Cheers for Charity: Celebrating Veterans
This piece is presented by CAF America as part of the “Our Stories” series, which features personal stories and interviews with CAF America staff. The following is an interview with Ron Crognale, Director of Marketing and Communications, about his nonprofit, Party For A Purpose (DC).
With the pillars of Friendship, Charity, and Community as their foundation, Party For A Purpose (DC) is a nonprofit founded by a group of friends who pooled their skills and talents to organize events benefiting local charities. The events aim to raise money for a specific initiative, but also spread awareness and build engagement between the community and local charities. Party for a Purpose is fully committed to the cause they support, all revenue goes directly to the charity they are sponsoring. They strive to do good while having fun.
Ron, you are a graphic designer who chose the nonprofit sector for your professional life. Beyond this however, you are also one of the founders of a nonprofit. You’ve recently used your skills to create an event aimed at raising money and awareness for veterans.
RC: Correct! Graphic design is one of my passions and it has enabled myself and 9 of my friends to start my our own nonprofit called, Party For A Purpose. Most recently I was able to use my background in graphic design to prepare materials for our most recent event, “Cheers for Charity”, which occurred the weekend before Veterans Day. We wanted to highlight an organization that helps veterans, so we decided to partner with Frogman Outdoors for this project. This charity sponsors veterans to go on recreational rehabilitation opportunity through guided saltwater fishing trips in Florida’s Space Coast, and we were glad to hear that they were ready to commit the funds we raise to support candidates from the DC area.
Tell us a bit more about “Cheers for Charity” and the concept behind it?
RC: Part of our mission is to make sure our events are fun and exciting but also introduce the attendees to the charity which we are sponsoring. “Cheers for Charity” was a wine tour in Northern Virginia where we rented buses to take people to different wineries in the area. It was a really impressive turnout; everyone had a great time and learned about the great work that Frogman Outdoors does!
What is the primary mission of Party For A Purpose? What role did you play in the creation of the organization?
RC: Party For A Purpose was created in 2014 when myself and 9 other friends realized that we could combine our skills and talents to help local charities in the DC metro area. We decided that between our backgrounds in graphic design, event planning, and finance, we would be able to help charities in possibly more impactful ways than just donating money. Our goal in starting Party For A Purpose was to create events that raised awareness about important social issues, educated the attendees about local charities, and still made sure that whoever came to our events had a good time. It is our way to give back and we hope to make “giving back” easy and fun for more and more people!
So, Party For A Purpose is essentially creating events to highlight local charities which may not have the resources to put on their own events?
RC: Yes, that’s exactly right. We like the idea behind “live local — give local” and since the charities we highlight (or the causes they represent) are representative of our area and are relatively small, we get to establish long-lasting relationships with these organizations and introduce them to people who live in the DC metro area who might have an interest to support these organizations on continuous basis.
What are some examples of other charities you have worked with? What social issues do they cover?
RC: We have also featured the Backpack Project and the Wanda Alston Foundation. The Backpack Project gives backpacks and school supplies to underserved children so that they can not only be prepared for school, but also feel that they are not excluded compared to their peers. The Wanda Alston Foundation provides transitional housing for at-risk or homeless LBGTQ youth ages 16-24 within DC and offers training programs in social skills. We believe in the causes supported by these organizations, so it was an honor to be able to contribute with our support.
Do you have a typical kind of event for each charity? Or does it differ per organization?
RC: It really depends on what we think would be fun and the most impactful. Of course we are always open to new ideas from our guests for both new charities and for different events. In the past we have had an all-day brunch and dance party and another event was a swanky gala that had an auction component as well. The events are not directly representative to what the given charity does, but rather focused on trying to make sure that people have fun while they’re also doing good.
What about those who missed “Cheers for Charity”? Is there a way they could still contribute to sponsoring a veteran?
RC: Yes, definitely! We are collecting funds for this purpose until November 30, 2015. We set up a direct donation page on our website, which you can access here.
How can people attend your events and where can they find you?
RC: We are very active on our Facebook and Twitter pages; these are the best for finding out the most up-to-date plans we have. I would also encourage everyone to also visit website www.partyforapurposedc.com.