One of the biggest challenges of running any successful non-profit is funding essential programs. It is no different at White Oak Farm. Without a strong support network we would not be able to offer the programming we do. And, while the demand for our educational programming continues to rise (preschool, summer camps, school day trips, intensive 3-day-long school trips, adult workshops and internships), we continue to strive to reduce financial barriers that would otherwise prohibit potential participants. This year alone we received 10 applications for full or partial summer camp scholarships. Unfortunately, we were unable to help them all because of limited financial resources. This was absolutely heartbreaking, and it became clear to us that in order to make our programming sustainable we needed a consistent revenue source to fund scholarships. Hence, the first annual Fall Equinox Fundraiser!
As we brainstormed ideas for the event, we realized we wanted it to be both a way of giving back to the local community and a way to raise funds to support our programs. We also wanted to make the event enjoyable and rewarding for children and adults alike. For the kids we had face painters creating wonderful characters and creatures, a farm tour that included stops to see all our fluffy and feathered animal friends, and of course kid-pressed apple cider from the apple press. Everyone enjoyed live music by Buzz and Friends and Franky Hernandez and the Old Soul Parade, a smörgåsbord of delicious farm-fresh appetizers, and Mexican inspired entrées by Cocina 7. For the adults, we had a bar stocked with local beer and wine and a silent auction filled with over 50 unique, thoughtful, and useful items. All in all, the First Annual Fall Equinox Fundraiser was a smashing success due to the generosity of donors and volunteers as well as the enthusiasm and openness of guests at the event.
In the end we were able to raise over $3000! With these crucial funds, we will be able to open the Farm gates to children and schools who would not otherwise be able to participate in our programs. Furthermore, by demonstrating to foundation grant committees that White Oak Farm & Education Center has the support of our local community, we stand a better chance of receiving future grant funding.
All of us at White Oak cannot thank the volunteers, donors, and community members enough for a fantastic event. The work done here is not ours alone, we share it with all of you working to make this world abetter place. We cannot wait to see you all next year at the Second Annual Fall Equinox Fundraiser!
Former intern Josh Webber with the winners of his donated auction item: A guided Hike through the White Oak Forest Trail system.