November Means Working Together (Pro-Bono)

sandhill cranes in the distance

Here it is November and we still have sandhill cranes. If you look closely in this zoomed-to-the-max iPhone shot, you see two of them enhancing the otherwise desolate cornfield. They caught my attention a few mornings ago as they gaggled away in response to another pair far in the distance. This weekend we’re supposed to get several inches of snow so these snowbirds will likely say to heck with this and take off for warmer temps.

Aren’t the migratory habits of birds amazing?

For example, for several months in autumn the sandhills gather in wetlands before heading south. These are called staging areas and here in Wisconsin there are several where thousands of cranes assemble at a time. I like to imagine this is a time of preparation and joining together of forces for the arduous journey ahead.

You probably knew migrating birds fly in the V-Formation, officially known as the echelon formation. They do this for its aerodynamic advantage, obviously. But did you know birds take turns flying the front helm of this V, a very strenuous task? And did you know the mortality rate for birds is six times higher during the migration season? Given this, isn’t it interesting that even though survival favors the selfish—those that promote their own well-being before that of others—the God-given nature of birds is to selflessly share the responsibility?

This author makes a good point when he says, “If migrating birds work together, the flock has a greater chance of having all of its feathered brethren make the long trip to their destination.”

Working together. For the good of all.

With this caring concept in mind and because November is the month of giving, let me announce it’s my season for pro-bono applications. Each year Adunate accepts two pro-bono projects for greatly reduced or no cost. These are projects I strongly support and believe will positively impact God’s creation, his people, or his ministry.

My interests include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Architecture
  • Arts
  • Children
  • Faith
  • History
  • Humanity
  • Natural Food & Living
  • Nature & Animals
  • Preservation & Sustainability

If your organization needs creative assistance in the upcoming year, click here for an application. Then, to guarantee your project’s success, be sure to click here!

Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2015. I will let applicants know of my decision in January.

Fiesta Risen Savior

Fiesta Risen Savior, Milwaukee

Each year Adunate does pro-bono work for projects especially meaningful to my heart. Recently, I was honored to do promotional pieces for Fiesta Risen Savior, a fundraising celebration of the Hispanic Ministry by Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. What a fun project for such a meaningful event!

First, let me share a bit about the ministry.

According to this Journal Sentinel article, Risen Savior Lutheran Church and School is a spiritual haven for northwest Milwaukee’s growing Hispanic population. The church has services in both English and Spanish, and its school enrolls 250 students, with 45 percent being African American, 45 percent Hispanic, and the rest Nigerian, Caucasian, Asian and others.

The flags of Risen Savior's Ministry, Milwaukee, WI

When I met with Risen Savior’s committee, I assumed their Hispanic Ministry was attended specifically by Mexicans (as is ours at St. Mark’s Lutheran in the much smaller community of Watertown). Pastor Luis Acosta quickly pointed out they are currently represented by a wonderfully diverse group of nationalities, including Mexican, Puerto Rican, Columbian and Venezuelan.

As the Bible says, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Artwork by students of Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WIDon’t you just love this artwork? Risen Savior School displays pieces done by the students throughout the school…

Artwork on display at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

…as well as work done by other artists…

Artwork of John August Swanson on display at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

Artwork of John August Swanson on display at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

…depicting diverse peoples, inspiration…

Artwork displayed by Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

…and God’s saving grace.

Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

My friend Anna serves as assistant principal for Risen Savior School. I’m super proud of the work she and her coworkers do for this special ministry. Risen Savior is blessed through them.

So what about the fiesta?

Now in its eighth year, Fiesta Risen Savior is the congregation’s annual fundraising event for its Hispanic Ministry. Delicious food. Great entertainment. This year members will provide a vibrant celebration of their many heritages.

Interested in offering support? To learn more about the event and ministry, click here.


Does your organization need help visually communicating its message? Beginning in October, Adunate will accept applications for its 2016 pro-bono season. In the meantime, check out the application form here. And then, to guarantee success for your pro-bono project, be sure to click here.


Labors of Love Preserve Historic Cemetery

Wine Tasting promotional

When it comes to doing business with family, the rule of thumb is don’t. But here is a design and copywriting project for which I was not only happy to throw rules to the wind, I was downright proud doing so. Along with this comes a story, so sit yourselves down and pour up a glass of wine.

Back in the early 1970s, my mother-in-law telephoned her township chairman about the poor state of affairs at the Watertown Township Union Cemetery. Her concern was for an overgrown acre of land a mile up the road from their farm. With gravestones dating back to the mid-1800s, it was a historical memorial of the surrounding community.

As a result of that phone call, my father-in-law became the cemetery’s official curator. He passed along an ever-so-slight compensation to his 15-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son (my husband) for diligently pushing their lawnmowers up to the cemetery, mowing, trimming, and then pushing them back home again.

Little did my in-laws know this would become a perpetual labor of love. In fact, here it is forty years later and they still manage the cemetery. Together with their children and grandchildren, they mow, maintain, arrange burials, do the occasional fill-in-the-grave-by-hand and host an annual Friends of Union Cemetery meeting. They do all this with great care and dedication.

Each year my now 82-year-old father-in-law talks of turning the position over to his children. We’ll happily oblige. But when asked if he’s really ready to retire, he always decides to keep at it another year. There’s some hardy Wisconsin farm blood for ya.

That’s the personal side of this story.

Here’s the civic side: Throughout the U.S., rural cemeteries are falling by the wayside. They’re abandoned, vandalized and forgotten. Most no longer have formal organizations that share an interest in their care. Those that do are non-profits limping along with treasuries barely covering the gas to mow.

The Friends of Union Cemetery don’t want this to happen. Nope, not to our little sanctuary up on the hill. Thankfully we have pro-active energy and connoisseurs of wine within our midst!

Are you in the Watertown area? Stop by on March 8 for some flavorful wine and hors d’oeuvres!

Wine tasting promotional press release



Freely You Have Received, Freely Give

It’s National Philanthropy Day and kudos to all who give their time, talents and treasures to make our world a better place!

I’m currently working on a fund appeal newsletter for my church. In the religious community we refer to philanthropy as stewardship, and our goal is to give just as God has given to us. We want to give out of love not only for everything he has created, but also out of love for God himself.

Philanthropy, stewardship or just plain ol’ giving…whatever you want to call it, it’s a good thing to do. So thanks to all you movers and shakers, you who donate and you who care!

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications, whether it be design or copywriting. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2014, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!

And while we’re talking giving, here’s the cover and inside page of my church’s newsletter. There will be more to follow, but take a look so far.




Superstorm Sandy and the Importance of Giving

Philadelphia, night before the Hurricane Sandy

My husband and I were in Philadelphia over the weekend just before the surge of Hurricane Sandy. To say it was interesting is an understatement. In mayhem-filled grocery stores, people stood in checkout lines that ran the length of every aisle. In coffee shops, they contemplated the water resiliency of their apartments and whether their subway stops would stay open.

Meanwhile, my husband and I hunkered down at the historic Conwell Inn, located at Temple University (I just love that inn). At midnight of the night before the storm, we walked around campus and there was a fascinating calm/eerie/excitement in the air (the students were ecstatic because classes had already been cancelled:-). We debated whether to stay our full reservation, but in the end left the next day before things became too chaotic.

That’s the extent of our hurricane adventure—obviously nothing too dramatic. It did give us cause for reflection though.

Whenever my husband and I visit large urban areas, we’re reminded how naive we are of life outside our rural Midwestern simplicity. Most big city folks don’t drive (many, like our son, don’t even own a car). They live in smaller spaces that don’t allow for much food storage. And there are people everywhere. When something catastrophic like a superstorm hits, the problems they face are much different than our own.

Hurricane Sandy reminds us of the importance of giving. Isn’t it awesome how Americans come together and help each other?

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2013, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!