MONROE, CT — Bonnie Maur, a longtime teacher at Chalk Hill and Jockey Hollow middle schools and a breast cancer survivor, started Think Pink Monroe three years ago. Since then, its volunteers have spread awareness of the disease.
The organization has also provided over $70,000 worth of financial assistance for more than 36 town families of cancer patients, helping to cover expenses for everything from rent and mortgage payments to property taxes.
This summer, Maur said Think Pink Monroe obtained 501c3 status as a nonprofit from the IRS.
“We’ll be raising funds in the same way and we’ll also be raising awareness,” Maur said during a telephone interview Saturday. “We’ll be looking to support Monroe residents with cancer with assistance in any way we can, helping with expenses and/or rides if they need them. We’ll do what we can to make their journey as easy as possible.”
In its early days, Think Pink Monroe teamed up with St. Vincent’s Swim Across the Sound. But as a nonprofit, Think Pink can now fundraise on its own and be the sole decision maker on how the funds are spent.
“We can narrow the focus on Monroe,” Maur said. “That, to me, was the key. We can make sure all the money raised goes to Monroe residents.”
Think Pink Monroe is totally run by volunteers and no one takes a salary, according to Maur. When people donate, they will know they’re directly helping their neighbors and be able to declare it as a tax deduction.
The annual Think Pink Palooza kicks off a series of events to raise awareness of cancer with several events in October. But this year, Maur said the kickoff will be held in late September.
“We are ready to collect donations and help people year-round — not just in October,” she said.
Think Pink Monroe began as a grassroots initiative and Maur is happy to see it evolve into a nonprofit, helping Monroe residents for years to come.
“We’re thrilled to be able to move forward and give the organization more stability and work even closer with the community,” Maur said. “I feel like we’ve been welcomed with open arms. The public schools, businesses and the people of Monroe have been extremely supportive over the last few years.”
Maur said Think Pink Monroe is looking for more volunteers and sponsors. Businesses and individuals who want to be a sponsor for the fourth annual program can click here for a form.