While the deadly October 2017 wildfires raged through my hometown of Santa Rosa, California, I designed the “Rose-ilience” image, a nod to the tenacity and regrowth of Santa Rosa's namesake and an illustration of the support I witnessed in the community. This image became the center of my viral fundraising campaign, which raised over $60,000 and other non-monetary aid for fire relief from the sale of merchandise and the efforts of affiliated licensees.
This was the first unique design program to come forward to raise funds for North Bay fire relief, inspiring similar efforts in Sonoma County and, after the December 2017 fires in Southern California, in Ventura as well. In recognition of this campaign I was honored to receive the North Bay Business Journal's Community Philanthropy Award and was recognized as one of the North Bay's 40 under 40 professionals for 2018.
I had 3 goals:
Give positivity a visual, too.
While photos, videos, and maps tracking the destruction kept us informed and alert during the wildfires, I felt that the community outreach and support I was witnessing needed a shareable, tangible visual, too. The North Bay is not defined by this disaster and the fellowship we exhibited in the wake of it is not unique to us. I wanted to create an image that transcended devastation and our city limits while being inspired by both.
Give the community a sense of collective identity.
I wanted to make an affordable, recognizable icon that anyone, of any age, could wear every day. The image is a recognition of our collective loss and suffering, but also a show of support and a celebration of our hope, solidarity, and kindness. Santa Rosa is a bilingual community, so it was important to me to create an image that spoke for itself, without relying on language. People from 8 different non-English-speaking countries have supported the campaign. Also, children of pre-reading age love it. As an image and not words, Rose-ilience is for everyone.
Give those with small budgets a way to contribute.
My desire to help with fire relief felt disproportionate to my limited means, and a donation of $15 or so felt too inconsequential to bother. I wanted to create something that encouraged people of similar budgets to contribute, and in return offers a badge of recognition of sorts. Wearing the Rose-ilience image is not only a signal of allegiance but also equates to a tangible donation.
Thank you to the following local organizations who, by licensing the Rose-ilience image, more than doubled the funds I was able to raise from my sales alone:
SAL Auto, a nonprofit auto shop that funds repairs needed by low-income single mothers, provided services at cost for those displaced by wildfires
Boy Scouts of America Troop 32's "A Thousand Thanks Breakfast" raised $22,000 for the RCU Fire Fund and 3,000 pounds of food for the Redwood Empire Food Bank
Faith Tattoo and Jared Powell of Glass Beetle Tattoo offered the Rose-ilience image as a tattoo design in their fundraising efforts, garnering roughly $12,000 for charity
Brotherhood Board Shop featured the image on a limited-edition skateboard deck, raising $2,000 for fire relief
Law for All provides know-your-rights materials for those affected by the fires
The National Arboreal Society's Britton Fund donated 25% of proceeds ($6,250) from their April 2018 annual charity ride to reforestation efforts in Sonoma County; I designed the Primal Wear bike jerseys worn by participants
The 124th annual Luther Burbank Rose Parade & Festival celebrated first responders and Santa Rosa's 150th anniversary; by partnering with my Rose-ilience campaign, the first local designer they've collaborated with in recent history, the Rose Parade pays tribute to the community's "second responders" as well
On Fire fireplace shop
3181 Cleveland Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Agent Ink Gallery
531 Fifth Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Museums of Sonoma County
425 7th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
30 Mark West Springs Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
599 Montecito Center
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
Thank you to those who have shared their support and spread the word about Rose-ilience on Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, and beyond by tagging @mikaylabutchart, using the hashtags #roseilience and #mikaylabutchart, or by leaving me a positive review.
The success of this campaign would not have been possible without the various contributions and support of the following family members, friends, and neighbors:
Frank Freitas CPA
Redwood Credit Union
On Fire! fireplace shop
Marketplace on Fourth
Luther Burbank Rose Parade & Festival
Wednesday Night Market
The Museums of Sonoma County
Sonoma State University
The Press Democrat
Santa Rosa native raises $20,000 for Sonoma County fire victims through ROSE-ilience pin
In remembrance of those who lost the most
North Bay Fire Relief Fund reaches $18 million in donations for victims
Events rescheduled, canceled in wake of Sonoma County wildfires
North Bay Business Journal
27 Sonoma, Marin community philanthropy standouts to be recognized
Here are the North Bay's 40 under 40 professionals for 2018
‘Roseilience’ pin generates $35,000-plus for North Bay wildfire relief
The Oak Leaf
The ROSE-ilience of a devastated community