Hey, Scarleteen Donors: You Rule!
With our 17th birthday coming up next week, I wanted to extend some deeply-deserved gratitude for our donors.
Our staff and volunteers do the bulk of the work here, to be sure. Our users play a very big part as well, particularly since Scarleteen works based on what they tell and show us about their wants and needs. But it's you, our donors and supporters, who keep the lights and computers on, coffee in the pot, warm socks on our feet and new tools, content and direct services flowing here at Scarleteen.
You're the champions of our model, our mission, and the young people who want and need what we provide; the people who don't just help us pay the bills, but who stand behind all that we do and the way that we do it. With a kind of work, like ours, that is so grossly unsupported, and even so intensely countered by some, knowing you stand behind us is a wonderful thing.
At the beginning of this year, our future was terribly uncertain. So many of you stepping up and stepping in with your generous support literally saved the day. That's not the first time that's happened, either. From the very beginning, we've been able to stick around longer than most projects on the web in large part thanks to you.
While only being funded independently by individuals certainly has its challenges, I hear a lot of the challenges many of my colleagues and other organizations face that we don't when it comes to other kinds of funding: limitations of services, methods and content based on funder agendas not the needs of those receiving services, having to play politics to appease certain donors, even having to spend more money and effort on fundraising and fancy-funder-schmoozing sometimes than on programs and services. That's not anything we'd ever want, and it would certainly stand counter to our model and our values.
Thanks to all of you, we're able to primarily focus just on doing what we do well, providing the content and services our users want with an organizational model all of us who work here feel good about. The model Scarleteen was built on and still operates on is one where what we do is -- and must be, to do what we do well -- determined by the young people who use our services, not by governments, public health departments or other foundations and institutions. Having the freedom you give us to use this kind of model, without compromise, means the world to us, and to our users.
So, thank you always seems a bit of an understatement, especially this year. But maybe not if we say it like this:
From myself, as founder and director, our staff and volunteers, and the millions of users we serve every year, thank you for your support and solidarity; for the freedom you give us that few sex education services have to to the work the way we and our users feel is best, based on their own expressed needs and what we know about them from observing and listening, not on other people's agendas. Thank you for your great confidence in us, for your trust in our model and our vision. Thank you for your confidence in young people, too, and their ability to know and express what they need for themselves.
It means everything to all of us, and, we think, it also means everything when it comes to doing what any of us can to help nurture and keep building a healthier, happier world for everyone and all our sexualities.
We wish all of you the very best this holiday season, a great new year and look forward to keeping on doing all that we do with your support in 2015!
(Not a donor yourself yet? We'd love to have your support at any level, and you can always do that right here! Thanks!)
Illustration, copyright 2014 Isabella Rotman. All rights reserved.