Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: Raise for Rowyn

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Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that positively impact our communities. In June 2024, Mission Nonprofit host Deborah Vinsel sat down with Brynn Johnson, founder, and Fionna Velazquez, executive director, of Raise for Rowyn.

Raise for Rowyn was founded in 2014 after the Johnson family tragically lost their 17-month-old daughter, Rowyn. The family founded Raise for Rowyn, a nonprofit to help other families dealing with the loss of a child, in her honor.

The organization helps with the financial burdens of such a loss, including headstones, cemetery costs and celebrations of life/funerals. “it grew quickly from there so we started fundraising with a 5k, 10K walk and run and then we also did a Gala and our very first event we actually did both of them on the same day and we managed to raise like $36,000 you know on our first event,” shares Brynn. “And I remember just being over the moon with the amount that we could raise in that day and from that day forward we’ve just continued to grow and expand.”

10 years later, the Raise for Rowyn Gala’s generate over $300,000 annually to help families locally, but also all over the country, who has suffered the loss of a child. “We are nationwide,” shares Brynn. “We have had to scale back a little bit from serving as many states on the East Coast because we were really wanting to focus our funding where we were receiving funding, so predominantly from the Mississippi over – west – but really heavily Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, California.”

Raise for Rowyn: Emotional Support for Families Suffering Loss

“We don’t actually just limit it to financial support,” shares Brynn, “we try to offer emotional support for these families. Let them know that their child’s never forgotten, and just be a resource in many other ways besides just the financial aspect.”

One of these ways is their webpage named Rowyn’s Angels, where families can list their child’s name and dates, along with a photo and a message if they choose. The Nonprofit also has care packages, Christmas ornaments that they send out each year, books for surviving siblings, a support group and more. They also help with referring other services that may be needed depending on the individual family’s situation.

Anyone can apply for aid through Raise for Rowyn, not just the immediate family. Their application is on the Raise for Rowyn website. They cover children from birth through 19 years.

Get Involved in Raise for Rowyn

Donations are always accepted on the Raise for Rowyn website. Businesses can support the work Raise for Rowyn does by becoming a Raise for Rowyn partner.

They also need volunteers to help in the office and with events. They are currently looking for an intern as well.

For more information, watch the full video above or visit the Raise For Rowyn website.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 22 on Sundays at 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m. You can also watch on TCMedia website, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thurston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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