It Takes a Village

We know the work we do together to help fund abortions is critical, because everyone deserves access to abortion care. But when we receive notes like this, it truly drives the point home:

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for guiding us through this and advocating for my daughter and our family. I am overcome with the outpouring of support and want you to know how appreciative we are…she will go on and be a fierce, independent college student in the fall. I am so grateful. Please pass along our gratitude, words just don’t seem to be enough.” – Maria*, mother of DCAF grant recipient

Every person who calls our helpline is different and has their own unique story. But one thing remains the same: they all deserve the right to access the healthcare they need, regardless of what’s in their wallets or where they live.

DCAF’s work truly takes a village, and we appreciate all that you do to make sure our callers receive the care they deserve! We’re so proud of our work together during the Game-a-Thon fundraiser to raise over $115K — and your work throughout the year to speak with our helpline callers, host events, stuff envelopes, and so much more.

This movement needs all of us to keep showing up, day after day, to make sure callers like Maria and her daughter can access abortion. Numerous obstacles and policies are set up to restrict access to care, but together we can work to break down those barriers.

You can continue to help us fund callers like Maria and her daughter by making a one-time or monthly gift.

*Name changed for privacy.

500 Volunteers and Counting

This spring, the DC Abortion Fund hit an important milestone: 500 volunteers!

As an all-volunteer organization, this number is HUGE for us. Our volunteers are working at the ground level directly with patients who need funding for their abortions. By growing our volunteer base, we are better able to serve our community and work toward making abortion access a reality in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

If you’ve ever been interested in volunteering with DCAF, the first thing you probably hear about is case managing. Our case managers handle our helpline, and are the ones speaking to patients every day. They are advisors and problem-solvers, not only assisting with the actual funding for the procedure, but also insight into other funding options and recommended clinics.

Case managing can be time-consuming and might not fit into everyone’s schedule, but don’t worry! There are tons of other ways to get involved in DCAF.

Some other volunteer opportunities include:

  • Event planning. Each year, we organize two large events (the holiday party and Game-a-Thon), as well as smaller get-togethers and fundraisers.
  • Fundraising. Our development team is always looking for help raising money and recruiting donors. They also need volunteers for smaller activities like stuffing envelopes and phone banking to our donors.
  • Community outreach. DCAF is building our community outreach program, and would love new volunteers to jump in and help us build relationships with and support the communities that we serve, especially the local black, Latinx, LGBTQ, and faith communities.
  • Advocacy. With so much new legislation focusing on reproductive rights, our new advocacy team is focused on making sure DCAF is heard by lawmakers, and that we are a voice for our patients and their needs.
  • Coding. We have an amazing platform that helps us effectively and efficiently serve our patients. Help us fix bugs and build new features to grow with our increasing number of patients.

These are just a few of the many ways to get involved with DCAF, but there are always more. Do you love accounting? Data? Marching? Writing? We have an opportunity for you.

To sign up, get more information, or offer an idea, fill out our volunteer form or email us at volunteer@dcabortionfund.org.

By volunteer Carrie E.

Game-a-Thon fundraisers smash goals, barriers to care

A pivotal election year can sometimes mean nonprofit fundraising runs a little dry, but this year, DC Abortion Fund advocates proved that there’s no rest when it comes to ensuring access to abortion care in the DMV.

Photo by volunteer Ashton K.

Photo by volunteer Ashton K.

More than 130 volunteers — some veterans and plenty of rookies — helped bulldoze past DCAF’s $80,000 goal for this year’s Game-a-Thon, our annual fundraiser, which raises more than a quarter of the organization’s budget each year. While nationwide fundraising was a little slow, DCAF fundraisers showed real hustle throughout the peer-to-peer fundraising. At the time of publishing, our volunteers had raised more than $95,000. And with a matching grant from a generous donor, we’re poised to pass even last year’s record-breaking $103,000 total!

Photo by volunteer Ashton K.

We celebrated this year’s successes on April 28 at Penn Social, where gamers, volunteers, and supporters enjoyed classic board games, arcade opportunities, and more. We highlighted some of the gamers who went above and beyond in their fundraising, and we looked great doing it!

Game-a-Thon wouldn’t be the same without the help of our generous sponsors. Shout out to Bossed Up, Chez Billy Sud, Kali Yoga Studio, Lotus Blooms, Maggie Germano Financial Coaching, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington for their help in making this event really sparkle!

Feeling inspired to give? It’s never too late to donate! You can even set yourself up as a monthly sustaining donor — making choice a reality all year round.

By volunteer Lindsey W., who also wrote about why she participates in the Game-a-Thon each year.

Why I Fundraise for DCAF

I fundraise for the DC Abortion Fund because I see the actual impact our dollars make.

The feeling of utter awe at the difference we’re making is clear to me every two weeks when I take a trip to our mailbox to retrieve our completed pledges from clinics. Often times the mailbox is overflowing, as the mailperson has stuffed it to its edges with completed pledges from clinics, each pledge a statement that we were able to help a person seek the abortion they wanted. Each pledge is also a bill we have to pay, for $100, $300, $600, or much more.

As the treasurer, it is both an amazing and watchful experience paying these bills, as I’m thrilled for the difference we make, but always vigilant and hopeful that we can raise the funds to make this difference. Since I see the direct impact of our dollars, and account for each dollar that comes into and leaves the organization, I see the astounding influence this yearly fundraiser has on our ability to serve our neighbors.

Thank you for fundraising. I cannot begin to tell you the amazing impact you are making.

By volunteer and treasurer Emily C.

 

You can donate to the Game-a-Thon by clicking here — or sign up to join a team! 

Why I Game-a-Thon

I’m writing this in between posting pictures of my cat on Instagram. This might be a normal activity for me, but at this time of year, these pictures serve a purpose. They’re a personal, public thank-you to some high-dollar donors to my Game-a-Thon efforts.

This is my eighth Game-a-Thon with the DC Abortion Fund. Gather ’round, kids, as I tell you a tale of the time when we did actually bowl in D.C. like the rest of the country!

I joke about my age and history with DCAF. But this year I’m more serious than ever before about our efforts to raise at least $80,000 for the thousands of people who will call our helpline this year. As a case manager, I’ve had the privilege and frustrating honor to talk with many of them. They are the reason I push harder to raise more money every year.

The people who call our helpline are smart. They’re resourceful. They’re often frustrated, because it’s HARD to navigate finding a clinic and raising hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for health care that is often not covered by insurance or Medicaid, and then to have to call strangers to ask for more help. Sometimes they’re mad. I’m mad too. It’s not fair that laws restricting abortion access target mostly low-income women and women of color. Sometimes they’re scared: Of protestors, of abusive partners, of the way their friends and family might react if they knew their loved one needed an abortion. Sometimes they’re sad, and I’m sad too: They may be calling to end a wanted pregnancy. They’re sometimes moms, and sometimes not. Sometimes I don’t talk to the patient, but I talk to their mom, or their partner, or their sister. Sometimes the patient is all alone.

While every call is different, they all end the same way: With relief. Yes, we can help. Yes, DCAF can help you pay for your abortion, and we can help you find other resources, too. Yes, this is one less thing you have to worry about. Our pledge is waiting for you at the clinic.

I don’t pretend to believe that we’re changing lives here. The patients who call DCAF are mostly very low-income, with families, often without jobs. None of that changes when we get off the phone. But we were able to make this one thing a little easier. To me, that’s everything. As a case manager, I can help, just a little bit. But I can’t do that without your help.

If you haven’t signed up for Game-a-Thon, I encourage you to do so. Our all-volunteer team makes it easy, with a toolkit that takes all the heavy lifting out of fundraising. If you can’t sign up, I encourage you to donate to one of our intrepid gamers. You can look for your friends to donate to them directly, or maybe you’d like to help someone who’s just getting started. Or maybe at the beginning of this blog post, you thought “I would like a picture of a cat as a thank you.” You can donate to me, then, too.

No matter how you give, please know that every dollar donated furthers our mission to help everyone access the care they need and deserve. You can be the one who makes things just a little bit better.

That’s huge. That’s everything. Thank you.

By volunteer Lindsey W.

Together, we inspired hope for the future.

2017 was a year most of us won’t soon forget. Under a new administration that has already proven itself to be hostile toward reproductive rights, it was also a year that DCAF supporters increased their support of access to abortion care for patients in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas.

With a rise in donations, volunteers, and community outreach, your support made a direct impact in meeting the needs of patients. You can view our FY17 annual report here.

A few key highlights:

  • We worked with almost 4,500 callers on our funding helpline, 88% of whom live in DC, Maryland, or Virginia.
  • We doubled the number of DCAF volunteers.
  • DCAF case managers distributed $230K in grants to 1,446 pledges.

Help make 2018 even more successful — GIVE TODAY at dcabortionfund.org/donate.

 

Rise up for Roe!

Jan. 22, 1973 is an important day for reproductive rights. It was the day the Supreme Court announced its decision in the Roe vs. Wade case—its decision to legalize abortion in the U.S.

However, Roe has not completely protected the right to choose. Since 1973, anti-choice politicians have introduced and passed laws that roll back reproductive rights across the country, and clinics, doctors, and patients continue to be targets of harassment and violence. Far too many people still have their access to abortion delayed or denied due to their income or insurance status.

Today provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the implications of Roe and the strides we have made together as a movement. It is also a time to recognize that this constitutionally protected healthcare service remains out of reach for many people because of political and economic barriers—barriers that disproportionately impact people with lower incomes and people of color.

We encourage you to take action by committing to fight for reproductive justice today and every day. You can sign up to be a DCAF volunteermake a monthly or one-time gift, or help us raise funds and combat abortion stigma by joining our Game-a-Thon peer-to-peer fundraiser this spring (details coming shortly).

In solidarity,

Jeryl Hayes
DCAF President

P.S. Throughout the day, we’ll be tweeting on the hashtag #RiseUpForRoe. Join us!

Get To Know Our New President

This fall, the DC Abortion Fund named Jeryl Hayes as our new president. We asked Jeryl a few questions so our volunteers and supporters can get to know our new leader a little better, and to get her thoughts on reproductive justice today.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in DC since 2011. I originally came to get my masters of law at American University after getting my J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. As a policy wonk, I love living in our nation’s capital and have found some incredible communities here. In my spare time, I enjoy playing softball on the Mall with my rec team (Summer League champions for two years running!), exploring DC’s restaurants and bars with friends, and taking my pup Max to the dog park.

What inspires your volunteer work with DCAF (or, what makes you DCAF?)

I have long admired the impressive abortion support work that DCAF provides for the DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities, particularly in utilizing an all-volunteer team to carry out DCAF’s goals. I’m excited for the opportunity to engage in the direct services of the policies for which I have spent my professional career advocating.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your time as president?

I’m looking forward to seeing the ways that DCAF can respond to the needs of our patients and our community. DCAF is about to implement a strategic plan that will further our goals and mission, and will find ways to serve more people and be able to continue to grow, despite the current political focus on rolling back reproductive rights.

How do you stay optimistic in unfriendly political climates?

Although our nation seems more divided than ever, I have been pleasantly surprised by people who have become engaged with the political process instead of being on the sidelines. The grassroot efforts to combat restrictions on health care generally, and abortion and contraceptive care specifically, have been incredibly inspirational. Hearing stories about folks who have put their legislators contact information on speed dial and regularly call their members of Congress has helped me stay optimistic in the face of the current political climate. Seeing people across the country, especially young people, women, and LGBTQ people decide to run for office or get involved with exciting candidates renews my faith that everything will be okay.

What advice do you have for new volunteers or those looking for ways to get involved in the fight for reproductive justice?

There are some incredible reproductive justice advocates working for amazing organizations all across the country and here in DC. Support as many grassroots organizations as you can, including donating to support the work on the ground they are pursuing, engaging and sharing their social media content, and educating yourself about the barriers that still remain in the fight for reproductive justice.