I spent the past year working with Thrivalaska helping them develop sustainable fundraising and marketing strategies. This has been a wonderful, empowering year and I will always be grateful for the trust and support that I've been given throughout my service. On top of what I've learned with Thrivalaska, it's been incredibly educational to see so much of what it looks like for people to work together and share resources to improve their community. After service, I will be working with Fairbanks Arts Association as their communications associate. I'm so excited to spend more time in Fairbanks and in this beautiful state!
Nicole was our second year VISTA and she really knocked it out of the park! Initially she spent quality time learning all about Thrivalaska and how best to assist the whole organization. She worked with all our program leaders, our Board, the admin team, and reached out into the community so many times for resources! I cannot say enough good things about Nicole – she’s smart, funny, thoughtful, brave, and extremely talented. She helped us with fund development and marketing. She’s so talented putting together flyers – she always seems to find just the right picture to capture what she’s trying to convey. I have the utmost respect for her as a young working professional – she will do so well wherever she lands! We have been so lucky to have her talents – she’s written funding proposals (several were funded), she’s developed training for the Board and has been instrumental in helping them understand their role as fundraisers for the organization, sent out quarterly newsletters, kept up with Facebook and Instagram, is assisting us with building a new website, and is helping establish our 3rd year VISTA goals! We will miss her so very much and thank her for being so awesome and spending quality time with all of us at Thrivalaska!!"
It has been a pleasure working with Nicole and watching the magic unfold. She has a keen eye for creating engaging marketing content.I can recall meeting with her, thinking through ideas, sifting through different angles and settling on brilliant concepts. She has truly shaped the way we disseminate information. We were so fortunate to have an innovator on our team. From grant writing to team collaborations, you were present and consistently exceeding our expectations. Nicole, thank you for sharing your gifts with Thrivalaska. It has been an honor watching your impact touch our families and children in a meaningful way. The systems you have created will continue to serve our community beyond your time here."
Mikayla, Tessa, Hal, Sol, Nicole, and Stephen will serve Fairbanks from August 31, 2020 - August 30, 2021. Year-long VISTAs perform indirect service focusing on capacity building. Stay tuned for updates as their year progresses!
Kelsey wrapped up her service year on June 8, 2020. She served ThrivAlaska well as their Development & Communications coordinator. She wrote successful grants, engaged with the community via social media and created a monthly newsletter. Kelsey's next step will be attending Johns Hopkins University to earn her master's in Public Management.
Kelsey, thank you for your service to our community. Our program appreciates your input, hard work and dedication. We wish you the absolute best in your future and know you will be successful in anything you do!
By Kelsey Snyder, Thrivalaska VISTA '19-20
Serving as the Development Coordinator at Thrivalaska involves a lot of outreach to the community including creating relationships with donors and companies. I recently submitted a grant to Wells Fargo to help my host site complete a re-flooring project at our thread Resource and Referral building. One of the main goals for my year of service is to help my site see visible growth in their ability to reach out to companies and individuals in the community for project and program support.
While the flooring project may not be seen as a dire need project, many families come to our organization looking for resources and we want to ensure they feel welcomed and comfortable while getting the help they need. We have used grants as an opportunity to gain funds for projects in the past such as new internet servers or other building updates in the classrooms. If approved for grant funds, you must use the funds given specifically for the project you had listed in your application.
My time writing the grant involved a lot of collaboration with my administration offices. I had to learn about the demographics our non-profit serves, and generate specific numbers to show the application board why our target population was in need. Writing this grant was a very useful way for me to practice painting a full picture of what my site does and the true difference it makes in our community.
The process began with creating an organization profile, simple information based on location and contact addresses. The large portion of the grant itself is the project proposal. You begin with funding purpose and describe what project you need funding provided. Many grant applications ask if there is a benefit to the company such as mention in a newsletter, daily paper, or on your website. This specific grant asked for information on how many low to moderate income group individuals you serve throughout the organization. Finally, you talk specifically about your organizations goals and accomplishments. This is where you get the opportunity to show the company why your program matters in your community!
After collaborating with my Executive Director and get approval to submit my proposal, we were told to expect our application to be reviewed within 45 days. Around a month and half after submitting our initial proposal to Wells Fargo, we were fortunate to receive an email letting us know that our grant has been approved! The email explained how we could expect a check in the mail within the next 8 weeks. As a non-profit, these application approvals are big victories!
By Ashton Varner, VISTA Team Leader '19-20
The 2019 Community Needs Drive was even bigger than 2018! We owe our success to our team and so many other community members.
Thank you to Love In the Name of Christ of the Tanana Valley for hosting our event, even though you had only recently moved into your location. Thank you to The Salvation Army - Fairbanks Corps for providing hot drinks, bottled water and snacks for our volunteers and donors.
Thank you to everyone who helped me promote this event: Julie Doll who passed out flyers in parts of the community that are hard for me to reach such as military bases and Salcha, Rob Prince of KFBX 970 for having us on morning radio, Cheryl Upshaw for the fantastic piece in the Daily News-Miner and Andrew Hawkins at News 11 for helping us make the 7 o’clock news.
Thank you to the donors who brought bags, boxes and totes full of items.
95% of our requests were filled and some donations came all the way from Nenana!
Thank you to the 10 local non-profit agencies who participated and allowed us to serve them through this event. We appreciate the work you do in our community all year round.
If you are still interested in donating, please see our list of requested items, contact the agencies directly and ask if they still need specific items.
See you next year!