Surly Gives a Damn volunteering at our Selkirk home.

We all possess the ability to help save the world. Well, to help make it better anyway. We can contribute in ways big and small to collectively make an impact creating change when possible and providing support where desperately needed. Most of us cannot do big things alone, but when passionate, motivated, and compelled to make an impact—we can do BIG things together. And this is why we honor and celebrate the Dreammaker Award Winners at our Transforming Lives Gala. Because we recognize the impact of many hands coming together to make our mission stronger.

When people lend a hand, see value in new and unique ideas, support communities and organizations in need, and look at people in need as worthy, fulling seeing them—this is when the magic happens. And this comes about in three essential and beautifully connected ways:

1. Time
2. Talent
3. Treasure

Kathy, Heidi and Alora, 2022 Dreammaker Award Winners at the 2018 Gala.

When people commit to volunteering at a nonprofit they support the organization, and in many ways, the organization equally supports them. People give time. Organizations provide opportunities to roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to lift a mission, grow a vision, or get a project off the ground. With notoriously small budgets nonprofits are hungry for help and advocacy. Besides traditional volunteering, where you sign up to help fill in various gaps via activities like preparing meals for people here at Living Well and yard clean up at our houses, there are thousands of ways to make a difference with various organizations—all valuable beyond measure.

Which is why we are grateful for volunteers like Kathy, Heidi and Alora—our 2022 Dreammaker Volunteer Award Winners. They make a huge impact on our mission simply by showing up.

Sharing talent starts with time, see above. But can involve more. Perhaps you are an expert graphic designer, with some free time between projects, so you donate or discount your services because of your interest in helping the mission succeed. We have had that happen here. Or you are that person who knows everybody, kind of a networking guru. You are the one who shouts, “I know a guy!’ or “Give me a minute, I think my neighbor just had that done,” to every random question, request, or dream list. If this is you—you are on every organizations wish list!

Bluestone Physician Services executives Sarah Keenan and Dr. Todd Stivland. 2022 Community Partner Dreammaker Award Winners.

Denise Anderson, 2022 Self-Advocate Dreammaker Award Winner.

Other ways to give time include: accepting a role on a board, supporting a committee, or offering professional advice—all valuable for networking, sharing of ideas and getting key projects done. Over the past 50 years, we have had 122 board members, and for the gala coming up in a few weeks we have a committee with 27 members, 17 from outside the organization. They were critical in building awareness resulting in support through sponsorship and donations. You can also share talent by creating companies that help organizations work smarter. Which is why we sincerely appreciate our Community Partner Award Winner, Bluestone Physician Services, for creating a new way of providing medical care. They bring ease to the people we serve, and our staff. And that kind of talent is always appreciated. And don’t forget the importance of sharing our voices. Big shout to Denise Anderson, Self-Advocate award winner for using her unique talents to get people to listen to her and open their minds to what it means to live with a disability.

Mike and Tina Douglas, 2022 Donor Dreammaker Award Winners.

Last but not least, treasure. You have it, and we need it. Let’s make magic together.

Money is important because it pays the bills. Money provides opportunities to reach a bigger market. Most importantly, the people we serve deserve exceptional wellness programs and care beyond the basics of food and shelter, and it all costs money. Nonprofits all over the world are dedicated to their missions to make communities stronger. And donations make it all possible.

Donations fills the gaps and open the doors to innovation and connection. Simply put, donations make things easier. People can donate many ways—large gifts, small gifts, or monthly payments that fit their budget and match their morals to the causes they value. People can include organizations in their estate plans, providing a legacy gift that will live on after their passing. No amount is too big or too small.

Phillips Distillery punch wall at 2021 VIP reception.

Businesses can offer treasure by giving organizations yearly gifts, or sponsoring events like our Transforming Lives Gala. These events provide the opportunity for likeminded people to get together to celebrate a mission, and to invite others to learn more about the organization. When a business takes interest in an organization, they are also looking for a partnership, a way to connect staff as well. Phillip’s Distillery did this with a gala sponsorship and product donation, and Surly Brewing does this with regular volunteer engagement and product donation as well. Many companies have a company match established to allow staff to multiply what they personally contribute. In this way with several small donations matched, the donation can grow exponentially.

And many individuals and families are looking for ways to make their money matter. Which brings us to our Donor Dreammaker Award Winners, Mike and Tina Douglas. Longtime supporters and advocates, these two are paving the way for others to know why giving feels good.

Together, the creative use of time, talent and treasure helps nonprofits and communities thrive. We simply cannot do it alone. In the end it is generally a blend of all of these—and always for the benefit of organizations and communities. When we seek ways to support community, we can do big things.

Helping feels good. Doing good feels great. And great ideas are crafted into reality when we support each other and see people worth supporting. No idea is too big, no donation too small. And no contribution of time, talent or treasure will ever feel like a waste of time or resources.