When Sandy Barber was a young girl, her mother instilled in her the importance of helping others. In her work and personal life, it’s clear that she not only received the message but passed it on to her own daughter, Nastassia. A software developer turned tester for Peachtree Corners-based Alogent, Sandy has spent the last 23 years either creating software to help companies function at a higher level or uncovering ways to make software developed by others even better. She applied that same focus to young girls – encouraging them to “help people at all times” and “make the world a better place” during her 13 years as a Girl Scout Leader. It was through Girl Scouts that Sandy first became familiar with Rainbow Village. Several of the girls in her troop volunteered for the Duluth-based nonprofit, and Nastassia collected and donated food for the families Rainbow Village serves.
A Devoted Volunteer
After Nastassia grew up and moved to Washington State and Sandy became an empty nester, she felt compelled to do something to give back. Feeling a connection to Rainbow Village and its mission to bring Help, Hope, Housing and Healing to families experiencing homelessness, she began volunteering with us in 2012. She started by helping coordinate groups that would prepare and serve Family Dinners each week, often offering her own assistance – right down to running the dishwasher. She has also enjoyed volunteering at The Rainbow Village “We Are Family” Benefit Gala and Second Chance Golf Classic over the years. Several years ago, she purchased birdhouses and handed them out to friends and coworkers to paint and decorate. Those birdhouses still hang on the fence line of Rainbow Village’s campus. She has also encouraged her co-workers to donate school supplies for back-to-school, provide food for summer lunches when the kids are out of school and volunteer to prepare and serve Family Dinners.
In the years since, she has been in awe of the dedication and passion shown by the staff at Rainbow Village as they equip their residents – from the adults to the children – with the tools they need to succeed, keep up with their alumni to ensure their continued success, and educate the public about the many faces of homelessness and the variety of situations that can lead them there.
The Evolution to Philanthropist
With the desire to do more, volunteering evolved into philanthropy. Sandy now sits on the Leadership Team for the Rainbow Village Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) – a diverse, dynamic and generous group of women engaged in an exciting venture of strategic philanthropy. WGC leverages the resources of individuals for greater impact by pooling members’ dollars and using the money to award microgrants to families of Rainbow Village. In turn, those microgrants are used to help families overcome obstacles in their journey to self-sustainability. At the third annual Microgrant Award Ceremony, hosted in December 2022, Sandy and her friends in the Women’s Giving Circle pooled more resources than ever before and awarded a grand total of $23,650 in microgrants to 27 deserving recipients.
“While they may seem small to others, these microgrants have the power to make a big difference in the lives of their recipients,” said Sandy. “It’s a very good feeling to actually see what that money is going to accomplish – whether it’s starting a small business, paying for college classes, writing a book or repairing a car so they have reliable transportation to get them to and from work. Each microgrant winner is so excited to be honored and have their proposed project chosen. It warms the heart.”
Fun Fact: Rainbow Village Volunteers Typically Give Three Times More Than the Average Donor!
What HOPE Means to Sandy
As Rainbow Village enters the final stages of our Give the Gift of HOPE fundraising campaign, we asked Sandy what HOPE means to her, “HOPE is when a family can move beyond the trauma of being homeless to a place they’re proud to call home… where they kids feel safe. For me, with every donation I make and every microgrant we award, I feel like I’m making a difference in a family’s life and there’s real HOPE in that. As for the HOPE I have for Rainbow Village and the families it serves, I hope each resident learns new life skills and feels compelled to manage their finances in a way that leads to a more secure future. I also HOPE to see this organization grow so it can help even more families. Whether volunteering or donating, I believe everyone should pitch in to help at the local level. That’s how we make change at the national level.”
Give the Gift of HOPE
With the funds raised during Rainbow Village’s Give the Gift of HOPE yearend initiative, we will continue to serve families experiencing homelessness on our campus through the provision of transitional housing, transformational programming and success coaching. In keeping with Sandy’s hope to make change at the local level, we also have big plans to expand our reach to other communities throughout Metro Atlanta in 2023. We invite you to donate TODAY to support this vision and bring a meaningful impact to families in need: https://bit.ly/RVGiftofHOPE. If you’re on the go, you can also text Giftofhope to 844-422-6444. For corporate contributions or large donations, we encourage you to call our Chief Philanthropy Officer, Randy Redner, directly on his Gift of HOPE Hotline at 404-273-1292. For more information about our organization and our mission to bring Help, Hope, Housing and Healing to families in need, please visit www.RainbowVillage.org.
Learn more about why Sandy gives of her time, talent and treasure to Rainbow Village in this video: https://youtu.be/7nUSMWovZPw