Making a Difference Essay Contest

2020 Essay Contest Information

Essay Contest information for the Fundraising and Development for Nonprofits Conference.

Compete for a “Making a Difference” Essay Contest

1st Place receives $500

2nd Place receives $300

3rd Place receives $200

To Submit an Essay  
Write an essay, entitled “Making a Difference,” and submit it via email to . These essays must fit on a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with no smaller than 12-point font. The deadline is 3 p.m. CST, Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Essays must have the title “Making a Difference.” Please include your name and the official name of your organization. Your essay will tell a story of how your organization has made a significant difference to an individual or to a group of individuals. The essays will be judged by a three-person panel and awarded points on style, quality of writing, and how compelling your story is.

Winners will be announced at the Thursday lunch. If chosen, you will receive your award in the form of a check made payable to your organization, and you will be given the opportunity to read your essay aloud. GOOD LUCK …and please apply! This is the perfect way to prepare for the conference.

2019’s Winning Essay

“Making a Difference”

Submitted by Michelle Pierquet-Hohner, Unity Hospice

I received a call from one of our social workers.  She was working with young family. The patient, the mother was only 35 and had three children ages 5, 3, and 15 mos.  They had tried everything and there was no hope.  She was going to die.  I worked years prior as a Child Life Specialist, helping children and families cope with death and dying.  I do not work in this capacity in my current role and the social worker knew this, but also knew that this family needed more than she could offer and asked the administration at Unity if I could offer support to them.

I met with her husband, Brady and their three children.  I helped Brady explain Grace’s condition and end of life in the best terms and explanations that they could possibly comprehend.  I asked Brady about taking photos and videos, to capture and create some end of life legacies.  Brady explained that Grace would never want to be remembered this way.  That she would want to be remembered healthy, lively, and vibrant.  I explained to Brady that I understood where he was coming from, but reminded him that during this horrible time, we could give his children an opportunity to reconnect.  We could assist Grace in creating some legacies to leave behind.  Brady thought about this a while and then decided it is exactly what his wife would want.

I spent some time at Grace’s bedside with the children-  playing with them letting them tell me more about their mom and things they liked to do together.  I encouraged them touch her, hold her hand and chat with her.  That even though she looked like she was sleeping, she knew that they were there with her.  We talked about her body slowing down and how sometime soon she would die and what that meant.

We decided it would be fun to make handprints on canvass.  I set up the kitchen table with brightly colored table cloth and a variety of paints and each child was able to choose their own color.  I asked Brady’s mother to take photos of the process to be able to look at some time down the road.  The baby was only 15 months, and this would be something concrete for him to see and know that he was a part of.  The children took turns painting their own handprint and placing it on the canvass.  Then they took turns painting their father’s and helping to decide where on the canvas to place his. We took the canvass to Grace’s bedside and the children decided which color Grace’s had would be.  They each took turns painting the silver paint onto her hand and fingertips.  Brady helped them to then place her hand on the canvass to complete the print.  It had messy baby fingerprints, brightly colored toddler and preschool prints, and Brady and Grace’s handprints all touching one another.  It was beautiful!  There was joy….

It was moments following, that Grace took her final breath… with her husband and children at her side…   Unity supported this young family in ways that will have an impact on the rest of their lives…  Unity honored this mother and her children by supporting them in the ways they needed.  Unity helped Grace leave beautiful end of life memories for her family.