An Interview With Carol Babbitt, National President, Project Linus
On Christmas Eve 1995, an article titled "Joy to the World" by award-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams appeared in Parade Magazine. Part of the article told of a child who found great comfort in a security blanket as she endured intensive chemotherapy treatments.
According to the organization’s website, Project Linus was born when its founder, Karen Loucks Baker (wife of famous drummer Ginger Baker), saw the article and decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center.
“As Charles Schulz’s Linus character from the PEANUTS® comic strip was comforted by his blanket, Project Linus strives to do the same and more for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need,” the site explains. “The blankets our nearly 400 chapter coordinators collect from thousands of 'blanketeers' (volunteers) across the United States and then distributed to these children provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort."
Here, FundRaising Success talks with National President Carol Babbitt about the organization's fundraising.
FundRaising Success: What is the organization’s mission?
Carol Babbitt: Project Linus is a nonprofit organization with a twofold mission. First, it is our mission to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers." Second, it is our mission to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.
FS: How do you fund your mission?
CB: Public donations. Some corporate donations. We have almost 400 chapters across the country. Chapter coordinators raise funds locally for their local activities (included in budget). All of them are the fiscal responsibility of Project Linus National Headquarters and under our 501c3.
FS: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces as far as fundraising is concerned?
CB: Finding potential grant makers and donors that are interested in what we do. While many of our chapters do a pretty good job on the local level, many of them refuse or are afraid to try fundraising. And mostly we struggle with finding the big dollars (my responsibility) that are necessary to support them and our national headquarters.
FS: How do you overcome those challenges?
CB: I'm searching for that answer.
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
CB: I'm hopeful that we can continue to learn more and find ways to get our name in front of people who can be moved by our mission to open up their checkbooks.