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Please join me in celebrating a very special anniversary.

2010 marks the 5th Anniversary of our talkline’s expansion from a limited Bay-Area, bilingual service into a national, multilingual one that is available every day!

It is with the help of people like you – our supporters – that, five years ago, we were able to respond to demand from women and men throughout the United States seeking a safe place to talk after an abortion.  I write to invite you to make a special gift to Exhale in commemoration of this significant time in our history.

We grow Exhale and our free programs in direct response to the needs of our callers.  Part of what motivates and inspires us as an organization is finding new ways to respond to our callers’ needs with fresh ideas and innovative projects that make our pro-voice mission real in their every day lives.  Listening carefully to our callers over the last five-years of national, multilingual service has led Exhale to:

  • Develop Post-Abortion E-Cards that help loved ones respectfully acknowledge the personal abortion experience of someone they care about.
  • Grow an Online Community that facilitates supportive connections among women who have had abortions.
  • Advocate for Social Science Research that deepens our understanding of the social and emotional experience of abortion.
  • Create Storytelling Forums that ensure personal abortion stories are heard with dignity and respect.
  • Provide Thought Leadership that offers our nation new opportunities to transform conflict and create abortion peace.

The reality is that at this exciting moment Exhale faces real challenges.  Our revenue from private foundations is down and our call volume is up. We are faced with the challenge of declining revenue and increasing demand.  Exhale is using this difficult financial time to be the organization we’ve always dreamed about becoming.  We are putting our organizational values and beliefs into practice and strengthening the culture (risk-taking, abundance, excellence) we have worked so hard to build.

Exhale is an organization of copious strengths and assets and with the generous contributions of people like you, we can leverage them in new, creative ways moving forward.  For every dollar Exhale receives as a donation, we turn it into $2.50 of volunteer service.  We more than double the value of your gift.  Over a third of our budget is contributed through the time our volunteers donate to our mission.

Please give generously today and help Exhale thrive for the next five.

We are so grateful for the support we have received since the day we first launched the talkline in 2002 and in the five years since we significantly expanded our service. We know that together with supporters like you we will thrive for the next five – and many more!  In commemoration of our 5th Anniversary of listening to women from around the country (and beyond), in multiple languages, every day of the week, I invite you to support Exhale by making a special donation today.

Our goal is to raise $15,000 by August 31st. Help us reach our goal and make a donation today!


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I co-presented a session workshop – “Becoming a Learning Organization” – with Brian Talcott of the Center for Civic Partnerships (CCP) at The California Wellness Foundation’s (TCWF) conference on Organizational Learning and Evaluation in San Francisco last week.

Brian Talcott and me

Brian and I worked together when Exhale received TCWF-funded technical assistance from CCP back in 2006 and 2007.  With their support, Exhale was able to ratchet-up our evaluation practices and by working with top-notch evaluation experts, we began to consider methods and tools to measure Exhale’s impact on our culture change goals.

One of the many gifts we received through the program was learning that Exhale was, and always has been, a Learning Organization.  Here’s the theory:

According to LFA Group, a Learning Organization “uses evaluation as a fundamental strategy for gathering information for reflection, learning and growth in order to drive internal improvement.”

Michael O’Brien, an organizational consultant says that Learning Organizations “weave a continuous and enhanced capacity to learn, adapt and change into the fabric of its character and has values, policies, practices, programs, systems and structures that support and accelerate organizational learning.”

As the leader of Exhale, I have found becoming a Learning Organization to be very freeing.

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Serving on Exhale’s board provides a platform for each of us to develop and engage our strengths as we never imagined. Our members are all about midway through our second, three-year terms on the board, and in that time we’ve seen the organization mature from a local SF-Bay Area talkline service, to a national talkline whose volunteer and staff leaders set the tone for a new pro-voice dialogue on post-abortion wellness for women and their loved ones.

Over the years, as a board, we’ve matured too.

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*Guest Blogger*

Nat Okey, Exhale Volunteer:

“I just read about a new study which shows that:

people who volunteer donate ten times more money than those who do not give their time. Furthermore, two thirds of those who give their money donate to the same organization they volunteer for.

This research finding is no surprise to me and my volunteer cohorts at Exhale.  Many of us give our time and our money to support the Pro-Voice Cause.

I volunteer with Exhale as a talkline counselor and as an intern in the office.  My extensive involvement with Exhale as a volunteer made making a financial donation an easy decision because I have great confidence as to where the money goes, how it’s  used, and why it is needed.

My work in the Exhale office shows me where donations go and as importantly to me, where they don’t go.  Other than the obvious use of donations for staff salaries and office rent, putting together orders from clinics for Exhale talkline brochures effectively quantified the need for me to make a personal donation.  My $25 would pay for hundreds of brochures that a clinic will hand out to abortion patients, some of whom will call the Exhale line.  If the clinics don’t have our brochures to hand out, then fewer people who need Exhale’s service will be able to utilize it.  If I wasn’t unemployed, I would have made a larger donation.

What volunteering in the office also did for me was to assure me that my donation would be used wisely.  Seeing in person how hard the staff works along with how frugal they are with resources, (we print on both sides of the paper here and the office fridge looks like it’s from Aspen’s first dorm room), I knew my money would go to essential operations.”

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