Fuel the Launch for Gift of Voice!

For: Gift of Voice
Edwardsville, IL
Organizer: AJ French
Fuel the Launch for Gift of Voice! (Gift of Voice)
of $50,000 goal
11% Complete
Raised by 48 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

The Gift of Voice "story" begins with a woman who experienced hopelessness, homelessness, hallucinations, hospitalizations and more because of mental health challenges she did choose, nor did she want. After numerous suicide attempts, she felt like a person living in a concentration camp - - alive on the outside, but dead on the inside. Miraculously, she was able to participate in a training where she met people who had recovered from the most debilitating of life circumstances. She got her hope back and began to fight for life - her life and the lives of others - to the same extent she once fought for death with suicide attempts. Her name is AJ French and she is ready to change the world!  

Today, French is considered a subject matter expert on mental health recovery and has conducted numerous trainings and keynote engagements across the country.  She has a relentless desire to cultivate cultures conducive to mental health and wellness, using her personal experiences with Recovery Education, Advocacy Support and Christian Responsibility as a professional template for Gift of Voice. She has sought out and secured highly qualified Board Members to develop a training center that will positively influence the health of individuals, communities and congregations across the globe.  

Each Gift of Voice Board Member has their own "story" about why this work is so very important. In the days ahead, we will update our donors with their compelling motivations for making mental health recovery and social justice a reality for the masses. For now, we have a goal of raising or exceeding $50,000 by the end of 2016. Will you help us reach our goal?Will you help us make the world a healthy place to live? Thank you for your consideration, encouragement and support!      


Gift of Voiceis an emerging mental health education and advocacy organization that already has local, state and national activities planned for 2017. Below is a list of some of the needs and activities that the organization will take on in the upcoming year. The Board of Directors are powerfully motivated to cultivate the health of individuals, communities and church congregations. Photos are of our Board Members during our Inaugural Annual Meeting in Springfield, Illinois.

Become a "Founding Funder" and help us launch Gift of Voice!

Please note that your donations are not tax deductible as we are trying to raise funds to apply for 501(c)3 status and other startup expenses.


$300 – QuickBooks Pro

Your gift of Any Amount for Accountant Fees.


$850 – 501(c)3 Application

Your Gift of Any Amount toward Attorney Fees.


$15.00 – Box of Envelopes

$49 – Roll of Stamps

$48 – Case of Ten Reams of Paper

$80 – Monthly Phone Service

$120 – Annual Fax Service
$849 - Desktop and Laptop Computers


$1,500 – Website Design

$100 – Monthly Website Maintenance


Your gift of Any Amount toward Staff Salary.

Chief Executive Officer - Administrative Assistant - Director of Training

Staff salaries make it possible to provide the following.

National Mental Health & Dignity Dayis a national event which Gift of Voice will be participating in at various locations across the country. 

Advocacy Day at Illinois State Capitol is estimated to have 500 attendees consisting of individuals who participate in public healthcare and human service programs.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan®is a recovery education curriculum that will be facilitated at Gift of Voice headquarters.

Whole Health Action Managementis a health and wellness curriculum that will be facilitated at Gift of Voice headquarters.


These items are frequently used and needed in multiple quantities.  

Please give what you can afford.

$2.00 – Three Ring Binders

$8.00 – Packaged Folders

$35.00 – Flip Chart Paper

$100 – Travel Expenses

$200 – Lodging Expenses

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 21, 2016

Posted on December 21, 2016

A message from Board Member Jessica Wernli...

"As a community organizer who has been involved with many issue campaigns, including education, jobs, and restorative justice, I am most compelled by the advocacy component of Gift of Voice. I have dedicated my life to uniting and fighting with marginalized groups. When it comes to groups who are experiencing systemic oppression, there are more similarities than there are differences. It is so important that people who are impacted are the ones leading the efforts for their community. That’s what Gift of Voice is all about."

Posted on December 16, 2016

Posted on December 16, 2016

Lanora Jones serves as Assistant Treasurer for Gift of Voice.  Like many people who are diagnosed with mental health conditions, she experienced childhood trauma and turned to alcohol and drugs.  After a close encounter with God, she stopped using drugs and began her mental health and addiction recovery journey.  Now she has a job she loves, has married a wonderful man and is an active member of her local church congregation...but Lanora's "story" hasn't ended.

Today marks the one week anniversary of our Capitol Campaign, but for Lanora, it marks a painful one year anniversary of her son's death to suicide.  Please lift her up in prayer today and please lift up Gift of Voice by encouraging someone you know to match your donation.  May her loss be a reminder of what this work is all about.  Thank you in advance for your support.   

Posted on December 9, 2016

Posted on December 9, 2016

Some of you may be visiting this page because you received a phone call asking to help fuel the launch of Gift of Voice!  Thank you for responding to this invitation to be part of something so much greater than any one of us!

Today began with volunteers arriving for a Phone Bank to help fuel the launch of Gift of Voiceand, before we began making phone calls, an anonymous donor handed me a personal check made payable to "Gift of Voice" for $1000!  He asked me to remain anonymous and to issue a challenge to others to match his donation!

Then Superintendent Ben Tolly walked in the room and announced that the Gateway Conference of the Free Methodist Church was donating $1,000 to help fuel this launch!  This announcement was quickly followed by an announcement from Pastor Javier Quintana who shared that the Ministerio Apostolico Plantio (MAPS) was donating $300! 

Before we even began making calls, volunteers donated a total of $2,300 which is not reflected on this site!  Volunteers are coming in and out all day today to make phone calls on behalf of Gift of Voiceand they're donating money!  Before leaving, one volunteer wrote a check for $50 and Michelle Tibbs (who serves as Assistant Secretary for Gift of Voice) gave $100!  

This is the first opportunity I've had to review the online donations and I so excited to see that people are contributing 10-25-50-100 donations!  All amounts are important.  All amounts represent your desire for mental health recovery and social justice.  All amounts reflect your generous spirit.

CHALLENGE: Match the donations that have already been given.
  • Who will give $1,000?  $300?  $100?  $50?  $25?  $10?
  • Who will make phone calls or texts asking for donations?
  • Who will distribute the link to this page via email and social media?
For what you have given thus far, and for your faith in this important work, we thank you!

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