The regional nonprofit SD Gunner Fund is appealing to area tattoo artists to make their mark by supporting efforts to raise awareness for health-related causes in 2016. The Claxton-based organization, which helps disabled veterans and children with autism with the expense of acquiring service dogs, seeks partners in several observances planned this year as part of the “Got Ink?” campaign.
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. April is National Autism Awareness Month. June 27 is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day. And September is National Service Dog Month.
SD Gunner Fund has assisted a number of community members who have autism or military-related health problems to promote understanding and acceptance of them and others who benefit from owning service dogs, the 501(c)(3) has developed the “Got Ink?” campaign.
The organization is appealing to area tattoo artists to support its awareness campaigns in one of two ways — pledging a percentage of the fees they charge clients or donating all the proceeds from one specific tattoo. Those who opt to participate can earmark funds for charity during all the observance months — March, April, June and September — or just one month.
SD Gunner Fund founder Britnee Kinard said the group has had success with this initiative in the past.
“Our ‘Got Ink?’ campaign is a great way to get involved and show you care about health struggles faced by so many right here in our community. Helping us observe these months and raise awareness doesn’t have to mean a big commitment. Tattoo artists decide how much they want to give. Previously, we’ve had people donate anywhere from $20 to 100 percent of a tattoo,” said Kinard, who started the organization in 2014 while caring full-time for her husband as he grappled with PTSD and recovered from physical wounds sustained while serving in Iraq.
She grew frustrated with a system that failed to meet the needs of her husband, a Purple Heart recipient and father of two boys, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder. As she navigated the process of obtaining the aid to which her husband is entitled, Kinard developed a reputation as an advocate for those who face the challenge of collecting certain benefits. As the requests for help became more frequent, Kinard took action.
After working for 18 months to get her husband’s service dog, Gunner — for whom the nonprofit agency is named — Kinard began her quest to help other veterans and children in need. Donations to SD Gunner Fund are tax-deductible and, to date, sponsors have raised more than $15,000.
To recognize and honor “Got Ink?” campaign supporters, each tattoo shop that opts in will receive a campaign certificate and monthly thank-you acknowledgements on all of SD Gunner Fund’s social-media accounts. In addition, the nonprofit will display each participating shop’s logo on its website throughout 2016.
For more information, contact Kinard at 615-804-3533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.