Dear Friend of the Foundation,
Just a month ago, managing editor Anne Conlon and I were marching down Constitution Avenue, amidst the throngs (hundreds of thousands strong) of smiling, singing, cheering young people participating in the March for Life 2015. We all enjoyed—for once!—above-freezing temperatures and sunshine.
Let me stress that one point again: hundreds of thousands of young people, protesting—and no violence, no ugliness. And no press coverage! This might be one of the strangest things in America today: On this day, Washington DC is overrun with exuberant, sometimes loud but terrifically well-behaved and polite (wow!) protesters. They cause major street closures, traffic tie-ups, and mammoth fast-food lines in Union Station . . . and yet there is hardly a whisper about it in the major media, much less a wide-angle shot of the massive crowds.
But it happens every year, and I believe it’s impossible to be a part of it and not have great hope for the future. That hope was pervasive and tangible that day, despite the huge disappointment we received right before the March, when the GOP bailed on the planned vote on The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. For more on that, and on the vote the House did pass—re tax-payer abortion funding—see Connie Marshner’s blog on our website “Red Flags and Consolation Prizes”
I came back from Washington energized and inspired—and to some great news! Our faithful donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) has again offered us a grand way out of the mid-winter blues; a matching grant! And this year, he will match up to $35,000!!
This is especially good news for us. It is true, we do get a surge of support at the end of the year—God bless you all. But then things get very quiet, and as we have learned, if we get behind between January and May, then we go into the summer on shaky ground. As I’ve written you, we are committed this year to vigorous cost cutting and that, combined with this opportunity to double contributions, is a winning combination to keep the Foundation going strong.
Conditions? Just one: Contributions must be in by March 18th—our friend wanted mid-March so I picked the day between the two great feasts celebrated by my family, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s (representing, as my husband says of our marriage, Gaelic and garlic).
One important note: If responding to this appeal right here on our website, please make sure we know this gift is for the matching grant by specifying “matching grant” in the notes/comments field, or better yet, reference J15MG there!
Mid-March will also be when our Winter issue hits the mail, with our newly designed cover! Yes, we are entering our 41st year with a new look, which will be a surprise—but do let us know what you think? We are pleased because we are both using less costly materials and updating our look at the same time.
In the meantime, here is some Foundation news …
- We received the 2014 Choose Life Award, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Human Life Review, from The Children First Foundation—the official sponsor of the “Choose Life” license plates in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (the ability to use them in NY is still tied up in court). Proceeds from the plates go to pregnancy centers to support the Foundation’s mission, which is “to promote and support adoption as a positive choice.” I was presented with the award in Bronxville, New York on December 28th, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This meant an enormous amount to me personally, because it was the 20th anniversary of the death of my dear brother, Robert. Those of you who have been with us from the old days will remember that my brother, who was working as the Washington bureau chief of the Ad Hoc Committee in Defense of Life, was struck with cancer at 33, and died just a few days short of his 35th birthday. I accepted the award in honor of Robert, remembering his indomitably positive attitude and generous spirit.
- The Human Life Review was featured in the January 18 editions (both print and online) of the National Catholic Register: “40 Years of a Pro-Life Journal: The Human Life Review is Still Going Strong,” by Elisabeth Deffner. It’s a great profile, and a testament, really, to you, our friends and supporters. We simply would not be here without you; believe me, there have been many times when I did not know if we would be able to continue. But we are still going strong:
The work McFadden began in 1973 isn’t only about providing a written record of a movement; it’s about saving lives—by changing hearts and minds and by supporting those working on the front lines. And despite its evolution—the website includes access to the newest issue of the Review, as well as a large archive, and it is also on Twitter—its mission remains the same, and its staff is as passionate as ever.
- In DC on the day before the March (January 21st) I participated as a speaker in the Law of Life Summit, part of the March for Life’s Law Conference. The Summit, which was held both in DC and in San Francisco as part of the January 24th Walk for Life West Coast, brings young lawyers and law students together with media figures and pro-life lawyers, “combining law and media to defend the sanctity of human life.” This was a great opportunity to introduce the Review to the young lawyers and students there, and to highlight the value of our archives—every pro-life legal strategy considered since the Roe decision, I emphasized, has been analyzed and discussed in our pages, and this continues (as you will see in our next issue).
- Thanks to our board member Jim McLaughlin, the Foundation hit the ground running in the New Year, participating in the SEEK2015 FOCUS conference (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) in Nashville, Tennessee, January 1-5. McLaughlin, his daughter Laura (a student at Boston College), and our own Rose Flynn DeMaio traveled to the conference with reprints of a few of our most popular articles, and introduced the HLR to some of the—get this—over 9,500 college students present. They came back with not only a good number of new subscribers, but, as Rose said, “My faith in humanity has been restored,” because she witnessed thousands of young people who were (as at the March for Life) polite, well-behaved and eager to be people of faith and service to others.
- We keep working to make our website more relevant and timely. We are increasing the frequency and range of our blogs, as well as the links in Hot Topics and You Should Know sections (which you can find in the Current Issue menu)—so please visit humanlifereview.com often as it is always changing. Our Facebook page likes are approaching 15,000! And all the activity is getting results; we have noticed just in the last two weeks an uptick in online subscription enrollments.
So January was quite a busy month, full of promise, and now we hope to make the next six weeks something special as well with your response to this generous matching grant offer. Remember, no amount is too small! Or too large—although, we hope to reach the $35,000 mark before the deadline, so if you really want your contribution to be doubled (only possible up to $35K) send it in soon! I received several inquires before Christmas whether we would be having a matching grant appeal—I know how much it means to some of you that your contribution will be doubled for the cause—so here is your chance. And, while you consider what to send, please do say a prayer for the good person making this possible for us, our anonymous donor, whose reward ought to be great!
As a thank you, I will send you our new promotional item, the message bracelet we had made up for the FOCUS conference—these kinds of rubber bracelets are very popular with young people, but I am wearing it too! It’s pink and blue and says “The Unknown Child”; we ask those who receive one to “Wear it in solidarity and prayer for an unknown child at risk for abortion.”
It is often said that ours is an unselfish movement: We fight for those we will never meet, and we just hope that, through our efforts, lives are saved. The bracelet is a good item to pass on to a young person you know—it’s got our website address on it too, so it’s a great way to get more people to discover the Human Life Review and humanlifereview.com.
Thank you in advance for your continued support, and for enabling us to go into 2015 reaching out to build strong minds and generous hearts for life!
Maria McFadden Maffucci
P.S.: I’ll leave you with a story from the March. Anne and I were walking along in the crowd, moving ahead of some of the larger groups when, at one point, I looked behind us and there was a group of young people holding a Harvard Right to Life banner! I went back to give them our Unknown Child bracelets, letting them know about the Review and that we needed young readers and writers. If there are prolifers at Harvard, why, anything is possible!
And here we are across from the Supreme Court with Mother Agnes and the Sisters of Life, National Review Online editor Kathryn J. Lopez, and the Pro Bikers for Life! (See who they are at probikersforlife.us).
P.P.S.: Don’t forget—the matching grant deadline is March 18th! Remember to let us know you wish your gift to be DOUBLED! Enter code J15MG in comments field. And as always—Thank You for your tireless support!