Hanging on a wall in my house there’s a sign that reads “Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out, take another shot.” For the past about 6 months I almost gave up on "taking other shots" because I felt the need to change the camera altogether, several times even :) I'm the kind of person that likes to cross out things off a list; as in “done”, “checked”, “accomplished”, etc. You get the idea.
At the beginning of spring the RUF list looked like this:
- Donor’s Circle - canceled
- Community Center - postponed
- RUF Fundraising Gala for MagiCAMP - canceled
In-person meetings and brainstorming sessions - who are we kidding?
This year proved to be a challenging one, from COVID-19 to civil unrest, from quarantine to having heated discussions with strangers and friends about masks, responsibility, politics, police, schools, etc.
And yet, in the middle of all the craziness, the not-so-loved-at-the-moment camera was able to capture some bright moments.
In a nutshell: the fundraising for the hospitals in Romania, the online meetings, coding classes, trading classes, new volunteers, several online birthday parties, the 5 winning projects we are really excited about, 240 new kilometers inaugurated on Via Transilvanica, new Executive Director, our new Facebook group, new fundraising projects, updates from community partners.
Now the most recent news in a coconut-shell (slightly larger than a nutshell) - yes, the quarantine makes you come up with new words and terms:
RUF welcomes the new Executive Director, Daniela Kammrath
Building on its recent growth, Romanian United Fund is pleased to announce Daniela Kammrath as Executive Director. Daniela is a seasoned community organizer, with more than twenty years of experience in fundraising and developing communities.
“We are very excited to appoint Daniela Kammrath as Executive Director. Daniela brings tremendous experience and a long-standing desire to make a real difference and create impactful change across the Romanian Community,” said Mihai Lehene, Founding Member and President of the Board of Directors, Romanian United Fund.
“I have been closely involved with RUF for more than a year now, as Board Member and Adviser to the President. I believe in its mission, and its values are my values. I am thrilled with the amazing team of volunteers, the board, and the advisory board, as well as the great achievements we’ve had so far. We have set the bar high for ourselves and we strive to excel. I am honored for the trust I have been granted. I am excited to take on this role and to contribute with my experience and knowledge to grow our organization and work together towards making our vision come to life. I look forward to continuing our involvement with the Romanian American community in the United States and, through philanthropy, to unite and reconnect with our native country and our local American communities.“
The RUF Nation
In our efforts to follow the vision of a strong and connected Romanian diaspora that helps finance the most impactful Romanian nonprofit initiatives and contributes to their own communities as well, we launched our Facebook group: RUF Nation. Anyone around the world who is a friend of Romania is welcome to join and share the philanthropic activities they are a part of, promote Romanian NGOs and their activities, both in diaspora and in Romania, or simply spread some good news.
October is up to a strong start. Here are the new fundraisers for some great projects put forward by our community partners in Romania:
“What Air Am I Breathing?” is the name of the campaign launched with the help of two of our partners: Declic and Caravana cu Medici. The project intends to monitor the air in Cluj-Napoca. The campaign will raise funds for the purchase of 20 nationally accredited air pollution monitoring sensors, installed in strategic locations designed to ensure optimal city coverage. The sensors will monitor 11 air quality parameters, including the presence of particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10, which, when inhaled, can have harmful effects on our health. You can find more about the project and the fundraiser on their Facebook page.
United Way Romania, one of our strategic partners, will launch an educational campaign in mid-October. The organization creates and implements educational, health, and integration programs for disadvantaged people in Bucharest, Cluj, Timişoara, and surrounding areas. Follow and like our Facebook page for updates on the project.
Beethoven once said that “music can change the world”. Combine music with fundraising and you have the recipe for an even bigger impact. The organizers of the Balkan Chestnut Festival, an annual festival in Virginia, put together a virtual fundraising event that will take place on October 9th and 10th. The proceeds from the tickets will be split between 3 NGOs that impact communities in the Balkans, one of the organizations being yours truly, RUF. The cherry on top, Andreea Rebaltescu-Coca, our own RUF Communications Director is one of the entertainers and Master of Ceremonies.
Updates from our Community Partners
TEACH FOR ROMANIA
When it comes to education, one of the big lessons of the last months was that online or offline, the connection that really matters is the one between the teacher and their student. Over the summer, with RUF’s support, Teach for Romania organized the first Digital Pedagogy Academy for Public Teachers in Education in Romania - six weeks of intensive experience, involving over 200 adults, 300+ hours of learning and practice hours, and 330 students from under-privileged communities throughout Romania. The result was the first generation of digital teachers better prepared to respond to the uncertainty of this school year.
80% of "The Road" (we're assuming that by now everyone knows what we are talking about) is done. 800 kilometers completed, with more than 250 this year only. The phone application is up and running and even with the restrictions in place Via Transilvanica had guests this summer that walked its paths and enjoyed its beauty. Visit their Facebook group to see amazing pictures and read about adventures, dreams, journeys, and friendships.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS AWARDS
Well, that’s like the Oscars for nonprofit organizations, and this year several of our community partners received an award (minus the golden statue mind you, which doesn’t make their effort and impact less important and noteworthy)
- Code4Romania won the 1st Prize with VotDiaspora Project in the Civic and Public Participation Category.
- Teach 4 Romania won the 1st Prize with the “Where it is not Possible” project in the Social Inclusion Category.
- MagiCAMP won the 2nd Prize with MagicHelp-Solidarity Network Project in the Social Programs Category.
- Funky Citizens won the 2nd Prize with “80east-Civic Education Lab” in the Youth Programs Category.
Phew! It was quite a lot. If you made it this far, thank you. It’s been a while since our last newsletter and we wanted to make sure to include the most important and up-to-date information. If you want to be kept in the loop don’t forget to follow our Facebook page. If you want to get involved, become a volunteer or a member.
Until next time, we bid you farewell!
Anamaria Neamt, Newsletter Word Whisperer In Chief
Adriana Kulcsar, Web Editor, Deputy Word Whisperer