As I sit here at my desk on the last day of November writing this, our last fundraising letter of the year, two burdens are weighing heavily on my heart and mind. The first is that a large grant, which has helped us meet our budget commitments for the past two years, has not been renewed. This is a significant loss for us that we are quickly trying to absorb on our shoestring budget.
The second is that I know this letter will be one of many other “end-of-year” requests you will receive. How do I convey our urgent need for your financial support while justifying our work as being worthy of your generous gifts now more than ever?
There are many other causes doing valuable and important work, yet I hope you have read, seen, and experienced how the work of the CBC stands out as a beacon of light for human dignity in a time of oppression against the most marginalized and helpless in our society. We are doing vitally important work in a space where very few others dare to tread.
Simply put, if not for the labors of the CBC, today’s important issues concerning our culture’s evolving view of human beings as commodities to be used for monetary and personal gain—the taking of life, the making of life, and the faking of life—would not be part of public conversations, civic debates, or policy development regarding our shared human future.
And we are doing that work as efficiently as humanly possible. Our Executive Director, Matthew Eppinette, recently came across a news item about non-profit organizations in the U.S., which among other things reported the salaries of the C.E.O.s of several large charities. Reading the article, he was struck by the fact that the entire CBC annual budget is less than almost all those C.E.O. salaries. Matthew wrote me this via email:
Every single thing we do: paying your salary and mine, bookkeeping, general administration, office rent, travel, websites, office supplies, telephone, speaking, writing, filmmaking, plus all of the activities of the Paul Ramsey Institute—bringing our cohort of Fellows and our Scholars together three times a year, which means airfare, taxis, hotel, meals, meeting room, administrative coordination, etc. We do all of it. All. Of. It. for less money than many other organization pay just one employee.
Yet, even in the face of closed doors to grants we had expected to use to underwrite part of our work, and concern that this request might get lost in the holiday and end-of-year rush, I remain hopeful.
Hopeful because in the 17 years of the CBC, our financial needs have always been met, even if in the eleventh hour. We work frugally and efficiently, and our films, our writing, our speaking, and our interviews continue to go forth, all over the world, making a measurable and positive impact.
Hopeful because on #GivingTuesday we were able to raise nearly $4,000, at least part of which we hope will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This smashes our previous #GivingTuesday record by almost 10X!
Hopeful because we have been given a $30,000 matching gift pledge, so that every dollar you give will be doubled, taking us into 2018, hopefully on strong financial footing. As of now, we have raised almost $10,000. An encouraging amount, but we still have a ways to go over the last few weeks of the year. Please help us reach our goal!
And finally, hopeful because I know we are on the right side of human dignity. Every day we are fortunate to be able to bring hope to poor and oppressed women. We bring hope every day to women literally across the globe regarding the personal ethical crises they face with surrogacy, egg donation, and more—all the while being pressured by others in power to make decisions based on dollars and not on human dignity.
I cannot tell you how many people, after getting off the phone with Matthew or me, have said they now realize they have other alternatives, and hope. Knowing the CBC is helping real people in very difficult life situations keeps me going and makes me so hopeful for the future!
As we remain hopeful that our financial needs will be met, let us again say thank you for your continued generous and faithful support. May I humbly ask that you consider doubling your end of year gift to the CBC? This will provide a doubling of the hope we can provide to those who are in the most need in our society.
From all of us at the CBC, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and A Hopeful 2018!
PS: We run a lean operation here at the CBC. Your gifts will make a direct, positive impact on individuals as well as on our shared human future. Please give as generously as you are able.
Image by Matthew Eppinette, all rights reserved
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.