International Women's Day, One Year Later
A year ago today, a pal of mine told me that a local business was giving women 10% off any latte order in honor of International Women's Day.
10% off a Latte. Gee, thanks.
This company had their hearts in the right place. They were extending a token gesture. So after 10 minutes of raging against the utter insignificance of this ludicrous offer, I decided to stop whining and start acting. What was I doing to help anyone? What could Treebird do to help women on such an important day?
Inspired by ice-cold spite that gradually melted into the desire to do some good, I put this out into the world... +
I decided that Treebird was going to create a brand for a woman-owned business and give it to them for no charge. You can read the post here.
What happened next was something that I didn't expect when I put this out into the world. The bids we received were incredible. We asked applicants to make their bids personal and compelling, and to make it hard for us to say no. And BOY DID THEY EVER.
Almost all the bids we received focused on women helping women. Women's empowerment. Women's movements. Support for families. We were honestly expecting a bunch of cupcake companies or custom soaps- not that there's anything wrong with that. So we were pleasantly surprised that every single one of the applications included elements of "paying it forward".
Many of the applicants were just getting started. Giving a brand away to an idea that wasn't yet fully formed meant risking that it might never see the light of day. We needed to find someone who we knew could take this brand and turn it into gold. Picking a winner was seemingly impossible at this point.
That is, until we heard from Aimee...
There's no way a recap can do Aimee's inquiry justice. Read her full letter here and see why there was no way we could say no to this incredible woman and her foundation.
During our kick-off meeting, Aimee described her moment of epiphany. She was fighting for her life. The doctors had no choice but to amputate both her hands, her right foot, and her entire left leg. As she lay in her hospital bed, surrounded by patients in similar stages of recovery, she realized she was incredibly upset. Not upset because a bacterial infection had taken away her limbs and was doing its best to take her life. No, she was upset because all the patients around her seemed to simply be languishing in a sterile room with soap operas blaring over the shared television set. Amy recounts the clarity with which she knew what she had to do next. "If the human beings in that room were ever going to truly heal, we needed sunlight and fresh air! Not Soap Operas!"
Aimee has always put her focus on others, feeling great empathy for the strangers in her shared room when her life could have slipped away at any moment. Even though she was dealt a seemingly unfair hand by the universe, she still had love for the rest of the world. She still wanted to help others.
For Aimee, that meant making the outdoors accessible for all, and using the natural world to support physical and mental health. That meant creating a sustaining and fulfilling community that nourished mind, body, and soul. So she got to work assembling an amazing team and started the Aimee Copeland Foundation. The centerpiece of the Foundation would be a facility where people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, and with any degree of mental and physical health challenges could connect with nature and, in doing so, renew themselves.
Needless to say, I was awed by Amy's strength, resolve, spirit, and generosity. And I was left with the question, "How the hell are we going to brand something this pure?"
Luckily, I have an incredible team and a reserve of humanity stored somewhere deep inside. After some initial flailing and a strong case of designer's block, things started to come together. We worked through ideas, had breakthroughs and finally dug deep, thought of Aimee, and made it happen.
This Mark is inspired by Aimee and her mission. It's carefree but has a mission. The flowing colors and hand-drawn aesthetic represent Aimee's flowing energy and hands-on approach.
And here's the ACF positioning statement:
The Aimee Copeland Foundation believes
that mind, body, and soul are one,
that the magic of the outdoors
can transform physical, mental, and spiritual health,
that we are all imperfectly perfect,
and that everyone deserves the chance to play, contribute, and thrive.
ACF puts those inclusive beliefs into intentional, multifaceted action,
helping people with disabilities shape meaningful, purposeful lives
and find peace, strength, and fulfillment beyond what they may have ever imagined.
Led by Aimee Copeland, a Licensed Master Social Worker
with a background in eco-psychology
and a quadruple amputee and necrotizing fasciitis survivor,
ACF inspires hope through action,
leverages courage into breakthroughs,
builds community through access and inclusivity,
provides healing through relationships,
fights stigmas through education,
and breaks down barriers through compassion and humor.
At its heart, the Aimee Copeland Foundation seeks
to make the seemingly impossible possible again
for all people who have experienced a disability—
from the wheelchair-bound toddler to the elderly person
who wishes she could garden again, and everyone in between.
ACF also understands that any form of disability
affects a person’s entire existence—physical, mental, and spiritual—
and that these individuals also need mental health services
and therapeutic programs that engage them actively and holistically.
The Foundation therefore raises funds and awareness
for the Inclusive Park and Holistic Therapy Center,
which provides accessible outdoor opportunities and other adaptive recreation,
as well as retreats, workshops, programs, activities, and individual and group counseling
to all people seeking personal growth.
The Aimee Copeland Foundation empowers all people with disabilities—
physical, developmental, and psychological—
to build full, fulfilling, and joyful lives
by helping them purposefully connect with nature and the physical realm,
with themselves and their perceived differences,
and with their wholly unique abilities and purpose in the world.
We loved working with Aimee and her team so much we ended up branding her wellness event and naming it EUDAMONIUM (derived from a term Aristotle coined to describe "the good life").
We are incredibly fortunate to have crossed paths with Aimee, who is by far the most inspiring human being we've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She's brought far more to us than we could ever give her through our work. If there's a lesson here, it's that when you stop complaining about the world and start doing things to try to change things for the better, amazing things can happen.
So if you're curious about what we're doing for International Women's Day this year, stay tuned tomorrow for a big announcement. Spoiler alert: We're volunteering our services to a women-centric organization. But this time, we're not leaving it up to chance.