapers, kids’ gift cards, back to-school supplies and backpacks, fundraising appeals, etc.
The network’s “most powerful tool,” according to Executive Director Rachel Holley Sciortino, is HOPE Network News, a resource publication for single mothers. Rachel says it’s “one-stop shopping for people who are in need.” The publication is mailed to nearly 17,500 people every quarter, including single mothers, clinics, agencies and social workers. It’s an amazing resource directory-of-sorts and represents a lot of effort on HOPE’s part and a lot of generosity from the community at large.
Another tool is the non-profit’s annual Fall FUNdraiser; this year it’s called, “35 and Stayin’ Alive!” Open to the public, it’ll be held on Friday, October 6, 2017, at Davians Conference Center in Menomonee Falls and includes musical entertainment, dinner, raffles and auctions.
For over 3 decades, HOPE Network has been quietly, diligently working with vulnerable segments of society. Mothers gain a sense of community, develop friendships and receive emotional and material support. They learn to be more self-reliant; they receive grants for tuition and/or day-care costs while in school. Children get to enjoy free activities. Babies sleep safely. Thousands in the Greater Milwaukee community regularly receive an invaluable resource publication.
An unexpected phone call conveying wonderful news. National attention for all its efforts. A financial boost that every non-profit dreams of. Too good to be true? Not at all for HOPE Network.