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World Breastfeeding Week Celebration Funds

Barbara Emanuel
LLLI Director, United States Western Division
Cindy Garrison
LLLI Director, Eastern United States Division
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 6, December 2005-January 2006, p. 134.

When it was determined that a workgroup of US Leaders would coordinate the World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations (WBWC) for 2004, the two US Divisions began considering how they might use the extra funds that could be generated through the WBWC. Having an increased amount of funding coming into the Divisions presented new opportunities and challenges to arrive at the best use of this money. We'd like to share how each Division worked to determine how these funds would be used.

The Eastern United States Division

The Eastern United States Division (EUS) made the discussion of funding a focus of the annual Staff Meeting, held in February 2004. Very quickly it was agreed that the money should go to programs or services that supported Leaders, as they are the ones who raised the money. During the EUS Staff Meeting, we used a timed exercise called "21 Boxes" to brainstorm about appropriate uses of these funds. We came up with enough different ideas to fill five easel-sized pieces of paper. (For more information on this exercise, contact Cindy Garrison.)

During the next day, Staff members voted on the ideas they felt would be most valuable and volunteered for workgroups to develop the top vote-getters into proposals, complete with budget information. The Division Staff selected four new projects.

Due to the unforeseen devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the anticipated timing for initiation of the projects has been staggered. A portion of the funding has been directed to new projects that will help Leaders in the affected areas rebuild their Leader and Group materials. We are very enthused about the projects we developed for using the WBWC funds and look forward to the adventure of putting them into action. We also appreciate the spontaneous response from Leaders wanting to help their Sister Leaders and breastfeeding mothers and babies in the Gulf States.

The United States Western Division

In the United States Western Division (USWD), staff members discussed many uses for the additional funding. The money that was invested in continuing education for Leaders is having a positive return. These events not only add to the skills we share as Leaders, but the connection established with each other at events also recharges and renews our energy for continuing in our volunteer roles.

Leaders are applying what they've learned at leadership workshops to transform the way they conduct Leader planning meetings, Area Council meetings, and Area Retreats and Conferences. Leaders are finding these ideas and possibilities helpful as they begin working in distributive ways. Expanding our communication skills and learning new meeting methods help us work together to further the LLLI mission and purpose.

Both Divisions have been very conscious of the responsibility for using these funds wisely. As a result of careful and thoughtful planning, Leaders throughout the US will have new avenues of support and opportunities to feel recognized and appreciated for the work they do for mothers, for babies, and for LLLI.

USWD projects implemented using WBWC funds:

  • Provided scholarships for 24 Leaders to attend a four-day Transformative Large Group Conversation Workshop in Bloomingdale, Illinois.
  • WBWC funding eliminated the need for USWD to increase fees this fiscal year.
  • WBWC funding will be held in trust for future Leader projects and scholarships to attend learning opportunities at divisional and international levels.
  • Provide learning opportunities for USWD staff members.

EUS projects implemented using the WBWC funds:

  • Adding a research position to the EUS staff to review current journals and Web sites and work closely with the Center for Breastfeeding Information.
  • Sending a special token of appreciation to all Leaders within the EUS to let them know how much their support of breastfeeding mothers and babies is appreciated by the administrators who support them.
  • Setting aside a portion of the funds received to provide scholarships for Leader continuing education.
  • Developing a newsletter to promote LLL as a resource, to educate health care professionals about breastfeeding topics, and to maintain LLL as a presence and authority for up-to-date, accurate information.

EUS Projects to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina:

  • The "Heart-to-Heart" fund: collects donations for Leaders and the Groups that they lead. The funds will be applied to LLL-related concerns, such as books and office materials for Group Libraries, Leader resources, and other related costs. Donations to this fund can be sent to: Charlene Jenkins, 2809 Pearwood Court, Matthews, NC 28105 USA. This will become a permanent account to be used in any similar situations in the future.
  • "Sister-to-Sister," an adopt-a-Group program. Participants in this program can purchase Leader or Group materials using money from their Group Treasury. Individuals may also send personal donations, such as toys, clothes, toiletries, or gift cards for nationwide chain stores. Any Group or Chapter interested in helping a specific Leader or Group can send their information to: Cindy Garrison, 115 White Way, Canonsburg, PA 15317 USA.
  • The EUS will provide copies of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, and the LEADER'S HANDBOOK to Leaders who have lost their copies due to flooding or other damage and will pay dues for Leaders and Groups impacted by the hurricane.
  • The EUS Division and USWD will designate the Joint Projects Money derived from the 2006 World Breastfeeding Week Celebration funds to projects involved with support of Leaders and breastfeeding mothers in the affected areas of the Gulf States.
  • Groups holding events for the 2005 World Breastfeeding Week Celebration were also informed that they could use some or all of the funds they raised for the Heart-to-Heart Fund.

A year from now we will contact Leaders in the EUS, and invite them to share how the projects affected them, their work with mothers, and their promotion and encouragement of breastfeeding.

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