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 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.

Game. On.

It’s DCAF Game-a-Thon time and that means it’s time to help us raise money for the thousands of people seeking abortion care in the DC area!

What’s a Game-a-Thon? It’s our annual peer-to-peer fundraiser which concludes with an afternoon of our community coming together to play board games, jenga, cornhole, and more to celebrate raising tons of money for abortions.

Last year, we raised a record breaking amount: more than a third of DCAF’s budget for the year! And after we raised all those dollars, we got to celebrate with other awesome pro-choice people.

Now, more than ever, we need your help to raise money for patients who can’t afford the full cost of their abortion. We’re facing a multitude of state and national restrictions designed to deny access to abortion, especially for people of color and people with low-incomes.

Here’s what you can do: Gather a few friends to start a team, create your online fundraising page, and commit to raising as much money as you can by asking your friends and family to donate. Then come hang with the coolest pro-choice people in town to celebrate.

Not sure about fundraising? Don’t worry. We’ll provide tons of fundraising tips to make raising money for abortion access fun and easy!

If you aren’t in the DC area, or won’t be able to attend the event in person, please still consider joining a team. A great deal is done online, so as long as you have an Internet connection, you can help out!

Let’s rock this year’s Game-a-Thon together as we work to make abortion accessible — and have a blast while doing it!

WHO: You and the raddest abortion rights advocates in the DMV
WHAT: DCAF Game-a-Thon
WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 12-3 p.m.
WHERE: Exact location given upon registration (Downtown DC – Metro accessible)

Bonus points for creative team names…and coordinating costumes. Yes, there will be prizes. Join the fun at #Games4DCAF and #Bowl18 on Twitter and Instagram.

Partners in Choice: Catholics for Choice

Editor’s Note: Catholics for Choice is a sponsor for our Peace, Joy, and Choice holiday party. Thank you to the entire Catholics for Choice team for your work and your support. All answers below are attributed to Glenn Northern, Director of the Domestic Program at Catholics for Choice.

What is the mission of Catholics for Choice?

As the new Director of the Domestic Program at Catholics for Choice working here has been a dream come true. I have spent my adult professional life working in the field of reproductive health rights and justice, and I am incredibly proud to work towards helping make sure that every woman is able to exercise her conscience.

We do such important work at the nexus of religion and reproductive health because Catholics for Choice represents the vast majority of Catholics around the world who disagree with our church’s hierarchy on abortion, contraception, religious liberty and the role of religion in the public sphere. We lift up the lived expression of Catholicism as everyday Catholics around the world see it. Catholics for Choice trusts women and men to make their own moral decisions on important moral matters including reproductive health. We do so because the Catholic social justice tradition teaches us that each individual should have the right and the means to follow their conscience in moral decision making, and never denied the care they need based on how much money is in their pocket or because another’s beliefs impede it.

Why do you support the DC Abortion Fund?

Personally, I have given money to DCAF because it is important to me to make sure that every woman has the ability to make the choices that are best for her. It is wrong that someone should not be able to afford the healthcare that they need. It is wrong that someone should be denied an abortion because they cannot afford it. I, like my colleagues at Catholics for Choice, want to do my part to ensure that all women can exercise their right to choose.

From an organizational standpoint, Catholics for Choice is a proud sponsor of DCAF and has been from the beginning because DCAF instills the social justice values we at Catholics for Choice hold dear. Our staff has always been inspired by DCAF because they provide support, hope and resources for those who need an abortion. Because of DCAF, reproductive healthcare in the District is more equitable, and this is a goal that I think we can all get behind.

What did CFC do in 2017 of which you are most proud?

It’s so funny that you ask that! Just yesterday, I was talking with a partner about how even though I have been in reproductive rights for so long, one of our recent campaigns still managed to totally floor me. A lot of my drive for reproductive rights comes from working towards justice and dignity for all, and I think that our recent Abortion in Good Faith campaign was a particularly moving expression of both of these values that I hold close to my heart.

Abortion in Good Faith showcases the voices of Catholics from various walks of life who believe that all women deserve the right to equitable reproductive healthcare, including abortion access—no matter how much money they have, where they live or what they believe. This campaign loudly and unapologetically shows how public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value and why Catholics across the United States stand with women and their right to decide. We were able to feature everyday Catholics: a feisty but gentle grandmother, an earnest and thoughtful graduate student, a determined mother and former legislator and others, all of whom articulate why they, as Catholics, support public funding for abortion access.

These were all remarkable individuals, and I am proud to play a part in lifting their voices. Here are some examples to show you just why this campaign moved me so much.

    

More tangibly, the campaign played a role in the Illinois Governor signing HB 40 into law, lifting the state funding restrictions for abortion under Medicaid and the state employee’s health insurance program. It’s not every day that you get to see the direct, meaningful impact of your work, so this was a special moment for us.

Bringing it back to DCAF, Catholic social justice means we take care of our neighbors, especially those with fewer resources than we might have. This is the goal of ours through Abortion in Good Faith, and DCAF works every day to make that a reality for each and every woman who seeks their help. I am really proud to work for an organization that supports DCAF.

What are your reproductive rights resolutions for 2018?

My resolution is to continue fighting back—to do what seems difficult and prevail. This past year has been particularly difficult, but it’s said that it is always darkest in the middle of a tunnel, so I know that the light is on its way.

Personally, I am committing to use my heart, mind, skills and energy to make real a world where all people are able to exercise their conscience without coercion, stigma or financial barriers hindering their choice of what is best for them.

As a team, Catholics for Choice sees 2018 as an opportunity to win big for women’s autonomy. We will continue to offer thought leadership in Conscience magazine, expand our outreach both at home and abroad and serve as a voice for the majority of Catholics who are, in fact, prochoice. We’re ready to keep fighting.

Cheers to Choice!

It’s been quite the year of growth for the DC Abortion Fund! We provided funding for almost 1,400 patients, and more than 400 volunteers stepped up this year to answer calls from patients, stuff envelopes, fundraise and host events, and advocate for the right for everyone to be able to access abortion care. And we have a new president!

Join us next month to toast our incredible community at our annual Peace, Joy, and Choice holiday party on Tuesday, Dec. 5!

Here are the details:

Who: You and the rest of the DCAF community
What: DCAF’s Peace, Joy, and Choice Holiday Party
When: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St., NW)

Get your early bird ticket for a suggested donation of $20 today! After November 20, the ticket price will go up to $25. Tickets will also be available at the door for a $30 donation.

If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, please click here to learn more about levels and packages. The funds raised for this event — like all donations to DCAF — will help to continue to make abortion accessible for all.

On Twitter or Instagram? Follow along on the hashtag #DCAFparty. We look forward to seeing you there!

Taco + Beer + DCAF = Perfection.

Do you love tacos, or beer, or both? Same! You should join us for the fourth annual Taco or Beer Challenge!

How does this work? Just eat a taco, drink a beer, and donate to DCAF. It’s easy (and delicious).

Taco or Beer Challenge – Night 1
Monday, Aug. 21, 6:00 p.m.
El Camino (108 Rhode Island Ave., NW)
RSVP on Facebook

Taco or Beer Challenge – Night 2
Friday, Aug. 25, 6:00 p.m.
Mission (1606 20th St., NW)
RSVP on Facebook

Please note that both spaces are wheelchair accessible.*

Bonus: at both events, we’ll be honoring our outgoing president and fearless leader Kersha Deibel and thanking her for her service over the past two years.

Can’t make it? The beauty of the Taco or Beer Challenge is that you can do it anywhere! Just grab a beer and/or a tacomake a donation, and share on social media at #ToBC17.

*Mission’s staff is trained to keep an eye out for guests needing to use the wheelchair accessible entrance. They will walk the guest around the building and in through the back kitchen door. The main floor is all one level and there is a wheelchair accessible restroom.

DCAF at Pride 2017

Our LGBTQ outreach team leads, Jane S. and Tekla T., with the help of DC Abortion Fund veteran Andrea G., led an amazing team of volunteers to staff our table at Capital Pride 2017! Tekla and Jane made poster boards encouraging Pride attendees to write the reasons why abortion access was important to them. This really got folks engaged and led to some great conversations.

Some of the reasons that participants shared with us:

“Because self-determination is a human right!”

“It is MY body. So it is MY choice (amen!)”

“I’m sick of old white men making decisions about MY body.”

“Reproductive choice is beautiful. Reproductive coercion is an atrocity.”  

One of our poster boards, midway through getting filled up with reasons to support abortion access!

Louisa S., one of our volunteers, holds up a sign encouraging Pride attendees to tell us their reasons for supporting abortion access.

We spoke with so many people who support the right to choose in different ways: abortion providers, people who have had abortions, and people who have seen how crucial access to abortion was for a loved one. Many people told us about how accessing abortion care enabled them to pursue their life goals.

Dozens of folks signed up as interested volunteers and proudly wore our buttons, beads, and other swag. Seeing so much enthusiasm for abortion access in the LGBTQ community was amazing, and we’re really looking forward to building more connections.

Jane S., one of our LGBTQ outreach team leads, with Sarah M., one of our fantastic volunteers.

We want to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, our dedicated and phenomenal volunteers! Thank you so much to Emily C., Caitlin G., Kristina T., Alyse C., Erin C., Sarah M., Maureen D., Erik K., Georgia M., and Grace M., who held up signs, got folks interested in working with DCAF, braved the summer heat, and had both inspiring and difficult conversations with the many people who stopped by.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the LGBTQ Outreach Team, or any other aspect of DCAF, let us know! Send an email to volunteer@dcabortionfund.org, and we’ll put you in touch with our leads.

by volunteer Tekla T.

Dry Land performance with DCAF

Credit: Forum Theatre

We are proud to be a partner of Forum Theatre’s #NastyWomenRep which started on March 16. What Every Girl Should Know by Monica Byrne and Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel examine the devastating consequences when women are denied their physical and emotional autonomy.

We need this conversation now more than ever.

As part of our partnership, Forum is donating 50% of the proceeds from the box office on Thursday, March 30 to DC Abortion Fund! We hope you’ll come out to see the show and raise money for DCAF.

Use discount code DCAF when you purchase tickets to the March 30, 8 p.m. performance of Dry Land for 30% off the normal ticket price. There will also be a special post-show discussion with DCAF volunteers following the performance.

Can’t make it on March 30? You can still use discount code DCAF to purchase tickets for every other performance of Dry Land and What Every Girl Should Know. After the April 7 performance, DCAF representatives will be joining a post-show panel on policy issues raised in the plays.