The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

One Woman, Some Motivation, and Lots of Determination

This Saturday I did what thousands of Americans do: I attended a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization. All across America on a typical weekend, hundreds of thousands of people are participating in events to raise money. The list is long and interesting: runs of all sizes and lengths, long and short bike rides, walk-a-thons, bake sales, telethons, and flea markets─to name only a few of the more familiar ones. It’s a great combination of two American virtues: perpetual motion and a passion for wanting to do something useful. After a life time of such events, I’m gradually de-acquiring─ primarily donating─an amazing collection of T-shirts and tote bags from a slew of 10k races and public broadcasting fundraisers in particular.

This Saturday I was in New York to cheer on my wife Faith as she ran in a race to raise money for the charity Women for Women International and the organization Run for Congo Women. She not only finished the race─a feat in itself─she surpassed her fundingraising goal by 150 percent and was one of the top fundraisers for the day.

Run for Congo Women was started by a human dynamo by the name of Lisa Shannon. Listen to how she describes herself and her book, “A Thousand Sisters,” on her website:

“I had a great life—a successful business, a fiancé, a home, and security. But in the wake of my Dad’s death, and soon-to-be thirty years old, I found myself depressed, camped out in my living room watching Oprah. It was there that I learned about Congo, widely called the worst place on earth to be a woman. Awakened to the atrocities─millions dead, women being raped and tortured, children starving and dying in shocking numbers─I had to do something.

A Thousand Sisters chronicles how I raised sponsorships for Congolese women, beginning with a solo 30-mile run, and then founded Run for Congo Women. Despite countless warnings, with no credentials, I abandon my quickly collapsing home life and plunge into an unlikely lone journey through eastern Congo on a mission to ignite a movement for the world’s most forgotten women, to meet hundreds of my sponsored “sisters,” and hear their stories firsthand. But in a place where no man with a gun is the good guy, I confront militias, massacres, murder cover-ups, and unspeakable horror. Along the way I am forced to learn lessons of survival, fear, gratitude, and love from the women of Congo. A Thousand Sisters is a portrait of the world’s deadliest war through the intimate lens of friendship. It is a story of passion, hope, and my journey to carve out human bonds that cannot be touched by terror.”

That’s all it took: one woman, some motivation, and lots of determination. Now her passion is turning into a movement.

On her website Lisa suggests 9 things you can do. Here’s her number nine:

“Dream up something all your own, like I did!”

What are we doing this week?

You can read more about Run for Congo Women here:

Bob.jpgThe preceding is a guest post by Bob Ottenhoff,  Chief Executive of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. With an entrepreneurial spirit, strong technology focus, and a quest to make an impact in the world, Bob has the ability to take an organization and lead it into strong performance, sustainability, and industry leadership.

Topics: Fundraising Nonprofits