Foregoing Birthdays to Fundraise

Matt Scott

Matt Scott is Team Rubicon's Donor Engagement Coordinator. He studied business management at Loyola Marymount University. With a background in implementing large-scale technology solutions, he brings a keen understanding of the intersection between technology and human behavior. Matt redefines donor engagement for the modern era by leveraging technology to connect with every supporter in a way that is personally meaningful to them.

In early November 2013, the Dimson family was busy planning a celebration for two milestone birthdays for cousins Ciro and Jacene. Those plans quickly shifted when Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines, the homeland and roots of their family heritage.

Impacted by the devastation, Ciro swapped out his birthday brunch plans. In a reply to the family’s group email, he wrote:

One of the few things I remember Lolo (“Grandpa” in Tagalog) telling me when I was a kid, was that I was going to save the Philippines. Of course, he also told this to every other grandkid, but it stuck with me. I think our time would be spent in a much more productive manner if we attempted to organize some sort of fundraising event specifically for a researched relief group for Typhoon Haiyan.

Cousins Jacene and Ciro Dimson donated their birthday celebration to support Team Rubicon's relief efforts in the Philippines.
Cousins Jacene and Ciro Dimson donated their birthday celebration to support Team Rubicon’s relief efforts in the Philippines.

As the family bantered via email on fundraising ideas and organizations worth supporting, Jacene turned the attention to Operation: Seabird, Team Rubicon’s response to the typhoon.

“A full family vote through email is entertaining with two dozen people in the conversation, but describing to my family how TR was one of the first non-profits on the ground in Tacloban and highlighting their mission made it a no-brainer. Highly trained military veterans volunteering to help. Yes. Absolutely yes,” said Jacene. “It also helped that TR made it easy for us to support them. We created an online donation page and started reaching out to family, friends, co-workers, and our church groups immediately. It was a fiercely emotional experience for our family and we were proud to do our part. We can’t do what TR does, but it doesn’t make us any less passionate about supporting the cause.”

More than 200 friends and family members attended their fundraiser, which raised over $13,000 for Operation: Seabird.
More than 200 friends and family members attended their fundraiser, which raised over $13,000 for Operation: Seabird.

The entire Dimson family came together to help pull off the event in just ten days. No small task to feed and entertain more than 200 attendees, but with a dozen tasting stations, a lechon (a whole roasted pig), 500 hand-rolled lumpias from Lola (Grandma), and some help from the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra, they pulled it off and raised over $13,000 to support Operation: Seabird.

Story doesn’t end there. On a flight home from Manila to Los Angeles just days before the fundraising event, Jacene’s mothe, Vivian, was seated next to two Team Rubicon volunteers, Lourdes Tiglao and Chris Ryan, who were returning after their 10-day deployment in the Philippines. Vivian recognized their T-shirts and noticed their exhaustion before asking, “Are you guys with Team Rubicon? Because my family is supporting you.”

On behalf of TR Nation, thank you to the Dimsom family and everyone who helped support our efforts in providing aid to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Vivian Dimson, Jacene's mother (second from the right), ended up sitting next to TR volunteers Lourdes Tiglao and Chris Ryan on their return flight from Manila and met other volunteers at LAX.
Vivian Dimson, Jacene’s mother (second from the right), ended up sitting next to TR volunteers Lourdes Tiglao and Chris Ryan on their return flight from Manila and met other volunteers at LAX.