Every Giving Hearts Day, many reasonable people take part in what many might consider an unreasonable act: jumping into a pool of water…in Minnesota…in February.

It’s called the Polar Plunge, and it happens for the very reasonable purpose of supporting Creative Care for Reaching Independence (CCRI), the Moorhead, Minnesota-based nonprofit providing person-centered services to people with disabilities.

Anyone who has participated in this event or has met the folks from CCRI knows the enthusiasm and joy both bring to our community is undeniable.

This enthusiasm, in turn, attracts donors and business partners alike. Lexi Bahl is the Marketing Director for Spicy Pie’s Midwest region. Last September, Spicy Pie launched a fundraising program called Partner with the Pie to help nonprofits fundraise.

“When we were trying to come up with different groups to start off with as our initial partners, we knew that CCRI would be great to reach out to because of how active they are with their supporters and how well we had worked together on events such as the Polar Plunge,” says Bahl. “The sense of community we have from working with CCRI has made the partnership worth it.”

Donors have stepped up as well. The Polar Plunge and Giving Hearts Day have helped raise $70,839, in 2018, and $63,589, in 2017 to help CCRI carry out its mission. That kind of support doesn’t happen by accident.

According to CCRI Development Director, Jody Hudson, the money goes to supporting what she calls core service enhancements. To understand what that means, you first need to understand core services which represent what they define as greatest needs, like jobs and housing.

Core service enhancements differ in that they focus on the unique needs of the individual, like work boots, bus passes, athletics passes, social activities, or adaptive equipment.

In Hudson’s words, “They are the things that make life more colorful for the people we serve. They are the things that bring joy.”

A perfect example of this, and one of Hudson’s favorite stories describes one CCRI caregiver’s experience buying an outrageously colored pair of shoes for a person she serves. It’s the perfect example because it’s not only a story of donor dollars being used to buy someone a pair of shoes, it’s the story of buying the ONLY pair of shoes that would, for that person, represent their independence, individuality, personality, and most importantly, their humanity.

Purpose to impact

The mission of CCRI is to enhance and enrich the lives and learning of people with disabilities.

Founded in 1977, CCRI supports people with disabilities by connecting them to the community and helping them celebrate their success. These monies raised from the Polar Plunge and Giving Hearts Day fund CCRI’s core service enhancements, bringing joy and color to the lives of people they serve.

Stay tuned for another nonprofit story next week, and remember to live with purpose!

Derek Hatzenbuhler

Author Derek Hatzenbuhler

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