We are SO pleased to announce Bridget Gibbons as our June 2017 Volunteer of the Month! June is a month of culmination at 826michigan—so many projects are coming together into a fantastic grand finale for the end of the school year. This year is even more special as we are wrapping up our first year of programming at our new writing lab in Detroit. With all this in mind, it feels like an especially appropriate month to honor Bridget, who has supported all aspects of our work in Detroit over the past year. She has been volunteering with field trips at our Winder Street lab in Detroit, staffing the Detroit Robot Factory, helping during the editing process for our Young Authors Book Project at Ben Carson High School in Detroit, and finishing a resoundingly successful year as our Development Intern helping to bring in the money that makes all of these projects possible.
As our first full-year development intern, Bridget is one of those rare souls who excels at both the behind-the-scenes nitty gritty AND can jump into the midst of the action. She revels in the mundane and minutiae of grant writing, is a welcoming presence in the store, and also shines as an engaging program tutor. Is it possible to be both an extrovert and an introvert? We don’t know, but Bridget makes anything seem possible!
In her development work, she has been part of writing more than a dozen grants, and as the lead writer on SEVEN of them. Perhaps her biggest victory this year has been securing a $25,000 grant—yes, you read that right! What’s more, it is from a new funding source; the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation awarded this grant to support our three after-school tutoring sites.
She has also worked on initial letters of inquiry to funders, written final grant reports, compiled tons of evaluation and quotes data, gathered data on area employers who make matching gifts, and survived reading through pages and pages of tiny-print lists of gifts and donors and addresses and emails and dates. Bridget was the mastermind behind fulfilling our massive gift perks mailing project for our IndieGoGo funding campaign which capped off our Detroit Robot Factory opening. We mailed gifts to forty-seven of our donors! Did we mention she has a penchant for rocking the nitty gritty tasks?
However, Bridget does not spend all of her time at 826michigan working on grants. She can often be found on Friday mornings assisting with field trips, courteously working with students as they write fantastic endings for their soon-to-be-published book. She has also volunteered during our Young Authors Book Project editing party, where she helped students revise and edit their memoirs for publication.
Beyond the tasks she has excelled at, Bridget brings so much more to 826. She is seriously funny, always spicing up our days with her witty observations. She regularly brings in donuts to share and brought perfect, gorgeous homemade rolls to our volunteer holiday potluck. Speaking of rolls, Bridget knows how to roll with the nonprofit punches (and OH there are many, especially as we work out the glitches of running our new Detroit space). She is a hero around taking initiative, pretty much the most sought-after quality at a nonprofit. We should also mention that, unlike this writer, Bridget has the ever-important grant-writing skill of being CONCISE. She expresses the magic of 826michigan in the itty bitty word-limited answers allowed by grant applications. In other words, if she were writing her own Volunteer of the Month profile, you would know how fabulous she is in two sentences.
Bridget, we could go on (TRULY, you know we can go on, and on, and on) but please know we are SO grateful for all you have brought to 826michigan this year and thoroughly delighted to recognize you as our June 2017 Volunteer of the Month!