In Kelly’s Words – Looking back at 2018
The end of the year (which is also the end of our fiscal year at KBF) provides an opportunity for me—and our team—to reflect on where we are as an organization, what we’ve accomplished, and what we can do better. This year was both really tough and really rewarding, but my biggest takeaway is how humbled and honored I am about the support we receive and the commitment of our team, volunteers, and advisors.
In a lot of ways we’re a young organization with an unusually long history of impact. My family and I came up with the idea of the Kelly Brush Foundation within a few months of my injury in February 2006. That was almost 13 years ago!! With the commitment and personality of my parents (and to a lesser extent 19-year-old college student “me”) we grew our one event, the Kelly Brush Ride, organically for 7 or 8 years, using the proceeds to make an impact in the ski racing world and the spinal cord injury community. I felt very strongly about our mission and believed in what the KBF was doing but I didn’t have a vision (at the time) of where we could go or what we, as an organization, could become. In 2014 we made the decision to really commit resources to our mission, hire staff, a put together a vision of growth.
Today I’m really excited about where we’ve come in the last 4 years.
In 2018 we hosted Inspire!Denver in January (read recap), Inspire!Boston in March (read recap), awarded our spring Active Fund grants in April (read blog), hosted Inspire!Vermont in May (read recap), awarded ski racing safety grants in July, held the largest Kelly Brush Ride ever in September (read recap), awarded our fall Active Fund grants in October (read blog), hosted our first Inspire!SanFrancisco in October (read recap), threw the go-to Apres Ski at the Killington World Cup in November, and hosted Brews to Benefit KBF in Denver in December. Phew! From 2006 until 2014 we hosted one event each year (the Kelly Brush Ride) and had one grant cycle per year for both the Active Fund and our ski racing safety grants. A lot has changed in 4 years!
The best part: every year we beat some pretty aggressive goals, both in mission impact and fundraising. Why? We have the best donor community, we work with the best communities to fulfill our mission, and we have an awesome team. People are always coming to us saying “come throw a fundraiser here” or “support what this group of people is doing in the spinal cord injury community.” I set out to make a change in ski racing safety and try to make a difference in the lives of those with spinal cord injuries and we’re doing it!
We’ve stayed true to our roots and mission, but what really excites me for 2019 are the new and innovative ways we’re planning to bring our mission to light. Stay tuned!
I guess I may have to start to make this a “Dylan and Baby #2 Update”! Zeke, Dylan and I took a trip to Colorado for the Beaver Creek World Cups and to visit many of our supporters in Colorado the first week in December. Since I can’t travel after the New Year we have decided not to hold Inspire!Denver in January like we usually do, and we really wanted to make it out to Colorado before I had to stop traveling. Dylan was such a trooper! We dragged her around to so many events (3 World Cup races included), she wasn’t able to nap many days, and she continued to be the life of the party! We even had her at a banquet dinner for Ski Spectacular, an adaptive skiing week in Breckenridge that we brought her to. While she had her moments, both Zeke and I were amazed at how well she did with all of the travel, lack of routine, and change in schedule. We now just hope that baby #2 can live up to the high standard Dylan has set!