This Thank You x 1,000 = A Fraction of Our Gratitude

thank you!I've been waiting to be done with the accounting and for some larger donations to come in after the end of the year I knew were arriving to tell you what I'm about to say. I didn't want to be hasty with it and list an amount that was less than was actually raised, but I also needed some final verifications and tallies to be sure that I wasn't hallucinating.

Scarleteen's fundraising goal for the end-of-year appeal we began in early November was met. That's something that has never happened for us before.

But it gets even better.

Not only did we meet our goal, everyone's donations and grants substantially exceeded our goal.

We set a goal of raising $24,000 in two months. With all the dust settling, it appears that over $32,000 was raised, surpassing our goal by over eight thousand dollars.

(You see why I was sure I had lost my marbles completely and had taken up residence in Lalaland now, right?)

Before this last fundraiser, the most we had ever raised from a single online fundraising appeal was around $6,000. This fundraiser raised over five times greater than that amount.

I'm honestly speechless -- a rare event in my life, as anyone who knows me well will tell you -- and hardly know how to begin to thank everyone.

While, by all means, between this and our other grant, we remain at a modest budget compared to other similar organizations, we are a profoundly cost-efficient organization and there is a LOT we can do with the kind of budget we're now walking into 2010 with, a budget that is around twice the budget I expected us to have to work with. The prospect of a year where we can work without worrying so much about thinking we're getting by, then getting whacked with something that puts us in the red is a godsend. In fact, in the middle of the fundraising period, I had two computer deaths over here at the home office. That usually would have been a crisis of epic proportions, but it was amanageable because there were the funds to avert that crisis and replace some equipment.

The idea of starting the year knowing that we'll be able to work on everything we hoped to is incredibly exciting. I'm greatly looking forward to getting things like Find-a-Doc going, to training more peer sex educators, to improving our mobile performance and to better serving some of our more marginalized populations.

On top of the financial boon, I also have felt the support of all of you strongly in this. Feeling so supported by the people and communities we serve, care about and respect is an incredible feeling. During the course of this fundraiser, I got to read some amazing and deeply touching things people said about how Scarleteen has helped them or those they care about over the years, about why Scarleteen is so valuable and worth supporting. I can barely express what that meant to me, and how good it made me feel about what myself and all of our staff and volunteers do.

So many of you donated -- over 400 of you. So many of you blogged, tweeted, sent friends letters, mentioned our appeal on social networking sites and did all you could to get the word out. We got help and support from our teen and young adult users, from our now-grownup-but-once-teen alumni, from our current volunteers and those who have since moved on, from teachers, parents, guardians, siblings, cousins, mentors, librarians, doctors, nurses, sex bloggers, sex educators, healthcare staff, the pro-choice community, abortion providers, doulas and midwives, religious leaders and teachers, political bloggers, feminists, the disability community, GLBTQI activists and advocates, counselors and therapists, tech developers... you name it, someone gave us a donation or helped to solicit support from others.

I have absolutely no idea how to thank everyone who participated in any way, and particularly those who participated in every way they could, enough. Before this level of kindness, love and support, I can only stand humbled and completely overwhelmed. You are our s/heroes, and because of you, we're sitting at the start of what looks to be a wonderful, inspired and stable 12th year for Scarleteen.

All of the young people who rely on the information and support we give them thank you. All of our staff and volunteers thank you. The world we are so determined to create in which sexuality and young adult sexuality is healthier, happier and more whole thanks you (in advance). As founder and director of Scarleteen, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. I hope all of you can have a clear sense of the enormous gift you have given Scarleteen and myself: it is boundless and it is an amazement. Thank you.