Gratitude and Celebration: The Journey of Generosity Comes to a Close!
Three years ago, we launched a very special fundraising campaign to mark Tewa Women United’s 30th anniversary: Wo’watsi: Na’ingbi aayaagi’i / Live for Our Children’s Future (we quickly learned that it was easier to call it by a shorter name: The Journey of Generosity!).
We recognized this landmark anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on our beginnings and honor our elders, envision the future, and invite our community to help strengthen our capacity to do our heart’s work for the next 30 years and beyond. The campaign began with great joy in the fall of 2019 with three wonderful events: the annual Gathering for Mother Earth, a benefit concert with Buffy Sainte-Marie, and a special evening at the Governor’s Mansion.
Now we are bringing this three-year capital campaign to a close, and we are celebrating your extraordinary generosity.
Since 2019 when the Journey of Generosity began, life changed for all of us as the COVID pandemic threatened our communities, and prompted us to make adjustments to this campaign. Even so, during these three years the Journey of Generosity has successfully raised more than $800,000!
With your support, we have accomplished these goals:
- Become full owners of our office building in Española, NM
In March of 2020, we were able to pay off the mortgage on our office building to become full owners – a truly momentous occasion! From an Indigenous perspective, we understand “wealth” to mean more than a financial profit line. It’s about providing for our community and families in all ways, and especially taking care of our Earth Mother and her waters for future generations. Wealth extends far beyond money, and yet it’s a reality that we need to reckon with. As Native women, to be able to own this space supports our sustainability and helps to build wealth for future generations. Through ownership, this building will provide continuity for our work into the coming generations.
- Strengthen our emergency reserve fund
Donations from this capital campaign have helped us to grow our emergency reserve fund so that TWU can continue to serve our communities in holistic and transformative ways. Grants from federal and other external sources often come with narrow requirements in how tasks must be achieved. By having the capacity to rely more on our own economic base, we can respond to these times from a position of strength and creative vision, based in sovereignty and self-determination.
- Renovate and upgrade current facilities
Funding from this campaign has enabled us to take care of much-needed renovations on our office building and to address issues to ensure the safety of people and facilities. Since March 2020 when we transitioned to a telecommuting model in order to protect staff health, our office building has been more vulnerable to break-ins. Your donations have allowed us to install a fence around the entire perimeter of property, add other security measures, and to take care of many other long-delayed building needs. Your donations have also enabled us to establish a building maintenance fund so we can continue to take good care of our physical space.
- Establish a Staff Wellness Fund
Thanks to your donations, we have finally been able to establish a Staff Wellness Fund which provides our hard-working staff with health care benefits, increased paid time off, and a sabbatical program for longer-term staff. In this time of COVID, this kind of self-care has become even more important, especially since many of our staff are parents and some of them are taking care of their elders. We want to share this story from one of our staff, Diana, about what the Staff Wellness Fund has meant for her and her family:
“I was getting dental work done the day the Wellness money was distributed. It turned out I needed to purchase special equipment for a tooth I am trying to save due to wearing my mouth guard. This Wellness money also came in time to help me purchase a new pair of glasses to replace a pair that my daughter lost at school. We have a lot of waiting on our end with the Indian Health Services. Dental is backed up one year and there is a three-week waiting estimate for eyeglasses. Thank you for your support. I am using the money to take care of these needs and am also able to save for my next wellness expense.”
All of this has been made possible by your extraordinary generosity.
As we bring Wo’watsi: Na’ingbi aayaagi’i / Live for Our Children’s Future to a close, we offer our deepest thanks to each of you who contributed not only financially but from your hearts to make this vision become a reality. We also have great gratitude for all our staff, past and present, who have been part of our ongoing story. We are honored to be in Beloved Community with you.