Blog Post by: Heather Frank
Over the years, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone and expectation for the year ahead. In 2021, I chose the word resilience.
If I’m being honest, the last two years have really tested me, both professionally and personally, as I constantly strive to really be all things for all people. In the reality of this time, I’ve learned that all people don’t need all things, but DO need great friendship, partnership, and mentorship. 2021 started off full of hope, and ultimately proved to us just how much hope inspires and is realized through hard work. So as we look back and reflect, I do it through a lens of celebration, collaboration, communication, success, failure, and adaptation.
Let’s talk about success, because our story here at STUDIO 4Forty (thankfully) just keeps getting better. A company started in 2008 with an idea from founder Elaine Honig, an event to benefit nonprofits with a focus on women, now boasts three event brands, offers digital courses, and champions an incredible staff of strong, smart, sophisticated women… not to mention, partners with nonprofits doing incredibly good work all over the country (and Canada)!
How have we grown? In 2021, we reached $100 million net raised from 553 events…and we’re just getting started. This success wouldn’t be possible without the amazing support of our charity partners and their dedicated commitment to their missions and local communities, nationally and internationally.
We celebrated a year of milestones for our staff, too. Our four project managers, including myself, Ashlee Meier, Krista Elmore, and Jennifer Downes, all took and passed the Certified Fund Raising Executive exam this year to earn that distinguished designation. This continued commitment to expand our knowledge of ethical and uplifting fundraising for our expanded philanthropy community was accomplished with you at heart. And since we have passed, we’ve inspired several of our fellow fundraisers to apply and take the exam themselves. We’re thrilled to see our community rise up and take on the challenges of these past years with so much hope and resilience of their own.
The successes of 2021 extended to our nonprofit partners, too, in big ways. After a year and a half of so much uncertainty, we were able to return to in-person events for many of our teams and feel the energy and excitement of giving in those event spaces! We saw some of the most successful in-person events in the history of our company, raising more net revenue for incredibly deserving nonprofits than ever before. We felt a renewed sense of hope, empowerment, and community that we soaked up and celebrated with each of our partners. Being back on the road to support each of you has renewed our souls more than you will ever know. We genuinely LOVE being by your side on this fundraising journey.
We gratefully brought new friends and partners into the STUDIO 4Forty family this year. We have seen and felt the excitement of a return to events and we can’t wait to see what 2022 holds.
So, in the end, we’re doing it. We’re growing. We’re challenging ourselves. We’re making moves within our communities. And we’re not taking no for an answer. We have been resilient, and now we look to 2022 with a new word: courageous. I challenge you to have the courage to be adventurous and to create change. If I see you on the road, hug me, because I’m a hugger. If I see you in a digital course, send me a message, because I want to hear from you. And if I don’t see you, give me a call! I mean it when I say I’m here for you.
Cheers to you, dear friends! May your families be blessed in all the things that are to come,
President, STUDIO 4Forty