We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Jorgensen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
When I think about why Grace Upon Grace Project has been so successful in such a short time, I truly think it is because of our empathy. Of course we have worked hard, made connections, and set goals, but one thing that I feel sets us apart is our ability to acknowledge that some of us are more privileged than others, but that does not make us any better. We feel that it actually means we should do more to help others. Grace Upon Grace Project is not just about distributing diapers, wipes, and period products and our supporters see that. They see that we are also about truly connecting with our clients. We want to support them, to inspire them. We do everything within our power to let them know that they loved, that they are seen, and that we will walk through their difficult times with them with grace. When businesses within our community and our supporters learn about our unique approach to supporting others, they want to be a part of it. They want to be a part of the change that is happening.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
When we set out on this journey we call life I truly feel at the end of the day it is not about what we have accomplished or the money we have made. It is about how we have helped. It is about how we have lifted others up. It is about how we have helped others live with grace and dignity. After truly listening to all the signs, I knew that in addition to being a mom and a wife, my purpose was to start Grace Upon Grace Project. We provide under-served families and individuals diapers, wipes, and period products to live and grow with grace and dignity while addressing the roots of social inequities, no questions asked.
So, Grace Upon Grace Project was born in the fall of. Everything took place in my basement. Storing, sorting, organizing. We started distributing products in February 2020. Yes, you read that right! February of 2020. We made it through one Market Distribution Day and we had to put a hold on everything because of COVID. We were no longer able to connect with the community members through our distribution location. So, to be honest it wasn’t easy. I was discouraged and truly wasn’t sure how to connect with our community in the middle of a pandemic. What I thought would be the end, before we even started, was actually a blessing in disguise. We regrouped and after closing March through August, we were able to begin distributing again in September. After connecting with other non-profits and brainstorming different ideas we started using a drive-thru style for our Market Distribution Days. This actually allowed us to connect with more clients and get more products in to the hands of those that need them the most.
There were struggles with getting everything from my basement to the distribution point, and COVID limited the number of volunteers to help prepare for the Market Distribution Days. These challenges kept presenting themselves, but I knew that I had to keep moving forward. I knew that our work was important! In January of 2021, a private donor secured a facility and fully funded the rent for one year. The facility has allowed us to accept more donations, host volunteer days, and increase the number of clients we serve each month.
As we begin our journey in our new facility, I am excited for what this next year is going to bring and the connections we are going to build within the community we are serving. As we continue this journey, we are committed to using our voice to help raise awareness around diaper need and period poverty and ensuring our clients know that they are seen and supported. I am very proud to say that we have distributed a total of about 7,000 period products, 55,000 diapers, and 83,000 wipes since opening our doors. I know that each month we are making a difference.
One of my favorite quotes is by Elizabeth Gilbert. She says, “create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” So, I am here creating a revolution. I am taking the steps to make this world a better place. I am creating a service that revolves around kindness, compassion, empathy, and GRACE.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Colorado has become my home away from home and I love having visitors. Living in Northern Colorado, we have the opportunity to explore the outdoors, but also enjoy some locally owned places. I would definitely take them to see a concert at Red Rocks during the summer or head out to Boedecker Reservoir for an afternoon of Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Maybe a hike up to Emerald Lake to soak up some of the most beautiful views I have ever experienced. Breakfast at Taste Local is a must. From the cloth napkins, to the eclectic coffee mugs, to the most amazing food, it is a place I would take all of my visitors. For a night out and a little fun I would do dinner at The Cache and then drinks at Social. The creativity and the atmosphere are a must experience at Social. For an afternoon of sunshine, live music, and yard games I would head to Backyard Tap in Loveland. Backyard Tap is all about community and connection–two things that I truly value.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I believe that the universe has a master plan for each one of us that aligns with our greater purpose. Each event I experienced has played a role in my journey. When I look back at each event that led me to begin Grace Upon Grace Project, some were more subtle than others, while others were life changing experiences that brought me tears. From a life learning, but very unhealthy and broken engagement, to my move to Denver, to meeting my husband, to connecting with some of the most incredible women who are now a part of this journey, to the books I have read–the universe was talking to me and I just had to be willing to listen. Although each experience brought me here, my husband, Neil, deserves a major shoutout. His
` passion, support, and encouragement to never to give up on my dreams truly pushed me to be the very best version of myself for this journey. He has continuously encouraged me to stand up, with courage and grace in my heart to fight for what is right. Thankfully, we both believe in helping those who need it.
My board members, Heather Williams, and Sarah Monares are not only board members, but friends and have listened to my ideas, guided me with grace, and encouraged me to use my voice fearlessly during this process. I am so incredibly thankful for them.
I also need to give a shoutout to our donors. Because of them we are able to lead this fight of raising awareness around diaper need and period poverty.
Lastly, I want to thank our clients for being brave. Asking for help isn’t easy. I personally think it is one of the hardest things to do, but each month our clients set aside their shame and share their stories with a brave and thankful heart.
Jill Skoglund at U Shine Photography