Today, I sit in an office amid what I can only call a FLURRY of activity. There is the caterpillar sound of fingers undulating on keyboards. There is the reassuring whir of the copy machine firing up every few minutes. I am surrounded by focused faces, by nodding heads, by questions circulating the room like butterflies. It’s an environment just begging for poetry and alas, I am not a poet.
Things are happening here at 826michigan. Things are getting done at an unheard-of rate. Remember when I said we were doubling our staff? It’s here. It’s in motion. It’s poetry of its own accord.
And there’s always some inspiration for poetry, right? A source?
In this case, it is largely the Toyota USA Foundation. This summer, they joined our team by awarding us a grant of $100,000. Yes, that is the right number of zeroes. I’ll type it again, because it feels good to type such a number: $100,000. Do you know what a grant that size means to an organization that has been operating with an overworked staff of two? It enabled us to hire a full-time staff person for the next three years, the effervescent Catherine Calabro. And being able to do THAT means we can expand our programs, and serve even more students, and continue the work we’ve been doing for the last five years in an even more intense, meaningful way.
It creates a butterfly effect. The very generous people at the Toyota USA Foundation gave us the money to hire Catherine, who will focus largely on growing our tutoring program, which means we can help even more students complete and understand and excel at their schoolwork. Which no doubt will have a profound and transformational effect on their professional lives, years from now. Which also means I have more time to focus on in-school programs, allowing 826michigan to double the number of schools we will work in this year. I could trace this further, divide it up more acutely. I could go, well, on and on really, about the waves that will ripple out from this gift.
Instead, I’ll just say, on behalf of 826michigan, our staff, our students, our volunteers, our teachers, and our parents: Thank you, Toyota USA Foundation. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Good begets good begets good. And doesn’t it feel nice when that happens? (It does.)