Whatever led you to this page, I’m thankful for it. My name is Lenée (she/her). I’m a writer, community organizer, and energy worker. I was born and live in Philadelphia, on stolen Lenape land. In 2019, I launched the #AnonymousCrowdfund, a series of crowdfunding campaigns on behalf of marginalized folks who lacked a network to tap into. The Anonymous Crowdfund has raised approximately $30,000 for people in need. This past summer, the crowdfund housed a Black family escaping abuse, supported a chronically ill mother and child impacted by COVID, and saved a pregnant woman from eviction. That’s just to name a few of the things I’ve been able to help people realize as I’ve lovingly labored to care for those who did not have anywhere else to turn. The network of the Anonymous Crowdfund exists because I believe no one should go without their needs met. At the same time, there is no way I can sustain this work in its current iteration. For transparency: I am the sole fundraiser, including donation tracking and disbursement of funds. This means I’m my own administrative assistant, I’m my own intake/ screening person, all while fundraising. It’s a lot of work, and I love it. There’s nothing like being able to tell someone not to worry about their next meal.
At the same time, I am very, very overwhelmed by the need for help in comparison to what I’m capable of on my own. More than once in the past six months, I’ve had to take a complete hiatus from social media and crowdfunding to avoid burnout/ resentment. During my most recent break, I asked myself the following questions: What would it mean if I had the income to cover my overhead? What would it look like for my needs to be met without question, as I extend myself to meet the needs of others? What does it mean to do as much for myself as I do for everyone else?
The Anonymous Crowdfund is a unique combination of my work experience, lived experience, and my social networks, which I leverage to the benefit of people who would otherwise languish without support. I truly love and enjoy helping people get what they need. However, my needs in the last 3 months have changed. I need help to not just meet those needs, but exceed them. In other words, I need a soft place to land. That’s where y’all come in.
I am making an ask of $10,000. This amount will help me move into a safe home, cover my bills for a few months, and ensure that my regular needs are met. As some of you know, I live in an apartment that’s slowly crumbling around me. I moved here in March 2017 with the expectation of staying no longer than two years, and moving onto a better kept building with fewer or no structural, plumbing, or electrical issues. Because of an extended period of illness (including 3 surgeries over a 19 month period), I was not able to focus on leaving. As of today date, my apartment is a health hazard. I have mold rapidly growing in my bedroom closet and my bathroom. My landlord has consistently been lax about repairs to the building overall, and cannot be trusted to take care of things in my apartment. I need to move no later than January 1, 2021. I understand the risks of moving during a pandemic; at the same time, living in a drafty, poorly kept building with my mold allergy and arthritis is not going to work for me. Given the cost of housing in my city, I’m looking at $900-$1200 in rent alone. My monthly utilities are approximately $250 and should stay at that amount going forward. Groceries, laundromat use, meds, personal care, and COVID-safe transport are usually another $300-$450 per month. I need money to survive, as do we all.
This campaign is significantly different from the GoFundMe I launched in 2018, because it is not an emergency fund. It is a sustainability fund. By not having to stress about my own needs, I will be freer to help my community. I currently provide FREE reiki to Black people, in addition to sliding scale reiki sessions and intuitive tarot sessions. I wish to continue to organize on behalf of folks who need it. That work is unpaid, period. The folks I support need every dollar they receive; I never ask them for any of it. Because I do not do traditional 501c3 fundraising, there is no standard for how I can be paid, nor is there a salary that properly compensates me in the work I do. This $10,000 will give me room to not only breathe and truly rest when I can, but it will pay me while I seek and/ or create paid opportunities for myself as a creative and organizer.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic and civil unrest in the United States, I am in personal flux. I need my network to hold me close and hold me down. Please, if you’re able, put something on my fund. If you cannot, please consider passing my link along. Here other ways to support me:
Hire me as a fundraising consultant.
Commission me to write about mutual aid, self-recovery, navigating the world with chronic and/ or mental illness, grief and loss, or anything else you catch me discussing on social media.
Book a reiki or tarot session with me.
As I go forward, I’ll update this campaign regularly. I’m incredibly grateful for each of you, and am always rooting for us. Thank you, from the very depths of my heart.
In community and love,
- Colleen Hendrick
- Marcie J Wood
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