$1 million is what resilience looks like.
$1 million is what solidarity looks like.
$1 million is what collective grassroots fundraising looks like.
$1 million is what happens when we refuse to accept the failures of a government that uses our tax dollars but will not spend them on the care we need. It’s what happens when we take power into our own hands. It’s what happens when an average donation of $47 and more than 20,000 donations create an avalanche of support. This is what organized resistance in service of abortion access looks like.
As of April 17th the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon has collectively raised $1 million nearly two weeks before the end of the campaign. Inspired by member organization Pro-Choice Resources’ 24 year long-running Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser, the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon was rolled out as a network-wide event in 2009 with 17 funds in 19 cities. Envisioned as a way to fundraise collaboratively and join communities of abortion access supporters, Bowl-a-Thon has turned into a powerful annual movement moment.
With 39 abortion funds running more than 50 events across the U.S. and in Canada, the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon sends a strong message about how many people support abortion access even in places with mounting barriers. This message is needed more than ever as politicians are brazenly joking that people should go to the zoo for abortion care and encouraging doctors to lie about their pregnancies and abortion to their patients.
Last year, we blazed past our $800,000 goal and raised $940,000 despite experiencing a cyber attack, making 2016 the most successful Bowl-a-Thon year…until now! Supporters are donating more than ever because their lives are being directly affected by harmful policies. One donor explains why it felt important to donate to a grassroots abortion fund in her state:
“I donated to Hoosier Abortion Fund because when I had a second-trimester miscarriage, I was not able to access a timely, safe, and affordable procedure due to anti-abortion politics in Indiana. I believe that living in a state in which abortions are affordable and accessible is necessary to the overall health and well-being of everyone.”
Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds has always seen Bowl-a-Thon as not just about fundraising but also about building power:
“The grassroots fundraising that makes Bowl-a-Thon so powerful is a political act that redistributes wealth and privately funds abortions that should be covered no matter where folks live, what insurance they have, or how much money they make. Bowl-a-Thon is a testament to how small amounts as low as $10 can snowball into a massive collective force.”
Abortion funds and their supporters believe it’s the job of federal, state, and private insurance to cover abortion. Until the Hyde Amendment is overturned and abortion is covered by all insurance plans, the $1 million we’ve raised together will pay for abortions, transportation, lodging, child care, and the growing need to build power against anti-abortion rhetoric and policies.
Top fundraiser, Barbara Kass, has raised over $11,000 for the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) and says of her consistent support for Bowl-a-Thon:
“I feel 100% unabashed and am happy to give my friends, family, and colleagues the opportunity to tithe for abortion rights. And because of the support of my community every year, I’m able to raise a good sum of money. This year I felt a bit daunted because of the enormity of the fight ahead of us but I’ve been motivated to aggressively raise money for NYAAF because without access, abortion rights are not a reality for large numbers of people. I’m also inspired by my daughters who motivate and challenge me to continue to contribute to this fight.
NYAAF is such an effective vehicle for the fight for reproductive justice, to protect abortion access, and to help individual people who need financial assistance to obtain an abortion is a concrete way to actively protect abortion rights.”
Neesha Davé, President of the Lilith Fund in Texas, has fundraised her way to our Top 10 leaderboard this year with a total of nearly $4,000. She says:
“Fundraising for abortion access is deeply important to me as someone living, working and raising my family in Texas. Our communities are showing up for abortion access in resistance to hostile state and federal governments working constantly to dismantle affordable health care and social safety nets. By supporting abortion funds, we’re putting our values up front and building the compassionate communities we all deserve.”
Lindsay Rodriguez, Communications Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds who has been leading Bowl-a-Thon for three years, has this to say:
“Every year, we’re seeing more people show up for abortion access, more people who are having genuine culture-changing conversations with the people they love, more people who are putting their hearts into unapologetically fundraising for their local abortion fund and fighting abortion stigma. One million grassroots dollars and counting marks a major milestone, and a powerfully optimistic symbol of our ever-growing movement.”
Here’s the kicker: Bowl-a-Thon is still running until May 1st! How far past our goal will we go this year? Donate to be a part of the largest grassroots fundraiser for abortion, and experience what it’s like to make a powerful statement about your support for abortion access.