3.01.2011

100th Family Home by PNOLA, Coming Soon!

Jim's Feelings on nearing 100 houses complete:

To date, PNOLA has provided the necessary volunteer labor, project management, and case management services to bring 93 families back home! Just in the past several weeks, we have finished 9 homes and we currently have 13 funded projects on the books. ...85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93...we have clicked several off like clock work. While we have a lot of work ahead of us ...94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106... we are geared up and ready to go with a busy volunteer season ahead of us. Unfortunately, we will be shy an AmeriCorps NCCC team for at least the next two months due to a severe shortage in AmeriCorps availability, which will definitely hurt our progress, but we will push forward nonetheless. Finishing houses is a difficult task, but our staff and our volunteers are more than capable and the families we are working to help need to and deserve to come home which continues to provide our inspiration for working as hard as we can.

Our recent welcome home party for the Jones and Johnson families whose projects were sponsored by two players from the New Orleans Saints (Roman Harper and Darren Sharper) were awesome. We had some BBQ, great media coverage, and plenty of family, friends, and other supporters there to welcome our families home. Granted these two houses naturally received a lot more fan-fare than most of our others but what was really special to us was just getting two families who had waited for so long to get back home. We will be showcasing not only those two but all of our other recently completed projects in a follow up post that will be complete with video and pictures so stay tuned.

When I think about our 100th completed home being on the horizon, I can't help but think about how amazing it is that we did it with so few resources but also regret that we did not do more to position ourselves financially to do it at a larger scale. Sure, we have only spent less than $130,000 on salary ever for example, but if we had spent $1,000,000 imagine how many more houses we could have done by now! It's no secret that PNOLA has never been great at raising money and our few but dedicated donors (you know who you are) have been especially generous because they know personally what we can do. What our donors, volunteers, staff, partner agencies, and other supporters have done together has been huge and no one can take that away. But I personally will not be satisfied until we have the capacity to help more and more people. I'd like for each of you who has been a part of this in any way to think about that as well..."100 is great, but 500 is so much better" and if we get 5 times as many donors involved then we can have 5 times as many AmeriCorps and host 5 times as many volunteers and help 5 times as many families... it's that simple. Our network of supporters has been great, but we now call on you to advocate for our cause and engage your personal network, even people who have never been to New Orleans, to learn about what we do and help them become inspired.

I would like to be the first to invite you to our 100th Welcome Home Ceremony. Of course it is still far enough away that we don't know what date or even what house it will be (whichever of those 13 on our list gets there first!). We don't normally make a big deal about stuff like that (you may have missed the fact that we just had our 5th birthday ;) but we feel like this will be a good time to show appreciation for everyone who has helped us get here and show our future supporters what they have the opportunity to be a part of. We will be doing a lot of fun stuff leading up to that moment, so be on the look out (sorry, no other teasers yet!).

So thanks again, keep an eye out to track our progress and so you don't miss our 100th house party, and get on the phone, email, etc. and tell your family and friends about your involvement with PNOLA and let them know how much more we can do if they get involved.


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