Behind the Scenes of CityHeART’s LB Gives Adventure

How in the heck did we win Most Improved at Long Beach Gives?!


No adventure is simple, that is for sure. Long Beach Gives is one we have attempted before a couple of times, and each time, we have found ourselves at the end of the journey shaking our heads thinking: what aren’t we getting?

This year, we’re pretty we answered that question. We were forgetting the one thing that sets us apart from the other organizations in similar cause categories, or of similar sizes, etc. And that one thing is time.

We don’t mean time in the sense of we had extra time for the campaign or anything like that, not at all. What we mean is every day, we receive the gift of so much time from the volunteers who show up at the Resource Hub to bring our mission to life with love, passion, generosity, and genuine kindness.

When it occurred to us that perhaps we didn’t have a large corporate gift to leverage as a matching gift or a major sponsor pledging a chunk of our goal, but we do have more than 250 hours given to us every single week (and that’s on a slow week!), that’s when we realized we might have something really special to work with.

There were many conversations between Paige, John O, Izzy, and our good friend Gina O to sort of flesh this idea out in the early months of the campaign prep. We discovered that the current value of a volunteer hour in California is $29.95, and we started thinking out loud about what we could do with that number …

What happened after that was the rest of the volunteer crew just started throwing down numbers. John Arcos jumped in after listening to our thought process and said, “Well, I would volunteer for an hour if someone donated $30 to match it, say up to 30 hours max for the rest of the year?”

And that’s when the light bulb went on. David and Carla pledged a 100 hours each, Audrey threw down a 25 hour pledge, and so on. The team already wanting to show up every day started showing up and leveraging the incredible value of their time in a remarkable way we had never seen before.

And then you know what happened? It actually worked! Almost 333 hours were matched in donations, which is value of just under $10,000. We didn’t hit our $25k goal (and you can totally still donate here to help us hit that number!), but we did learn some incredible things about the power of volunteers and the true invaluable impact their time really makes at CityHeART.

We had some incredible friends from the early days show up as well, like PB who made his campaign a huge success by driving a virtual CityHeART Formula 1 car that he designed himself and promoted our mission to a whole new audience! Former intern Andrea came back and helped us with a peer fundraising campaign of her own, and we were so glad to see her again!

Michael created CityHeART Soles, a campaign to raise funds to purchase blank shoes for a workshop to teach youth how to add their own original artwork to them and then gift the shoes to a neighbor without housing. Talk about rad!

There were so many people, family, friends, and community members who showed all the way up for CityHeART, and that’s what made the whole difference.

We did some other silly things along the way as well, like we gave away some CityHeART swag from the old days, and there may have been a motivational video or two … there was also possibly a musical parody at one point … we had fun.

Because of the incredible volunteers who not only pledged their time as matching gifts, but who also helped us put together the social media posts, the launch event, the emails (all the emails!), and spread the word in the community by hosting pop-up giving tables all around town and sharing with their loved ones, we actually won a cash prize of $500 for being the MOST IMPROVED organization in the entire LB Gives movement this year!

It was an incredible adventure, and we could not have done it without every single person who was part of our team, donors, volunteers, and supporters. And it isn’t quite over yet! We will be celebrating with an After-Party where we will be launching the 2nd Edition of the Art from Ashes Magazine, and we hope you will join us!


By Art from Ashes

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