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Providing Books & Building our Organization

November 10, 2009

I spent a little bit of this Monday evening sorting through books and preparing them to distribute next week and just had to share what wonderful treats await the children. I came across beautiful copies of such fun titles as “Arthur Meets the President” and quite a collection of the Mercer Mayer  – “Just me and Grandma” and “Just me and Mom” series. I also came across at least a dozen of Courtney’s favorite, the Berenstain Bears, she gave our son Colin quite a nice set of much loved and worn copies of those. In this box there were a variety of stories about the Bears and their adventures, even two copies of “Trouble with Pets”. It made me wonder about our own trouble with pets as our chocolate lab snored by my side (he likes to provide moral support on most projects). I noticed the Bears had trouble with pets, school, friends…why did they have so much trouble?

There were also about 23 Spanish language books which I am personally excited to share. Growing up in a border town it was just common nature for things to be in both Spanish and English. I’m thrilled we can find homes for these, at VECC there are many families who speak Spanish at home.

Sorting through our third donation box I couldn’t help but be excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish. In the last couple months, we have made significant strides in transforming Court’s Kids from an idea to a functional organization. A while back, we made our first donation to our pilot school in Klamath Falls, OR and it was a huge success. This was especially meaningful, as it was the Early Childhood Intervention program where Courtney worked. The donation box had about 200 books and cost only $22 to ship. You can get a sense of the real impact this program can make from reading the excited comments from the staff.

Armed with the insight we’ve gained from our pilot, we expanded our assistance to another program in Vancouver, WA  just across the river from Portland, the Vancouver Early Childhood Center where we made our first donation of 125 books. We have about 600 more to go to VECC next week, a small library for each classroom, a set for each Speech Language Therapist and another set for the Birthday Book program. On their birthday the children get to go pick a book to take home and keep. Plans for the same set of books are in motion for Klamath Falls. We’re reaching out to other Portland area schools and programs now.

A plan for the months ahead is taking shape. In this first phase, we would like to support 10-15 schools within our first year of operation. We will be focusing on programs within driving distance to allow ourselves to expand the impact of Court’s Kids and minimize shipping costs. By doing so, we believe we can meet and surpass our goal!

While we are able to assist these programs in the short term, it is clear that we must take steps to establish ourselves as an organization that can make an impact over the long term. We’d like to take several steps to do this. First, we need to become a federally recognized nonprofit (501c3). Due to the level of complexity and its importance we would like to hire a nonprofit attorney in Oregon to finalize it.  Second, we need to establish sound financial practices from the start, which requires a part-time accountant to assist us. Next, we want to make it easy for people to contribute which will require a secure website that anyone would trust with their credit card. Lastly and most important of all, while we are able to keep the cost of delivering these books low, we need to finance future shipping costs for the books. All these steps come at an expense, but each one ensures our sustainability as an organization over the long term.

We are beginning an informal fundraising drive to meet these needs.  It is appropriate that this time comes just as Halloween has passed. It was one of Courtney’s favorite holidays and in that same spirit we are Trick-or-Treating for Courtney. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at Wish us luck!

Little by Little,


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