Chapter 2: Our First Fundraiser

Every non-profit organization seems to have a “signature” event. After starting the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), I realized that I needed to figure out what NFCA’s main event would be. I called upon my right hand woman, Nancy Ginter, and we had the bright idea that we should hold a healthy event… a  yoga fundraiser.  We called it, “It’s a Stretch.”

Nancy and I organized a committee and had more than 140 people attend. Twelve of these folks were actually diagnosed with celiac disease as a result of this event, so in one way, it was a great success! In another way, it didn’t feel right, and it didn’t raise much money. Back to the drawing board…

Appetite for Awareness 2011

My friends Jennifer McNeil and Dorothy Binswanger with me and my daughter Elizabeth at our 2011 fundraiser.

Next, we decided to create an event with food at the center. One our board members, Dorothy Binswanger, volunteered her house. Dorothy loves Halloween, so we went to town. We decorated her house with all types of visual images. We had her son pop out of a coffin at her front door with a loaf of bread in his hand. We had a vampire bat hanging from the wall that said “I want to test your blood” and a skeleton that said “I waited too long for my diagnosis.” Lee Tobin from Whole Foods Market Gluten-Free Bakehouse flew to Philadelphia and treated us to all kinds of yummy gluten-free desserts. Chef Anthony, who is now the executive chef at Philadelphia’s Butcher & Singer, catered the event.

Needless to say, everyone had a GREAT time. We actually had people calling us and asking to be on our mailing list! This event was food for thought!  Could we roll it out in other cities? Stay tuned for Chapter 3.


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