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Fabulous Fridays: A little clowning around helps the Houston Food Bank

HFB circus July 2015Photo courtesy Amy Ragan

It’s not a typical day at work when the circus shows up, but it was a special occurrence for employees and volunteers of the Houston Food Bank earlier this week. HFB Chief Development Officer Amy Ragan tells us about this fabulous instance of philanthropy:

Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus has a different theme every year, and they select a different nonprofit that they think ties in with their theme. This year’s theme is Legends and because we were selected as Food Bank of the Year, they saw us as a legend in helping feed thousands of people in the Houston area. We distributed 67 million nutritious meals last year, feed 800,000 people annually and have 50,000 unique volunteers pass through our doors every year.

The circus sent clowns and acrobats to put on a mini show in our facility for volunteers, partners and staff.  Chik Fil A was a sponsor and provided lunch. They also had 6 cows here dressed up as clowns for the morning. The circus donated $5,000 to us, which will provide 15,000 meals for people in need. This is particularly timely given the challenges of summer hunger. This time of year is difficult because children who rely on breakfast and lunch at school often don’t have an alternative during the summer. Additionally, utility bills go up and cars overheat, so those on limited incomes often don’t have enough money to put food on the table.

It was a great opportunity to partner with the circus and shed more light on the issue of hunger in our community. Though hunger is in no way funny, I think having the circus out here brought a lot of awareness to the issue and they made it fun too. Brian Greene, our CEO, will serve as the ring master at next Thursday’s show.  The circus also donated 400 tickets to their performances.”

Want to support the Houston Food Bank? You can donate, volunteer or get involved in a variety of ways.

Have a fabulous story of philanthropy in your nonprofit to share? Email lisa@fablanthropy.com and you could be featured in a future Fabulous Fridays post!

Welcome to the intersection of fabulous & philanthropy

When I was in high school, my career ambition was to become a teacher. Today, I’m finishing my seventh year of educational fundraising. I love that I have the chance to impact the lives of our future grown-ups, even if not as directly as my colleagues in the classroom get to experience.

Throughout my professional career (a path of journalism, to public relations, to development), I have always been passionate about continuing education, not just for myself but for colleagues too. So, I jumped at the chance in 2014 to complete the AFP Faculty Training Academy and become one of 269 Master Trainers worldwide (that’s 15 in Texas and 6 active in Houston, for those of you counting!).

2015 has been a year of putting this knowledge into practice: 6 conference presentations, a webinar and an article for the Association of Fundraising Professionals magazine are on the schedule. It fills my heart to be able to take my love of learning and nonprofit giving, and share it with others!

This blog will be another way to share. Whether you are a fundraiser, a volunteer, a donor, or a combination of all three (aren’t we all, really?), Fablanthropy will be a source to share what’s fabulous in philanthropy. Which means, I want to hear from you!

Follow along on Twitter too: @fablanthropy. I look forward to the conversation!