Voices United (VU), a Robson Ranch progressive women’s group, organizes multiple fundraisers each year supporting community organizations. One such event is VU’s annual IGNITE fundraiser. IGNITE is a national, non-partisan 501(c)(3) that helps young women become the next generation of political leaders. They train women at schools and colleges in Texas—including UNT and Texas Woman’s University—and across the U.S.
Our goal this year was to exceed 2019’s IGNITE donation by $1,000 with one giant obstacle—COVID-19! That obstacle was quickly resolved with the extraordinary organizational skills of our Community Outreach Committee headed by Karen McDaniels and her hard-working committee members (Jan Lands, Jane Scholz, Renee Smith, Ellen Bartlett, Vicki Shoemaker, Tracy Olson, Karen Donohue, Frances Rolater, and Lisa Olson).
They established a Zoom virtual meeting held on August 1 that included guest speakers, a silent auction, raffle, and wine glass decorating contest with 32 women in attendance. Raffle and auction prizes included a selection of wines, wine gadgets, IGNITE t-shirts, gift certificates from Ten:One Cheese, a teardrop-shaped turquoise and silver pendant and earring set, along with bottles of specialty wine and champagne. The highest bid came from Nanci Odom for a Total Wine Private Class donated by Total Wine & More.
Their efforts netted VU $6,560, exceeding last year’s event by $1,530.
VU’s own Marriott Terry introduced IGNITE guest speaker Whitney Thomas, Associate Director of Major Giving, Texas. Whitney identified why Gen Z generation doesn’t vote at a high rate and what it would take to help them vote. This study produced the #IGNITEtheVote initiative, a national campaign to assist students to vote. Tools include technology to help students register, get a ballot, and cast it. Learn more at www.ignitenational.org/vote.
Whitney also introduced two aspiring women who have come up through the ranks of IGNITE: Raie Gessesse and Ximena Mondragon. The positive energy and excitement these two young women exude and their outlook on the future is a testament to the positive results being associated with and growing through IGNITE.