As we prepare for our 35th Anniversary, Dr. Leader will share her memories of the early days of TEEN LINE in a series we like to call…
TEEN LINE FOUNDATIONS
By Elaine Leader, Ph.D., CGP, BCD, FAGPA
Chapter Seven: See how they run…
Raising funds has always been one of the most important aspects of running a non-profit. On the one hand we are competing with other worthy programs for financial support and another aspect is the need to be creative in finding the means and sources to keep TEEN LINE operational. Underlying the need for funding was always my ambition. How could we expand our reach? Could we afford to hire more staff? Could TEEN LINE become indispensable – a force for change? Known to every teenager who might need help?
Although we were already writing grant proposals to raise money from foundations I found myself seeking other means of support – for example, asking corporations for help. I managed to glean support from two well-known stores: Saks Fifth Avenue and JC Penney. I became quite well connected with the directors of the local stores. At that time the JC Penny Company had a deep commitment to supporting the community. Their headquarters in Dallas, Texas regularly financed films with important topics that they displayed on televisions in many of their stores. I was invited to participate in a televised discussion to follow a video they had newly produced on the topic of Teen Stress. It was a great video with teens speaking about what issues they found particularly stressful. The teens were very forthcoming and the unique facet was that you never heard the interviewer, just the teens’ comments. The company arranged to show the video storewide followed by a call in discussion with a panel that consisted of a facilitator, two TEEN LINE listeners and I. The company paid for us to fly to Dallas for this program. What a lot of fun this was, particularly as the panel included answering call-ins from viewers watching from all over the country.
But for me the fundraising piece de resistance was being designated an Official Charity for the Los Angeles Marathon VI in 1991. I, of course, knew nothing about running a marathon or what becoming an Official Charity entailed but my thoughts were certainly running a mile a minute! I formed a special TEEN LINE Marathon Committee and invited Marilyn and Monty Hall to be Honorary Co-chairs. They were not only early supporters of TEEN LINE but personal friends. I soon realized the importance of networking if you want to accomplish your goals.
We were assigned Mile 18 as TEEN LINE’s responsibility. This meant handing out water to the runners, cheering them as they passed by us and being at the site of our mile by 5 am the day of the event. We actually managed to get several people to run on our behalf including Judy Lipton, Dr. Terry Lipton’s wife, who got a lot of friends donating their support. We also had teens running in addition to their helping us work the Mile 18 “station”. Although it took much effort to participate, it was also a lot of fun and raised quite a bit of money. We decided to do it again the following year but that was not as financial rewarding or as exciting to do as the first time and we decided not to continue the next year.
Another important means for raising funds was our Food for Thought annual luncheon. This meant having a special theme each year, inviting an important speaker and organizing a teen panel, but more of that in my next chapter!
Read the next chapter: Pt 8 – Food for Thought Luncheon