By Donnie DeBolt, Lilliput Families
We were so excited to apply for the Inspire Giving grant for 2017, with the hopes of getting a grant to build an ADA accessible front entrance at our main office in Citrus Heights. Every day we would see just how important it was to make the sidewalk and doorway more accessible for those with disabilities since we hold frequent trainings and workshops for families wanting to foster or adopt a child at our office. Yet, each year we have been challenged to find sufficient resources to make this happen as our priority has been to meet the need to find permanent, loving families for the ever-growing number of children in foster care. Little did we know that by being the recipients of this award, we would not only receive two ADA compliant doors but also a new sidewalk and completely new landscaping around three sides of our office! We now have a fully accessible parking lot, entryway and lovely drought tolerant and visually appealing landscaping. The creative abilities of the team to find a way to take the happiness of children and families and showcase that outside of our building has added significant value to our agency, clients, staff, and community.
Going into this, we looked forward to completing the ADA project that had been tabled since our purchase of the building in 2011. We had no idea what opportunity and impact came along with the $10,000 grant award. During the four Saturdays that we worked shoulder to shoulder with over 20 volunteers and numerous members of the Inspire Giving team, we had the opportunity to get to know each other well. There is nothing quite like coming together, rolling up your sleeves and mucking around in mud, digging deep holes for plants, shoveling mulch and then standing back and seeing a complete transformation. We were amazed by the support of our community, by the number of volunteers, local business contributions of product and labor, and pure determination to help us get the biggest projects done in time to showcase the Inspire Giving project to the next round of applicants. We were also able to obtain a matching grant from the City of Citrus Heights for our signage and other exterior upgrades that we feel certain would not have happened if we hadn’t had the Inspire Grant to start the project.
This opportunity has allowed us to expand our volunteer base by an additional 50 individuals, connect with community businesses that are new to us, maintain our spending toward finding children in foster care a nurturing, lifelong family vs. spending money on building and grounds, and make use of the additional exposure of our agency and mission to recruit board members, volunteers and donors to support our mission. Receiving the Inspire Giving grant was by far the greatest opportunity that came our way in 2017 and we know that it is a gift that will keep on giving for years to come! The Inspire Giving volunteers truly lived their motto: “A little is enough if enough people do it” yet our experience was that there is nothing “little” about what they offer to our region.