LOVErdis Project: the Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Dinner

Back in January, my amazing wife, Emily, and I were asked to be honorary co-chairs of the Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Dinner; a request that completely blew me away. When you see the list of past honorary chairs, it’s pretty clear we don’t belong on the list. Nevertheless, when we learned our co-chairs were Michael and Laura Alley of Alley Poyner Machietto Architecture, two of the greatest people we’ve ever met, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with them and support the organization.

It’s an entirely new experience for us. I’ve helped raise a little money here and there, but this is a much bigger and more intimidating deal. The goals are to raise $280,000 and get 1,000 attendees at the event. Those are huge numbers, and even though this is the second longest running philanthropic dinner in Omaha, hitting those goals is by no means a layup.

Fortunately, there is a great support system in place to get us there. The staff at Inclusive Communities is a-ma-zing. Beth Riley and Maceal Norvell have stayed on top of things from day one. We also put together a Solicitation Committee that is tasked with hitting our goals. They’ve worked tirelessly since February, and I’ve been extremely impressed with their energy and passion for Inclusive Communities.

Inclusive Communities is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, and Omaha is a much better place because of their work. I’ll save you from “the speech,” but suffice it to say they are working day in and day out to build a community that respects and values diversity and equality. Their mission: Inclusive Communities is a human relations organization confronting prejudice, bigotry and discrimination through educational programs that raise awareness, foster leadership and encourage advocacy for a just and inclusive society. Take some time to visit their website and learn more about the really important work they’re doing.

In an attempt to give our planning team a one-stop shop for tracking our two goals, we thought it might be helpful to use the Verdis Dashboard. While the categories aren’t a perfect match (Dollars Saved = Dollars Raised and Volunteers = Attendees) it serves as a nice, easy-to-understand means by which to gauge how we’re doing. (Shameless plug: the Dashboard is a great tool for organizations to communicate their progress towards achieving sustainability goals. See: our work with Omaha Public Schools). Here’s how we’re doing so far. Not bad, eh?

Finally, and let’s be really clear about this, you should consider attending. Cory Booker, the charismatic, social-media savvy Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and a rising political star, is doing the keynote address. He was in Omaha a few years ago for the Young Professional Summit, and from what I’ve heard, he killed it. Most people I’ve talked with said it was one of the more moving addresses they’ve ever heard. So be there; you will support a great organization and be inspired. It’s a win-win and you won’t regret attending.

Onward and upward.

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