As Rainbow Village looks to 2024 with great hope and anticipation, the nonprofit committed to bringing Help, Hope, Housing, and Healing to families experiencing homelessness believes it’s important to reflect on the passing year and show gratitude for the extraordinary strides made in 2023. And what a year it was. During its two largest fundraisers of the year, the nonprofit organization raised an astounding $190,777 during its 2023 Second Chance Golf Classic and an incredible $505,000 during its 2023 We Are Family Benefit Gala.
Beyond funds raised, Rainbow Village also witnessed the achievement of dreams when an unprecedented three families graduated from the transitional housing program and became homeowners. To close out the year on a high note, Rainbow Village hosted its 4th Annual Microgrant Awards Ceremony at Gas South District on December 5. Representing the “Better Together” Women’s Giving Circle, Rainbow Village team members, graduates, and residents, 109 guests were present for the giving of $34,244 in “microgrants” to help 38 of the families Rainbow Village serves overcome obstacles or achieve milestones on their pathway to self-sufficiency.
“Of course, we didn’t do any of this alone,” said Rainbow Village CEO Melanie Conner. “We rely heavily on the ‘village’ that surrounds our Village. ‘Better Together’ proved a perfect name for a group that pools its resources and fuels one another’s philanthropic spirits to move mountains for families in need. I can’t begin to describe the magic that filled that room as each cheer went up and tears of joy flowed freely.”
The award recipients recognized during the 4th Annual Microgrant Awards Ceremony included:
700+ Club Award Recipients: 4 Rainbow Village residents worked diligently to achieve a credit score of 700 or higher
ASPIRE Program Recipients: 15 residents received funds to help pay down debt, two to help pay medical bills, and one received funds for a secured credit card to help build credit
THRIVE Program Recipients: three Rainbow Village graduates received funds to help pay down debt and another three to assist with transportation challenges
Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry Program Recipients: As part of Rainbow Village’s new outreach program in partnership with the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry, two families in the community received funds to help pay down debt
Thrive Beyond the Village Housing Award Recipients: Seven resident and graduate families received funds to assist with housing beyond Rainbow Village’s borders
During a night of many highlights, the standout moment occurred with the bestowing of the Barbara Howard High Achiever Award to Rainbow Village resident Tameka.
Tameka came to Rainbow Village with a $500+/month car note, making it impossible for her to achieve her financial goals. At the encouragement of her Success Coach, she turned the car in and was able to obtain a vehicle from Rainbow Village partner Heirborn Servants with no car note. This made it much easier for her to begin to see changes in her financial situation until she was in a car accident at no fault of her own. Sadly, the car was totaled, and while she did receive some money from insurance, it was not enough to obtain another vehicle.
A significant Women’s Giving Circle pledge arrived five days before the Microgrant Ceremony. The Rainbow Village team got its wheels turning for the best possible use of the donation. The day before the ceremony, Conner called upon its partners at Subaru of Gwinnett to learn if combining the funds from Tameka’s reserves and that latest donation could result in a car purchase. By the night of the Award Ceremony, a 2012 Chevy Malibu belonged to Tameka.
“As my first challenge of 2024, I’d like to encourage members of the metro Atlanta community to join the “Better Together” Women’s Giving Circle today if they aren’t already a member,” added Conner. “As the Circle grows, we genuinely just keep getting BETTER, and we’re able to impact more families in need. Since our first Microgrant Awards Ceremony in 2020, we’ve awarded $75,194 to residents and alumni!”
The first gathering of the year for the Rainbow Village “Better Together” Women’s Giving Circle will be hosted on March 21, 2024, at Coffee That Matters in Duluth. For more information about the group and to register as a new member, visit https://rainbowvillage.org/womens-giving-circle/. Conner encourages metro Atlanta businesses and individuals to visit www.RainbowVillage.org to learn about additional ways to get involved with the nonprofit and its crucial mission.