What is Giving Tuesday?
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has been celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Supporting a charity that is close to your heart is a great way to kick off the giving season!
What is the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation 5 Days of Giving?
For the five days (November 27-December 1), we will give you the chance to learn a little bit more about how the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation is making a difference while encouraging you to donate to this important cause. We’ll also do some giving of our own by giving out daily VTMF prizes to our supporters who help us by spreading the word and donating to our cause!
How can you get involved?
Be on the lookout for our daily posts which will share more personal stories of the impact we are making! Each post will also include more detail for the daily prize. If you feel inspired, please make a donation.
So, how are we making a difference?
Spreading Safety Awareness
Last June, we held our inaugural fundraiser, the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation 5K Run / Walk at Wachusett Mountain. The event was a major success! Over 1,000 people came together to support the foundation and honor Vanessa on what would have been her 28th birthday.
This event was also special for us because we kicked off our partnership with Roar for Good, an organization whose mission is to make the world a safer place. Roar for Good is the creator of the Athena device, a wearable safety button that can sound an alarm or alert preset contacts of your location if you are in danger. Learn more about Roar for Good and Athena here.
Since losing Vanessa, we’ve been on a mission to find anything that can prevent future senseless tragedies. We really believe that Athena can make a difference and we were so excited to introduce it to the 1,000 people at our 5K!
Encouraging Bold and Fearless Runners
As a foundation, it’s important to us that running events are embedded in our fundraising strategy. Not only did Vanessa love running (she ran the Falmouth Road Race many times and aspired to run the Boston Marathon one day), the act of running itself is empowering. Through our work, we hope that one day women will not fear running alone. Until that day, we want to equip women with the education around safety awareness so they can run fearlessly. We also want to continue honoring Vanessa’s legacy through participating in the races she loved and dreamed of running, but never could.
In 2017, we had a team of 20 men and women cross the Falmouth finish line carrying Vanessa with them the whole way. In 2018, we will have two bold and fearless runners cross the 122nd Boston Marathon in Vanessa’s honor! Read more about the marathon runners’ stories here.
Empowering Women Through Self-defense
On January 21st, hundreds of women will come together at Boston University, Vanessa’s alma mater, to participate in our inaugural self-defense and empowerment workshop, STRIKE for Vanessa. Celebrity trainer Avital Zeisler will lead the event, which will feature the Soteria Method, a unique blend of empowerment, visualization, and self-defense tactics. After Vanessa’s death, one of her best friends, Leah Abrahams, discovered Avital’s method. We were particularly drawn to Avital’s technique because, as Leah says in her blog post, “The ‘Why’ Behind STRIKE for Vanessa,” Avital’s method “ends with a visualization to cement the learnings, where women are challenged to picture a potential attack and formulate a hypothetical reaction. This practice of meditative visualizing can prevent the “freeze” that so many women experience after being attacked and help them develop an authentic survival mindset or the street that can overpower their own personal limitations.” We believe that Avital and the Soteria Method can help women live their lives without fear.
We look forward to the impact we can make in empowering women through the STRIKE event and our partnership with Avital. We hope you’ll join us on January 21st!
Redefining Gender Stereotypes
We are on a mission to reduce the objectification of women prevalent in our society, which we believe will help reduce violence and harassment against women. Children are exposed to gender stereotypes as early as infancy and grow up surrounded by our society’s harmful gender biases throughout adolescence and adulthood. Our focus to redefine gender stereotypes and eliminate toxic masculinity addresses these issues directly. The most tangible way we can make an impact is by investing in youth programs that teach boys and girls these significant issues and help them advocate for gender equality. We’re proud to partner with Tutoring Plus and Girls Inc., both experts in this space.
Proceeds we raised from our early fundraising efforts directly supported the two gender programs at Tutoring Plus: Girls’ Media (for middle school girls) and Real Talk (for middle school boys). These programs focus on breaking down stereotypes and toxic masculinity, and also promote empowerment. Vanessa was an avid volunteer at Tutoring Plus during her time in Boston, so this organization holds a special place in our hearts.
In 2018, we are excited to begin a partnership with Girls Inc, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold.” Our partnership will focus on two of their after school programs, Project BOLD and Media Literacy. The programs are designed for girls between ages 9-14. Project BOLD focuses on violence prevention, conflict resolution skills, and self-defense. Media literacy teaches young girls the tools they need to critically examine the harmful gender stereotypes the media portrays. By learning to analyze the media’s messages, girls are equipped to challenge and redefine gender biases prevalent in our society. With these critical safety awareness and media literacy skills, we believe girls will be able to live boldly and fearlessly.
Changing our Culture of Objectification
“The first time I remember being catcalled was when I was with Vanessa, walking down a street when we were in our early teenage years. To think that we were barely high schoolers and already had an uncomfortable experience around men is pretty unsettling. As adults, we often had conversations about gender inequality, whether it was talking about moments at work when we experienced sexism or sharing a story about feeling unsafe walking home at night in NYC. Vanessa would be so proud and impressed with our hard work during the most difficult year of our lives. I know she would also feel so honored that thousands of people have joined our fight for a world where women live boldly and fearlessly.” – Co-founder Caroline Tocci”
We’re proud of all we’ve done since our establishment, but we know we still have a lot to do in order to change our culture of objectification. Please take a minute to hear more about our future plans and vision for the foundation in our blog post. Thank you for supporting our cause- we’re endlessly grateful!