A Profound Show of Support

A successful fundraiser allows for updated trail maintenance equipment

By Kaitie Eddington

On Oct. 7 of last year, I was on the phone with Valley News reporter Alex Hanson, discussing a novel fundraiser in which I crowdsourced my middle name to raise money for the Upper Valley Trails Alliance.

(For those unfamiliar with the story, please visit uvtrails.org/news to read the articles from various sources written about how that fundraiser came to be.)

For the purpose of this column, know that I was not given a middle name at birth, and with the cancellation of the UVTA’s fundraising events in 2020 due to COVID, I was anxious to help the organization in any way I could.

My story garnered a lot of attention and the fundraiser was an unbelievable success, raising more than $5,000 for the UVTA and bringing community awareness to the organization at an unexpected level. I walked away with my amazing new middle name, Danger, that will always remind me of this tremendous community support and an organization dear to my heart.

Fast forward to Oct. 7 this year, and I found myself in a similar situation around fundraising.

The UVTA often utilizes a piece of equipment known as a tracked hauler. This machine is a mechanized wheelbarrow that can transport loads of material across rugged terrain with very little impact on the landscape.

With a load capacity of 1,000 pounds per load and its small, navigable size, it is perfect for moving gravel, soil, lumber or rock from staging area to project site. Our little workhorse has been with the organization for a decade but is incredibly unreliable, currently being held together with duct tape and key rings or paper clips when parts break on the job. After taking the little machine to several mechanics and, in some cases, having to haul the heavy materials to sites ourselves, increasing our project time and overall exhaustion, it was decided we need to purchase a new one.

Upon discovering our need for a new tracked hauler, an anonymous donor offered to contribute a matching grant to bolster our fundraising efforts and help purchase a new machine for the organization. My colleague, Randy Richardson, and I began drafting the fundraising campaign in the hopes of reaching the match by the end of October.

Within a week of notifying the Upper Valley of our need, we received in influx of donations and reached our goal well before the month was over.

I find myself, again, astounded by the overwhelming support for our organization demonstrated by members of the Upper Valley community. Oftentimes, in the nonprofit world, you need to convince others that your work is not just nice but necessary.

Living in a community that not only values the work of the UVTA but is anxious to support our efforts is so validating and heartwarming.

Kaitie Danger Eddington is the Program Manager at the Upper Valley Trails Alliance.