6 -- Fundraising Efforts at Ellis


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Fundraising Efforts at Ellis

The Ellis School has made its own contributions in the way of raising money to help provide relief for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Gujarat, India earlier this year. Our initial idea to raise money for the Gujarat earthquake victims came through an 8th grade project in which contacts to India were made. We received a letter from our friends at the Shree Amulakh Amichand Bhimji Vividlakshi Vidhyalaya School, in Mumbai, India, which shared with us many of their eyewitness accounts of the earthquake and its devastation. We recognized that this earthquake had caused many problems for people all over India, including families of our friends. We chose fundraising efforts for the Gujarat earthquake as our Global Perspectives 2001 project.

To begin our fundraising project, we chose an organization to donate our funds to. We wanted the organization we chose to directly help as many victims of the earthquake as possible. After looking at several different relief organizations, we chose UNICEF. UNICEF has many different ways to help the victims in India, including family survival kits. These kits provide the essential items needed by the earthquake victims of India. Each kit costs forty-six dollars, and our goal is to raise enough money to provide a kit for at least thirty-seven families, or one family per student in the 8th grade.

To get a better sense of how to fundraise successfully, people from The Ellis School development office came and shared with us the techniques that they use each year to raise money for the school. The development office recently raised over nine million dollars to pay for the construction of our new upper school. We learned that the most successful ways of fundraising are by educating people about your project, and by trying to receive donations through both large groups, and individuals. We have used these tips to help make our fundraising efforts more lucrative.

Our class decided to devote time both inside and outside of school to our fundraising project. Some ideas that we came up with were to incorporate our fundraising efforts into our extra curricular activities. These included our production of the play, "Guys and Dolls", and our annual 8th grade dance. At the play, we set up a display, which provided information about our project, and the devastation in Gujarat. We inserted papers in the programs, which outlined our project as well. We asked our audience to make a small donation to help us reach our goal for the project. From our play we received over three hundred dollars. For our dance, we charged two dollars, plus an additional three dollars for admission than was necessary for us to pay for the cost of the dance. The three extra dollars went to our fundraising project. After paying for the DJ, our dance profit ended up as twenty-three dollars. Unfortunately, this was not as successful as we had hoped it would be. We also planned a pants day for the middle and upper schools. A pants day is when each student pays a dollar to wear her own clothes, instead of wearing their uniform. The pants day raised seven hundred thirty-three dollars and seventy-three cents to help our project.

Out of all of our fundraising projects, the most unique was Project Flamingo. In this project, we obtained four plastic flamingos, and various students placed them on the lawns of their friends and neighbors. Attached to each flamingo was a letter explaining our project and asking the recipient to please make a donation to our fund, and after which, we would remove the flamingo from their yard. The motivation to donate was the removal of the undesirable flamingos from their yard, and to contribute to our worthwhile cause. Each time a person donated money, we would remove the flamingo from their lawn, and place it in someone else's yard. This cycle of the migrating flamingo continued until the end of our project. We saw this as a fun and exciting way to increase awareness about Gujarat throughout our communities and also get donations for our fund. In total, our flamingo project raised one hundred ninety-five dollars.

In addition to the group efforts of our class, individual students have used their time inside and outside of school to contribute to the fund. As a class, we came up with many ideas of what each student could do to raise more money. Many students participated in jobs such as babysitting, pet-sitting, mowing lawns, promoting our dance, writing letters to companies, organizing a raffle, decorating a display case, and overall, spreading the word about Gujarat. When students made profits from doing their job they donated a significant amount to help fund the Gujarat project. The graph above illustrates the pledged efforts made by the individuals of our class.

On May 2, 2001, we finally raised enough money to meet our goal of purchasing survival kits for thirty-seven families. As of that date, we had raised approximately 1,700 dollars towards helping the earthquake victims of Gujarat.

Out of all our fundraising efforts, solicitation was the most profitable. It raised almost one third of our total to date. As of today, (May 15, 2001) we have $ 3884.73. The least profitable was our dance. We have all learned a lot about fundraising and its importance in society. People, such as those who we met at Interaction, devote their lives to fundraising efforts, which aim to help people all over the world through various types of crisis.


On May 8th, our class departed from Ellis for a four-day trip to Washington D.C. and the Chesapeake Bay area. We visited the InterAction offices and the Indian Embassy. At the Embassy, we learned that Gujarat was no longer in need of the family survival kits that we had originally planned to purchase with the money we had raised. Gujarat is now in the rebuilding stage and so family survival kits are not longer as crucial as other types of assistance, such as rebuilding homes, buildings, and waterlines. A member of our class who was researching the organization, CARE, (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Efforts) found a way for us to contribute to the Gujarat fund and give the people of Gujarat something that they would need for years to come. We decided that we were going to buy five houses for families whose homes had been destroyed by the earthquake, and were in need of shelter. Each house costs approximately $1,570 to build. The Indian government has agreed to pay for half of each house that CARE builds. This was perfect for our class, because by donating $785 to CARE, we can pay for the building of one entire house. We were able to purchase five houses, built for families of five, each of which would be built to withstand cyclones and future earthquakes. We were happy to be able to give the people of Gujarat something that they can still benefit from in the future!

Overall, our fundraising efforts have been a great success. We raised well over twice what we had originally hoped to. Our final total of over $4,000 will enable us to purchase five entire houses, hopefully helping our friends in Gujarat to work towards rebuilding their city and their lives.

Drew E. and Emily F.