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Going Deep

Going Deep

A nonprofit organization’s mission is truly only as powerful as its ability to finance the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve it.

This is not a fundraising appeal, so please keep reading.

For My Cup of Tea, a substantial amount of revenue comes from the sale of our high-quality tea and related products, but for now the majority comes from grants and donations. Like virtually all nonprofits in town, we compete for the charitable donations of private foundations, government programs, and our community’s top private employers. We have been blessed to receive the support of many of these organizations.

One of the challenges faced by My Cup of Tea is communicating a narrative which demonstrates a broad impact on hundreds or thousands of individuals and their communities. Understandably, even the largest philanthropic groups have finite resources to support enormous, complex needs and want to know the masses are being reached with viable solutions. In this data-driven age, funders want to know about our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and our quantitative and qualitative analyses that prove their money will make a difference.

This is not an unreasonable request. So, recently we tried to quantify our impact over the last decade with meaningful data. We learned that My Cup of Tea has:

  • Paid approximately $2 Million in wages;
  • Provided 125,000 hours or so of dignified work; and
  • Served 25,000 meals through the generosity of volunteers.

We were even a little surprised at how sizeable the numbers are, and we are thankful. But our mission is about much more than width. It is also about depth.

As the Apostle Paul notes in his prayer for the Ephesians in verses 17-18, God’s love for us is more than just wide.

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Christ’s love is deep too, so our love and service toward Orange Mound and the My Cup of Tea ladies must also be deep.

“Going deep” at My Cup of Tea means striving to acknowledge each woman as an image bearer of God with a past that doesn’t define her and a future with a purpose. It means leaving judgement at the door and putting on our desire to both teach and learn from others with disparate life experiences from own.

In the most practical way, loving deep erases the time limit one can stay at My Cup of Tea. Women are encouraged to seek other opportunities to help them become self-sufficient, but there is plenty to do at The House until they are ready for what’s next. It means paying at least $15 per hour, so they can fulfill their basic needs.

Going deep means actively seeking the opinions of the women served. It is empowering them to lead as members of our Board of Directors or as supervisors of daily operations. It is a vision that one day a Black woman from the neighborhood will lead our grand experiment.

Depth includes knowing their children, who lives in their homes, and their health concerns, not because they are required to tell us, but because they have trusted us enough to share. It is standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the best times and in the worst.

Going deep is studying God’s word together, teaching what we know, but acknowledging that none of us could ever know it all. It’s praying for their specific needs as they share them and being vulnerable enough with them to seek their prayers.

In the world of deep diving, enthusiasts plunge into ocean depths greater than sixty feet and experience an underwater realm never seen by most people. These dives can be draining and perilous. One of the primary safety rules is to never dive alone. Going deep at My Cup of Tea is not something we can do alone. Orange Mound women, volunteers, and leaders must partner for the good of each other.

The divers who see indescribable beauty under the sea often try to capture its essence with underwater cameras and various technologies, but the pictures, videos, and recorded sounds never adequately replicate the diver’s experience. In the same way, we share photos, videos, newsletters, and more to try to communicate to you and our potential funders what is happening in the depths of Orange Mound. Like the divers, our efforts cannot do justice to the beauty we see.