Decatur nonprofit loses 30-40% of annual revenue after pandemic forces fundraising cancellations

Mosaic Mentoring of North Alabama said they didn't have a choice about closing cancelling its biggest fundraisers.

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 11:11 PM
Updated: Jul 2, 2020 11:30 AM

Even though events are not forbidden under the current 'Safer at Home' order, a local nonprofit had to make the difficult decision to cancel its two biggest fundraisers of the year.

Mosaic Mentoring of North Alabama first called off the Wet Dog Triathlon originally planned for May and then last month, they decided to cancel the Riverfest BBQ and Music Festival in September. 

Leah Brown, the CEO of Mosaic, said they were holding off on even contacting potential sponsors as long as they could.

"I couldn't go to a sponsor and ask them to sponsor and event that I didn't know if it was going to happen or not," Brown said.

Both events are normally mainstays in the Decatur community. Riverfest turned 25 last year and the Wet Dog Triathlon would've celebrated its 20th anniversary this year had the event gone on as planned.

Brown said she couldn't bring herself to try and put the event together given all of the potential risks.

"The judges that come in, they come in from all over the country to judge Riverfest and with travel restrictions and the judges, a lot of them are older people and they just weren't doing it," Brown said.

Mosaic partners around 350 kids with mentors both in communities around north Alabama as well as in four schools, two in Franklin County and two in Lawrence County.

Brown said they've been doing virtual meetup and mentors stay in touch with their mentees through phone calls and texting. However, with the loss of their two biggest fundraisers, Brown said it created a hole in their budget of between 30 and 40 percent.

"You just gotta figure out how to get some of it back, at least a little of it back," Brown said.

On Thursday, match pair Casey Coleman got to see her mentee Abigail Goolsby, a rising 5th grader, for the first time in months. They have been paired for just over a year now. 

Colman said it's just not the same trying to create quality time over the phone.

"If you don't have that one-on-one, you can only say so much through a text message or even over the phone. I'd rather be with her and see her to spend that time with her," Coleman said.

Much of the money lost from the two fundraisers is used to give matches the chance to do things like go to the movies and have small shopping trips, like for clothes or school supplies. 

Brown said she's hoping that things will improve by the next summer. She said she doesn't like to dwell on the idea that they may have to forgo their big fundraisers yet again.

"I am hoping and praying along with the rest of the world that we can at least start doing some fun things again and some normal things," Brown said. "But if we can't do our event-type fundraising then we'll just have to look at something else again and just try and see what we can do."

Correction: This article was updated to reflect the number of children who receive mentoring through Mosaic. 

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