Help AF Cleaners, Bricks, Crystal Thai

CLOSING MESSAGE FEB 02 8PM: As you can probably all tell I am more of a numbers person and really cannot put into words how incredible this whole thing has been. You are all beautiful human beings. 

Please click here  for an itemization of payment and check details, and please reach out to me if you would like any further backend info.

Can't wait to see your smiling faces around the shopping center and neighborhood for many years to come!!!

Be well <3

UPDATE JAN 21 6PM: Forest Valet, Bricks, Crystal Thai, and Sense of Place have requested that I share the below note of gratitude, prepared by Chris on behalf of all four. I'll let their words speak for themselves:

UPDATE JAN 25 6PM: Dropped off check with Ann at Crystal Thai - and picked up some drunken noodle and mango sticky rice for dinner! Hungry yet??? :D :D :D I'll post a couple more times with screenshots of the last two checks clearing my account. 

UPDATE JAN 20 8PM: CHECK DELIVERED TO SHELTON AT BRICKS! ( Apologies for the bad selfies. I am out of practice! ) Aaand scheduled to give Ann at Crystal Thai her check next Monday Jan 24. I'll be posting screenshots of my bank account as the checks clear as well. 

UPDATE JAN 20 9:30AM: FUNDS ARRIVED AND TWO CHECKS DELIVERED TO KAY AND CHRIS! Today I will be in touch with Bricks and Crystal Thai to coordinate getting their checks delivered as well. More to come :)

UPDATE JAN 14 9PM: Great news - the remaining funds have finished processing through GoFundMe early and are available for withdrawal!

NOTE: One donation included in the $31,027 tally didn't end up processing through.
Ple Click here  to see email from GoFundMe about this, plus a reconciliation to remaining withdrawal and distributable total of $30,881.66!

Total to be distributed-------- $30,881.66

To Sense of Place Cafe----------$5,000.00
To Crystal Thai-------------------$8,627.22 
To Bricks Pizza-------------------$8,627.22
To Forest Valet-------------------$8,627.22              

Click here to see allocation calculation and tie out.

Now that we have the final totals, in the interest of getting the money into the hands of the businesses quickly, I will initiate withdrawal of the remaining amount today, January 14.

As soon as the funds hit my account (2-5 days from now) and I can coordinate with the owners, I will hand-deliver checks and post documentary photos of the delivery.

Then as the checks are cashed I will post screenshots here too.

Have a great evening and stay tuned for photo updates!      <3 Elise


Sometime during the night of January 6, several businesses at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center including the Forest Valet, Bricks Pizza, and Crystal Thai  had their front doors smashed and interiors ransacked. Kay’s door at Sense of Place was damaged but not destroyed.

This is so devastating for all of these small struggling literal mom and pop businesses who are so good to us and our community. The Bricks guy gives my dog water in the summer. Chris and his wife are  the most hardworking people. The coffee shop is a treasure.  Crystal Thai has been my favorite Thai place for almost 30 years.

All three businesses will need new doors to get up and operating again ASAP.

The total amount donated will be split equally between the cleaners', Bricks, and Crystal Thai. (SEE JAN 9 UPDATE BELOW) Please give if you can.

~Elise @ 5100 3rd St N.


UPDATE JAN 10 8PM: Campaign has closed! The final tally (after GoFundMe fees of 2.9% + $0.30 per donation) is screenshot above and it is so overwhelming and humbling. What a ride. I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of this community; to walk around the AF shopping center and see the adorable support hearts on the windows and know there is such kindness amongst neighbors. Hopefully the funds will give the businesses a little peace of mind -- but more importantly, a sense of the community's deep appreciation for everything they do.

Please refer to the timeline below (in IMPORTANT UPDATE JAN 9) for the fund withdrawal and distribution plan.

Stay tuned to this campaign page for updates documenting the events in the timeline, including screenshots when the funds arrive in my bank account, photos of delivery of the checks to Chris, Ann, Jeff, and Kay, and screenshots of the checks clearing my account as they are cashed.

Reach out any time with questions and again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all.


UPDATE JAN 10 9AM: Some funds have been sent to my account
- At some point during the withdrawal setup process yesterday I must have set the release schedule to "daily" before changing it to "monthly/on hold" in order to delay the withdrawal according to the plan. (I have since confirmed the schedule is set to "on hold").
- In consequence, I received THIS EMAIL  that $18,702 of the funds (presumably the earlier ones that had already cleared donor card pending) are being withdrawn to my bank account with initiation date of today.
- These funds should arrive in my account later this week and I will post a screenshot of my bank account activity as soon as the deposit arrives.
- The funds will sit in my account until joined by the remainder of the total funds - which I will initiate withdrawal on the 24th in accordance with the original timeline in the January 9 Update below.
- This will ensure the final amounts of the checks written to the businesses are in compliance with the Funds Use formula also in the January 9 Update below.
Again, thank you all so much for bearing with me as I navigate this process.

IMPORTANT UPDATE JAN 9 3:30PM Re: Items 4, 5, & 6 - Fund Use, Mechanics of Money Distribution and Timing:

- Fund Use: I've received a lot of feedback from donors implying that given the amount raised, an increase to the Sense of Place tranche is warranted. As such, the revised and FINAL formula is:
   -  $5,000 to Sense of Place Cafe
   -  Remaining balance as of campaign closure at 8PM EST Jan 10 to be split equally between New Forest Valet, Bricks, and Crystal Thai
I do not take this decision lightly, hope that it is a reasonable one, and welcome all additional feedback. 

- Mechanics: Just received official approval from GoFundMe for the plan to disburse checks from my account to each donor, so the mechanics will be as described in Section 5 below.

- Timing: Some bank-related boundaries indeed apply and influence the timeline.
GoFundMe told me that because contributions are processed individually from donor credit cards to GoFundMe's bank, it can take 1-14 days from the date of contribution for a given donation to be available for withdrawal. 
If I want to be sure to withdraw all the campaign funds cleanly at once, leaving them in GoFundMe's safe custody until that time, they suggested waiting until 14 days from the campaign closure date which is January 24 

TIMELINE: It is not as fast as we all would like, but I think this is the best way to do it, to ensure a clear chain of custody and avoid writing and reconciling a lot of small checks as the funds trickle in:

        - UPDATE JAN 10 9AM: Some funds were released for withdrawal to my account see full details above

        - Jan 10 8PM Eastern: Campaign closes

        - Jan 24: I initiate fund withdrawal of REMAINING final processed donation total to my bank account (this can take 2-5 days per GoFundMe). I post an update with the final exact dollar amounts going to each of the businesses in accordance with the Fund Use formula above.

        - As soon as the funds arrive in my account, hope no later than Jan 29: I write checks and hand deliver to businesses, adding updates and photodocumentation of delivery to the GoFundMe site

        - Jan 30+: I add screenshots of my bank account to the GoFundMe site as the checks are cashed.

        - Ongoing: We all continue to get lots of pizza, Thai food, coffee and baked goods, which we spill on our clothes so we take them to get cleaned

Please contact me with any suggestions or questions and thank you all again times a million.

UPDATE 4PM Thursday Jan 7: THIS HAS BLOWN UP AND ITS AMAZING. Something similar happened with the Save Cupid fundraiser that AWLA did for the kitkat who got shot with an arrow. They didn't expect the insane generosity and were able to expand the scope of their charity. The money raised here, therefore, will hopefully do way more for these pandemic-hit businesses than just fix their doors. 

As such, I was hoping it would be OK with everyone to officially state/propose the following:

1. My name: Annelise (Elise) Dickinson
2. Where you're from: Arlington, VA, address above
3. Relationship to parties raising funds for: I patronize all of these businesses regularly and know a couple of the owners in person
4. How the funds will be used (be specific as possible): 

 -  $2,000 to Sense of Place Cafe (NOTE: AMENDMENT IN JAN 9 UPDATE ABOVE)
 -  Remaining funds to be split equally between New Forest Valet, Bricks, and Crystal Thai (since those had interior damage and other property loss).

Specific uses by each business will be at their own discretion and will likely vary depending on their specific needs. However I presume these expenses may include any or all of the following:

 - Insurance deductibles
 - Repairs and maintenance
 - Lost business and extra effort
 - Security upgrades

5. Mechanics of money distribution: 

- Disclaimer: I've never done a GoFundMe before and set this one up without knowing the exact mechanics of money distribution.
- As far as I can tell now, GoFundMe only allows one campaign beneficiary bank account at a time. This restriction poses an issue since there will be four actual distributees.
- The note I just got from GoFundMe in response to my question about how to deal with getting the money to four different people was:
"If you intend to withdraw the money, [explain] how you plan to send the funds to the parties you're raising money for or use the money on their behalf"
-  Chris at New Forest Valet kindly offered to be the official single GoFundMe beneficiary account and then distribute to the others. However I do not want to burden Chris at this time with the responsibility of paperwork and compliance (giving his bank account information to GoFundMe, making sure he is validated and authorized etc).

Therefore unless anyone has objections: I propose withdrawing the funds to my bank account, writing paper checks to each business and delivering them by hand. This method has the approval of the businesses as well. I will take pictures of the handoffs of the checks to each owner, and upload them to this GoFundMe site, along with screenshots of my bank account as the checks clear.

If anyone has suggestions on how to make this process more transparent, visible, and documented, please tell me.

( The other option of course would be changing the beneficiary bank account to the New Forest Valet, and then working with Chris to distribute the money from that account with similar photodocumentation. This would take more time but can be done. )

Please reach out to me with any questions or comments. Thank you for bearing with me as I figure this all out.

6. Timing of Campaign: 

Given (a) How insanely much has been raised so far (b) Discussions with others in the community  and (c) We want to get the funds out to the businesses quickly and cleanly, the campaign will stay live and accepting donations through 8PM Sunday January 10.

At that time the funds will be withdrawn and I will initiate the distribution process as detailed above and below (assuming no objections or regulatory issues).

Please continue to visit the AF shopping center and give these wonderful people your support in the form of your business going forward. THAT is the real campaign - the appreciation of our community.

Donations (457)

  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs
  • Julia Paegle
    • $30 
    • 3 yrs
  • Chip Andrews
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Christopher A Adukaitis
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs


Annelise Dickinson
Arlington, VA

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