Local Female Entrepreneurs Launch Collaborative Covid-19 Response Initiative for #GivingTuesday

The Giving Coast

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY MAY 6, 2020

It’s been nearly two months since the government issued a stay-at-home order due to Covid-19—closing the doors of many Sarasota businesses, including local artist's Alexis Fraser (aka Lipstick Lex). Having to put her Rosemary District gallery grand opening on hold, her business was closed before it even launched.

On a brighter note, Fraser received IRS approval upon filing for her supplemental charity, Kisses for a Cause. Initially, the nonprofit was created to promote the arts as well as spread positivity through cultural and educational programs, experiences, and community outreach initiatives. It so happened that the Kisses for a Cause mission resonated so closely with a widespread global need. “I understand the feeling of working so hard for success and purpose and this pandemic has taken that away for so many,” she says. “My work radiates positivity, and I think that is what we all need more of right now." 

Fraser received a call from Ingrid Harb of Tampa-based Women Ambassadors Forum. After connecting, the two realized an opportunity to leverage their resources and networks to produce the first initiative for the Kisses for a Cause organization. The team rapidly expanded to include Kim Linton of 1Light Daring Leadership & Facilitation, and Kristi Finigan, Director of Development for Kisses for a Cause. The female-empowered team of entrepreneurs began planning how to offer their joined entities to the Greater Tampa Bay Region.

The nonprofit is presently curating "community kits," which will be multipurpose boxes containing items such as gift cards and coupons, non-perishable food items, at-home activities for families, and health and wellness products. The project is affectionately named after one of Lipstick Lex’s creations, Made with Love, which hangs in the gallery. The image will adorn the exterior box of the kits. “We know that shining some light in a time of need is impactful,” says Fraser, “and that if these kits are curated properly, we will provide some relief in mental, physical, and psychological ways to members of our community managing their present reality.”

The women hope to provide upwards of 7,500 kits to struggling families in the area in June 2020.

But as with most businesses now, fundraising looks a bit different in the current state. Kisses for a Cause formally announced its project yesterday for #GivingTuesday, a global day of unity and generosity. While the Made With Love project was able to secure some new area business partners as part of the campaign, the nonprofit continues to urge any businesses faced with staying relevant and looking to get involved to connect with them and leverage their networks on this community-led response.

"I think that this project serves two critical purposes," says Finigan. "First, it gives a teeny bit of hope, relief, and positivity to us as individuals; and second, it will give us the opportunity to pool our creativity with other area business leaders to find ways to benefit the cause while keeping their business at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Not everyone has a budget to do some big ad spend or campaign. This is our answer to staying relevant and driving economic impact through creative partnerships for area businesses during life in the time of Covid.”

Shortly after the #GivingTuesday campaign, Lipstick Lex posted to her IG storyanyone who donates $100 or more this week to the cause will receive a custom kiss sculpture that they can paint/decorate at home and she will re-share on her social with the tag #madewithloveproject.

Donations can be made by texting LOVE to 941-499-5933 or visiting kissesforcauses.org.

Those interested in joining the Made with Love Project and supporting the cause can email info@kissesforcauses.org.

Photo courtesy of Lipstick Lex Gallery

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