Days of Thanks / Days of Giving: 2022
November 18, 2022
November 18, 2022
Giving Back to Organizations of Importance to our Team Members
Our 6th Annual Days of Thanks/Days of Giving continues the tradition of Canna Advisors making a donation to these groups in the names of our team members.
Learn about these national and local organizations and why our team members selected them to receive a donation in their name this year.
Social Justice & Equality
Last Prisoner Project
Both Michelle Whitmore, our Director of People, and Russ Hudson, Senior Project Manager, and Founding Partner Jay Czarkowski selected The Last Prisoner Project, (LPP) a cannabis reform non-profit. Their focus is fighting criminal justice and reimagining drug policy and has the strength of notable cannabis advocates like Steve Deangelo and Jim Belushi. “The Last Prisoner Project was founded in 2019 out of the belief that no one should remain incarcerated for cannabis offenses. We brought together a team of cannabis industry leaders, criminal and social justice advocates, policy and education experts, and leaders in social justice and drug policy reform to work to end this fundamental injustice. We are committed to freeing every last prisoner of the unjust war on drugs, starting with the estimated 40,000 individuals imprisoned for cannabis.”
Why Michelle selected LPP: I’m selecting LPP as my charity of choice yet again this year, with renewed commitment. In the past 12 months, I’ve had the opportunity to attend LPP benefit events, where I heard first-hand accounts from people recently released from prison due to cannabis-related convictions. Perhaps the story that touched me most was listening to a young woman speak to how her life was impacted by her father’s incarceration, effectively removing him from her family as she grew up. As a result, I’ve connected directly with several individuals within this organization, and with each conversation I’m more inspired to support them and their work. I encourage all of you to learn their stories, learn their mission, and contribute in any way you’re able.
Sumer Thomas, Director of Regulatory Operations selected Expunge Colorado – where she also volunteers – for a second year because of its intersection with the cannabis industry. Having a criminal record has devastating lifelong consequences that can affect families for multiple generations. Colorado law permits many charges to be removed yet few individuals experience the relief of a sealed record due to the complicated and costly process. Expunge Colorado exists to alleviate the legal and financial burdens put on individuals who want and deserve a fresh start. Record sealing can help restore access to housing, employment, education, public assistance, and voting rights.
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Project Manager Dalton Valette selection the Matthew Shepard Foundation whose mission is to amplify the story of Matthew Shepard to inspire individuals, organizations and communities to embrace the dignity and equality of all people. Their work is an extension of Matt’s passion to foster a more caring and just world. They share his story and embody his vigor for civil rights to change the hearts and minds of others to accept everyone as they are.
Jackie Graddon, another one of our project managers, selected this organization that believes nutritious food is a human right, and provides nutritious, culturally appropriate food to anyone in need, while respecting people’s dignity and promoting good health. Northwest Harvest created the first emergency food bank network for Washington State in 1970. Now, NW Harvest provides an average of two million meals each month through a statewide network of food banks and meal programs – including a free community market in downtown Seattle. Jackie served as volunteer lead with NW Harvest for years and loves is the volunteer and educational opportunities offered to people of all ages and from all economic backgrounds.
Medical / Mental Health
GBS / CIDP Foundation
Our Chief of Staff Sarah Barrett selected GBS/CIDP Foundation International. CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) is a rare autoimmune disease that Sarah’s dad passed away from. Sarah noted, “They still don’t know a lot about it and treatments can be extremely cost prohibitive.”
Mental Health Colorado
Michael Werner, Senior Manager of Business Development selected Mental Health Colorado. Michael commented, “We all need more research, advocacy, and support for our mental health, and this charity’s efforts are important as I’ve seen loved ones struggle with mental health issues.”
Michael J. Fox Foundation
Kenzie Gobillot, on our Business Development team selected the Michael J. Fox Foundation because her dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. “This foundation gave me a lot of information that made things not so scary,” Kenzie shared.. They’re doing great research and my dad is a part of a few long-term studies.”
Best Buddies, selected by Project Manager Brian Hart helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Often a volunteer partners with someone in need of help and they become best buddies and it can range from helping someone find work, giving guidance, or just being a friend.
Best Buddies is dedicated to creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and independent living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.
Courtney Gomez, Staff Accountant selected this organization that works with inmates in jail and prison, running a training in a communication method called Authentic Relating which helps in forming better, more meaningful relationships. Courtney described the work of the Realness Project, “I was a part of the first ever training led by this organization and it was one of the most impactful experiences of my life, even as a facilitator. We all got to connect with people on a deeper level than most ever get to experience and saw the real world impact this training had for some individuals in helping mend family or other relationships for those involved. Authentic Relating has been one of the most powerful tools I’ve been able to develop in my relationships and am forever grateful to the work this organization is doing!”
Arts & Outdoors
Youth on Record
A big lover of music, Vince DiMichelle our Regulatory Content Manager, selected Youth on Record for their efforts that keep kids in music and out of less fulfilling activities. As a community integration organization, they connect young and underprivileged children with artists and musicians in their communities to help mentor young artists, foster artistic growth, and provide an outlet for those seeking to enrich their lives.
Colorado Trail Foundation
As an avid hiker, Lisa Jordan our VP of Marketing, appreciates the extreme amount of work by the Colorado Trail Foundation staff and thousands of volunteers that keep this state resource available for people who come from around the world to experience this trail that stretches 485 miles from Denver to Durango. The trail passes through 6 National Forests, 6 Wilderness areas, traverses 5 major river systems, and penetrates 8 of the state’s mountain ranges. The Colorado Trail Foundation and volunteers maintain the trail in the name of conservation and recreational exploration of Colorado’s stunning mountainous areas.
Another avid music fan is Founding Partner Diane Czarkowski who chose Musically Fed this year because of their philosophy of “Music feeds the soul, so we feed the hungry.”. This organization works with artists, promoters, and venues nationwide to donate unused backstage meals to community organizations that are at least 50% veterans. Their goal is to leave each city the artists visit with a lasting, positive impact. Visit their website to see the long list of artists who have participated.
Friends of Sayulita / ProSayulita
Bailey Booth, Client Services Admin picked Friends of Sayulita, Inc – Hurricane Roslyn Relief Program of ProSayulita. Bailey explained, “I was in Sayulita, Mexico when the hurricane hit in October of this year. This surf town has such a vibrant, friendly, and welcoming culture. I was devastated to see the damage from Roslyn on the locals’ homes and businesses. My family and I were fortunate to be staying in a hotel with solid structure and resources, while Sayulita’s beach and streets were filled with water, trash, and destruction from the hurricane.”