Cheers to 10 years, Can’d Aid!
One of our favorite nonprofits is celebrating double digits, so we want to celebrate them in the best, biggest, and brightest way.
All at once, let’s all give a big shout, loud and proud, to wish Can’d Aid a happy ten-year anniversary.
“HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, CAN’D AID.”
We can’t believe it’s been a decade of giving and greatness. To honor such a significant milestone, we sat down with Can’d Aid’s Founder and Executive Director, Diane Ralston, and VP of Strategy and Impact, Sarah Leavitt, to get a better look into their relationship with the Journeys team, as well as where the dynamic duo is headed in the future.
Take it away, ladies.
Q: What have been your proudest achievements as an organization?
Leavitt: The movement that we’ve built and the group of volunteers. Our tagline is ‘fueled by people power,’ and I feel like when you show up at any Can’d Aid event across the U.S., you can really see that people power in action. People from all walks of life show up and give back in any capacity they can, and I feel like that’s truly the heart and soul of who we are as an organization.
Q: What has the Journeys partnership brought to Can’d Aid?
Ralston: Journeys is the largest corporate partnership we’ve ever had, so it’s brought us a number of things! For one, it’s given us the ability to do projects out of the country and across all the U.S. markets. Second, it’s allowed us to reach the Journeys employees and customers as well! We’ve interacted with employees at meetings and implemented Donate at the Register together, which is definitely one of my proudest achievements.
That was all word of mouth by Journeys employees, and to see them get so fired up to spread our message and get individual donations was tremendous to us. It gave us an entirely new audience for Can’d Aid.
Leavitt: Journeys’ support has allowed us to expand our scope and impact on a level that we didn’t anticipate for many more years. It helped us really push on the gas with our work which I think is really impressive.
Q: As you wrap up ten years, what are your wildest dreams for the next ten?
Ralston: We see so much passion and drive from core cities that we interact with. People want to join this movement and are hungry for the kind of community engagement and work we’re doing. We’d love to build out our existing core cities and add even more. We want to deepen our impact and figure out more ways to break outside of the traditional nonprofit model.
Leavitt: We want to expand our movement. Ten years ago, we would have never dreamed of having the number of volunteers we’ve worked with or the level of impact that we’ve made, and at our twenty-year anniversary, I’d love to see those numbers increase. As Diana said, the hunger is there. People want to better the community that surrounds them, so we want to ensure we’re growing at a pace that can support that desire!
Q: What do you feel our greatest achievement together has been?
Ralston: Oh, there are so many! The integration has been impeccable. I really feel like Journeys employees are extensions of the Can’d Aid team and family and vice versa. I went into a store, didn’t say who I was, and heard employees talk so highly of Can’d Aid, and it blew my mind.
Journeys has bought in on all our programs with clean water donations, skateboard and bike donations, instrument donations, and art kits. This partnership has been the full package which has been incredible.
Leavitt: We’ve talked about this a lot, and one trend we’ve noticed with our Journeys partnership, in particular, is that it breaks stereotypes of the younger generation. We feel that sometimes the younger demographic gets dismissed by the rest of society in terms of what they have to offer for philanthropy or giving back. This partnership has debunked that because Journeys customers show up eager and ready to give with their whole hearts, and I think this is a unique way to get the next generation involved in making a difference.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ralston: The theme since day one has been that everybody can give back and do good. I love that we’re allowing people to join the movement and engage in ways that feel accessible and fun. That’s always been at the heart of our organization, and I’m thankful we can do that with the Journeys team on a regular basis.
Leavitt: With the younger demographic we reach with Journeys, I think it’s important to note that there’s not a minimum age to be able to make an impact or specific dollar amount that is required to be a philanthropist. You can start that at any point, and we think Journeys shows and proves that every day.
As we met with these leaders of Can’d Aid, we continued to discuss the future of the Journeys x Can’d Aid partnership, and spoiler alert: there are some really exciting things in the works. To see how you can get involved with Can’d Aid, visit candaid.org, and be on the lookout for Donate at the Register this holiday season at Journeys.