(We encourage you to read the full version of our appeal below but, if you prefer, you can access a shorter version here.)
> Video - "John and His Dad" (2 mins.)
Dear Community Member,
Thank you for taking the time to visit this web page. My organization knows your time is valuable.
Hello. My name is Dave Gaines. I'm the chief executive officer of the Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance (SASSNA). The Alliance is a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization. That means that SASSNA exists to help people, not to make money. Relatively speaking, we are a young organization - almost six years old. But we've really only been fully operational for a couple of years. I founded SASSNA myself in a tiny apartment in the Del Paso Heights area of Sacramento, with my last couple of hundred dollars, while I was studying psychology in graduate school. Our initial team was five volunteers: two parents of autistic children, an autistic student at Sacramento State, a young woman with Fragile X syndrome, and myself. There was little money and little experience. But there was a vision.
The Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance is a top-quality, comprehensive support and professional social services provider in the Greater Sacramento region serving young people ages zero to twenty-two, and their families, that have a wide range of brain-based diagnoses, from autism to Down syndrome to schizophrenia. What we do is: whatever is necessary to ensure that all the needs of a mentally-diverse young person are met, so that he/she can attain the best possible outcome going in to early adulthood. In short, we take care of these kids and their families. No other organization is as comprehensive in expertise as we are. And the quality of our work is excellent. Our services carry no required fees for our clients, which means we serve everybody of all income levels. And we serve all languages and cultures. A breakdown of our services can be found here.
Almost six years after being founded, SASSNA is now overwhelmed with requests for our services. We believe it is the comprehensiveness and efficacy of our work that has led to this growth. Every day we are making real improvements in the lives of young people, and their families, right here in your Greater Sacramento region community. We are in homes, schools, government agencies, hospitals, and other places in the community, serving youth that you may know or that may even be your children. SASSNA is establishing itself as an innovative, new leader in the service of youth with mental diagnoses in our geographic region. We are beginning to raise the bar for quality of care for kids and we are beginning to change our region toward that vision that was at the core of SASSNA's creation: the vision that youth with disabilities could be served better than what was already being offered, the vision that a permanent improvement in the system of care of these young people could be made, and the vision that a permanent, meaningful improvement in the outcomes of all youth with mental disabilities in the Greater Sacramento region could be produced. We believe that together, with you, and as a community - as an Alliance - we can genuinely make the vision a reality in Sacramento.
This is SASSNA's third year participating in Big Day of Giving, which is a large, popular, annual event in the Sacramento region where the entire community comes together on a single day to learn about and donate to participating, local nonprofit organizations. This year, Big Day of Giving is Thursday, May 4th, 2017. For twenty-four hours, from midnight to midnight, this Thursday, the entire Sacramento region is encouraged to go online to the official Big Day of Giving website and donate to a participating organization. Here is SASSNA's straightforward and honest appeal to you for this Big Day of Giving:
Originally, my organization had planned a big, fancy Big Day of Giving campaign consisting of multiple events, but we have simply been too busy serving the large amount of families and individuals seeking our assistance to put the staff and time in to an illustrious campaign. Some folks have an urgent need for our services and we don't believe it is right to put all of these people on a waitlist. But we realized that itself is a great campaign - a lot of people are coming to our small, relatively new organization because we are providing a fresh and effective service to mentally-diverse young people, and their families, that is genuinely making a real improvement in their lives, and we really do need you to join us in continuing this pioneering effort because we really can't do it without you! Your dollars with SASSNA aren't just going to disappear in to a vast budget being used for something of which you will have no knowledge; your dollars with SASSNA will primarily go directly to pay for increasing the hours of service that we can provide to youth and families right here in your community. Your dollars will be spent on increasing staff service hours and on hiring at least one more staff member to provide services. Because of your donation, a mentally-diverse young person in our region will get a better special education program at school, or receive a vital behavioral therapy, or get to attend a fun dance class for the first time, or so much more. And furthermore, your donation will be another step forward to actually creating a permanent and measurable increase in the outcomes of all youth with mental disabilities in the Greater Sacramento region.
Please go to SASSNA's page on the official Big Day of Giving website at http://www.bigdayofgiving.org/sassna at any time of the day or night on Thursday, May 4th to learn more about our organization and to make a tax-deductible donation to SASSNA. Or, you can also go there now and any time before Thursday to pre-schedule a donation to automatically run on May 4th.
Big Day of Giving is an especially great time to donate to SASSNA because there are several special opportunities available to donors and nonprofits:
+ Donate at http://www.bigdayofgiving.org/sassna on May 4th and your gift can help us win additional prize dollars put up by the community.
+ When donors use their Golden 1 Credit Union debit or credit card for their Big Day of Giving donation, their contribution goes even further. Golden 1 will proportionately match up to $50,000 to the nonprofits its members donate to online at bigdayofgiving.org on May 4th.
+ SASSNA has its own matching pool, sponsored by great local businesses, of $1,600. This means that the first $1,600 of donations made to us at http://www.bigdayofgiving.org/sassna will be matched dollar for dollar. In addition, if we hit $2,500 in total donations then Boyd & Associates, P.C. will pitch in another $250, and if we hit $5,000 then they will add an even further $500.
+ Lastly, the first 13 donations to SASSNA at http://www.bigdayofgiving.org/sassna of $250 or more will receive two passes to join us in shooting hoops on the actual Sacramento Kings court at the Golden 1 Center (this will likely occur in June). If all 13 opportunities are taken then we will post a notification here (this page's address is http://www.sassna.org/bdog).
If you have any questions about SASSNA or our participation in the Big Day of Giving, or you want to communicate with us for any reason, then please contact us through any of the methods indicated here. We have extended hours from now through the late night of Thursday.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration of our cause, truly.
Dave Gaines, CEO, Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance