Five Years

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” As I searched for something to summarize my experience with Compassion Cards, I stumbled upon the words of Dr. King; his statement rings true. On February 26th, 2014, I never could’ve imagined all that would come from an anxiety-ridden night, so much sorrow, and a small ounce of hope. When I took that first step, I had no concept of where this staircase would lead me. I’m so happy it led me here.

Five years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. What a wild ride this has been. A few weeks ago, we gathered with many of our donors and volunteers to celebrate five years of Compassion Cards! It doesn’t seem real, but it was lovely! We were able to share memories of the past with them, as well as a vision for year five, and the years to come. Our internet family is just as much a part of this movement as our local community is, so we want to be sure to share the excitement with all of you, too!

When I took that first step, I had no concept of where this staircase would lead me.

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I’ve learned so much in the past five years. I’ve learned a lot about myself as an individual, a friend, and a leader. The way I love people has grown and changed so much over the years, and I am very grateful for that. I’m grateful for each way I’ve changed, and every lesson I’ve learned along this journey.

Compassion Cards started at my parents’ kitchen table. On Sunday afternoons, my friends and I would gather to write cards, and take them around the area to pass them out. Today, Compassion Cards partners with organizations all around the U.S. to send thousands of cards to people all over the world. In 2018, we sent nearly 8,000 cards. WOW.

Our cards go to people of all different backgrounds and beliefs. We believe that every person has a purpose, and we believe in telling them! Our cards have gone to the homeless, students, teachers, prison inmates, human trafficking victims, the LGBTQ+ community, summer camp kids, children separated from their families in border states, orphans, widows, the elderly, and so many other beautiful human beings. We won’t ever stop working hard to love all people, and to love them well.

Year 5 and following are gonna be big. We’ve dreamed big dreams, and we’ve got lots to share with you about the future of our homegrown nonprofit!

  • 10,000 Cards: With 7,845 cards sent in 2018, the next logical step was to increase our goal to 10k in 2019! We are excited to reach thousands of new people this year, and to keep on loving! We’ll be working hard on these cards, and can’t wait to share them with you and with the world!

  • Sustainability: With paper and plastic pens being our primary program supplies, we recognize that we generate a lot of waste. It is our goal to be conscious of the waste we create, to cut down on that, and to properly recycle things when we’ve finished using them. In addition to this, we plan to begin using sustainably sourced materials as often as possible. Our mission will always be to love people well, but we definitely want to do that in a way that honors the planet we all call home!

  • Ambassador Program: We’ve received an increase in inquiries from people in difference geographic locations wanting to be a part of the CC family. Nothing makes us happier than when people want sit at this big table with us, and we’re working hard to create a space for that! We want to mobilize people in other regions to be a part of our family, and we can’t wait to see what this holds! We’ll be working closely with a dedicated team to develop this initiative, with plans to launch in early-to-mid 2020!

  • CC Product Line: We are absolutely OVER THE MOON about this one! We’ve had lots of discussion about how we could generate revenue into the organization without taking away from your financial donations. Our very own product line is the answer! In it’s infancy, this online store will include greeting cards and journals, with future plans to include a physical store-front, calendars, wall art, apparel, and more! The idea here is that the income received from our brand will cover the administrative/overhead costs of running Compassion Cards, so that the donations we receive from our generous contributors can continue going straight toward the mission of this organization. It is also our hope that the brand will allow us to hire a few staffers in the near future! We’re looking to launch phase one of this project in early 2020!

CC Product Line Prototypes/Designed by Elizabeth Plumb + Jordie DiFernando.

CC Product Line Prototypes/Designed by Elizabeth Plumb + Jordie DiFernando.

That’s a lot of BIG announcements, but we are so excited for the future of Compassion Cards! I am so proud of my team, and thankful for all the hard work they’ve poured over Compassion Cards in the last five years! The next five are going to be incredible!

Before I go, I have a few more things I want to say:

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If you’re looking for ways to get involved, please look around our website, or send us an inquiry to hello@compassioncards.org! There are so many different ways you can be involved, even if you don’t like writing cards! Being involved in CC takes many forms! We travel to groups to do workshops, host house parties, and also put on community events throughout the year. There’s lots to be a part of, and we’d love to talk with you about becoming a part of what we’re doing here!

Finally, thank you. If you’ve ever given a moment, a supply, a dollar, or a piece of your own heart to this work, thank you so much. If you’ve written card, thank you. Thanks for believing with us that all people matter, and for coming alongside us in this work. You’re immeasurably appreciated. If you’ve ever received a card, thanks for giving value to what we do, and allowing us to speak good things to you. We love you so much. We believe in you, and we believe in your dreams!

And, to the best team ever, I couldn’t do this without you, and I wouldn’t want to. For picking me up in the very beginning, and for latching on to Compassion Cards with me when it was the only thing my hands could hold, thank you. For being present in every moment since then, thank you. This is more than just an organization, it’s a family.

Compassion Cards is my baby; it’s my heart. It’s growing up, and it’s doing new things.

Happy 5th birthday! This is all I never knew I needed, many dreams I’ve dreamed, and so much more.

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Jordie DiFernando
Founder + CEO
jordie@compassioncards.org

Jordan DiFernando