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Paying for the reunion- Calendars

What reunion doesn’t need money? There are many ways to raise money if you don’t just divide all your costs and assess everyone equally. Consider some of these ideas and share your ideas with our readers. E-mail the editor at Reunions magazine

The Utley family calendar displays anniversaries and birthdays
Calendars sell well during the reunion. Utley uses two or three as door prizes and one as a prize for guessing the number of M&Ms or jelly beans in a jar. The winner gets the jar of candy and a calendar.

Calendars are also a fundraiser for the Williams Family Reunion with some great genealogical and family history twists. The calendar is assembled by Gil Williams, a commercial photographer, who uses mostly older photos and lots of family history. The 1999 calendar concentrated on prolific ancestor Andrew Elton Williams who, with two wives, fathered 23 children between 1824 and 1869. One child never married, two died very young but most of the others had large families which certainly guarantees a long lived reunion. The calendar is dedicated to a relative who was active in the reunion for years. He had a standing order for 100 calendars each year and died just before the reunion.

Calendar connection
Franklin Willis, Los Angeles, California, writes that one way his family stays connected between reunions is the Willis Connection 2000 Millennium Calendar. Conceived as a fundraiser, selling for $10, the calendar leads off with a full-color portrait of reunion attendees. Inside, important family dates such as birthdays and anniversaries throughout the year are highlighted. A simple key also links members to their branch of the family tree. Seasonally-themed graphics (tulip and maple leaf, school bus and Christmas tree) and easy-to-read type create a user-friendly reminder to those who may want to send cards, make phone calls or wish to just stay connected between reunions. All in all, a nice job. Well done. JP

Toomer souvenirs are tops
   The Toomers can inspire anyone creating comprehensive family reunion guides. Their 2000 family reunion souvenir journal begins with a letter from the mayor of Berlin, New Jersey, followed by a reunion program. Family history excerpts include details of how the family came to New Jersey, a slave deed detailing ancestors’ purchase and the story of how they got the Toomer name. Family biographies and a collage of these members provide a sense of history and accomplishment in the Toomer family. But there’s more, a guide to family members buried in the East Berlin Cemetery with a map of the plots and a two-page history of Toomer Family Reunions documents celebrations back to the 1960s. One of our favorites is the picture page street signs of Toomer Road in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and Perry, Georgia, and Toomer Avenue in West Berlin, New Jersey! The closing pages of the guide feature updates on births, deaths, graduations, marriages and other points of interest. Memorials for family members and ads help cover the costs. The final two pages list the living members of the Toomer family.

   That's an impressive book for any committee to produce, but the Toomers didn't stop there, they also produce Toomer Family Birthday Calendars. Each month has different pictures and facts about the family and, of course, the names of individuals born on each date. The calendar is a geyser of family knowledge and the planning committee deserves great credit for gathering the information along with compiling birthdays that probably encompass 75% or more of the calendar dates. 
Listen to a podcast about how the Toomers made their Family Birthday Calendar.
These projects were used as fundraisers several different ways. The journal ad pages raised some of the money; calendars are sold at reunions. The price of calendars went up each of the three reunions they’ve done it. This year it will cost $15 which they’ve promoted in newsletters and will continue to promote at the reunion.
Reported by Shamele Jordan, Lindenwold NJ

 

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