We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Buskuhl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
FACE Foundation of Texas started with a passion for helping others and a desire to give back to our community. As my children began attending elementary school, I found myself with more free time on my hands, giving me the perfect opportunity to devote my attention to making this life long dream a reality. I began brainstorming ways I could make a difference. I researched the needs of local shelters, specifically those devoted to helping women in need. Time and time again, I found the items frequently requested on these shelters’ wishlists included toiletries. That was my lightbulb moment! I had a drawer at home full of unused hotel toiletries, makeup, and skincare products that I had collected, but refused to toss them out, knowing these products could serve a purpose one day. I placed several of these products in individual bags, neatly tied with a bow, and included an inspiring quote. This was my gift to the women in the Dallas shelters and I wanted the presentation of the bags to express the compassion and concern I had for each woman. The 8 items in every bag provided essential hygiene. Every bag included a body soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, razor, toothpaste, toothbrush and a special and unexpected item, such as a make up or skincare product. These items not only provided basic necessities, but also served as a reminder to every woman that she is seen, loved and worthy! The response we received from both the shelters and the women they serve was overwhelming. The shelters loved the bags. Everything needed was contained in a single bag, making it easy to distribute and helped reduce costs for the shelters. The women who received a bag enjoyed receiving these gifts. Our FACE bags not only provide basic necessities, but also the tools to empower each woman and help improve her self esteem. Throughout this process I discovered that many others, like myself, had similar drawers full of unused products and they were eager to give these items purpose. The donations soon started pouring in and FACE Foundation of Texas was created. It is because of those donations and the support of countless individuals and corporations, that FACE Foundation of Texas has been able to donate 6,054 bags containing over 50,000 products in less than two years. Every FACE bag donated represents a life touched and transformed. The products in each FACE bag, though small, have the potential to greatly impact the lives of every woman that receives one. It is our hope that these bags will ultimately help every women to FACE each day “knowing they are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14).
What should our readers know about your business?
WORK EXPERIENCE/CHALLENGES For as long as I can remember, I have always had a heart for helping and serving others. I knew from a very young age that this was my calling, however I could have never imagined where this passion would one day take me. I followed the traditional path of attending college, securing a job afterwards, eventually getting married, and then beginning a family. Throughout this time, my desire to help others never subsided. I waited patiently for the opportunity to pursue my dream. This opportunity presented itself as my children began attending elementary school and I found myself with more and more free time on my hands. This newfound time gave me the push that I needed to make my dream a reality, ultimately resulting in the creation of FACE Foundation of Texas. In the initial stages of creating FACE Foundation, l felt extremely ill equipped. I didn’t know the first thing about creating a nonprofit, where to start, what it would even take to run and maintain a nonprofit, and more importantly, how to be successful and make an impact. All I did know was that I had a passion for helping others and I hoped and prayed that my determination and commitment would be enough. I researched for countless hours and contacted other nonprofits for information and guidance. Despite various challenges along the way, I knew in my heart that this was my intended purpose, and I chose to faithfully pursue it. There were days when I experienced self-doubt and questioned if I was truly making a difference. At times I was discouraged, however I remained committed to my mission of helping women escaping homelessness, domestic violence and human trafficking in North Texas. I knew there was a growing need and demand for toiletries in local shelters and I was dedicated to fulfilling this need. Hearing the countless stories of the women who received a FACE bag, and their overwhelming gratitude, warmed my heart. It was inspiring to hear the women’s responses. Some women clutched their bag with tears in their eyes, having been given items that they could now truly call their own. Other women immediately tried on their makeup or skincare product, excited to enjoy self-care and some unexpected pampering. The ability to make a difference in a woman’s life made all of the hard work worth it and motivated me to continue my mission. One of the biggest challenges on my journey with the creation of FACE Foundation was falling into the comparison trap. Social media makes it all too easy to see firsthand how other nonprofits, much larger than FACE, are receiving sizable donations, have thousands of supporters, host large fundraising events and showcase the national impact they are making. Instead of comparing FACE with other nonprofits and feeling like my efforts were futile, I learned to remain focused on our own personal goals and accomplishments. I had seen firsthand how we were transforming lives and that gift was priceless. I celebrated every success and milestone we had along the way, no matter how big or small. I recognized that each one was important and played an important role in contributing to the success of FACE Foundation. Rejection was another obstacle that I encountered. I sent out dozens and dozens of emails to potential corporate donors, rarely ever receiving a response. With FACE being a new, smaller, unknown nonprofit, some corporations were hesitant to donate products or just simply ignored my requests all together. I remained relentless and continued contacting numerous companies in hopes of receiving product donations for our FACE bags. My persistency paid off and I was eventually able to acquire the support of several large corporations, and in turn thousands of donations, to support our mission of providing essential hygiene items to help women in need. To date, FACE Foundation has helped over 6,050 women escaping homelessness, domestic violence and human trafficking by donating more than 50,000 toiletries, makeup and skincare products. This success was only achieved after encountering and overcoming self doubt, a sense of inferiority and rejection. Each of these challenges taught me valuable lessons. Facing and conquering these obstacles showed me that I am strong, resilient, and capable of achieve anything I set my mind to. There will inevitably be more challenges in our future, however with continued perseverance and passion there is nothing that will to stop FACE Foundation of Texas from helping more women! WHAT SETS US APART: FACE stands for Fellowship Advocating Compassion and Empowerment. Our focus on fellowship is an aspect of our organization that sets us apart from many other nonprofits. The true joy of helping others is found in the giving. We wanted to share this with others and for them to experience this feeling firsthand! To achieve this, we host FACE bag assembly events where we bring women together, with the common goal of helping other women in need, by assembling gift bags of 8 essential hygiene items. We believe it is important to not only give back, but to participate in serving others firsthand. These events are a special occasion full of fellowship, philanthropy and fun. It is a memorable time for both the women who participate in our FACE events and the women who receive one of our FACE bags. Every bag a woman makes will personally touch the life of another women in their very own community. We have already had numerous FACE parties with groups ranging from Girl Scout troops, to philanthropic organizations, church groups, Birthday parties, gatherings of friends and family, soccer teams as well as women’s events. The possibilities are truly endless!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Dallas has so many great attractions for visitors! Klyde Warren Park is a unique spot that offers great food from the various food trucks that line the park. It also hosts special events and is an oasis in the heart of downtown with views of Dallas’ iconic skyscrapers. The Dallas Arboretum is another must see. Walk throughout the beautifully manicured grounds covered with an array of colorful flowers and native plants. Take in the sights and views of downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake. Have a picnic on one of the lawns and sit back and enjoy the scenery! Stroll in the Bishop Arts District and pop in its unique stores and boutiques. Attend a Dallas Cowboys’ game and watch America’s team play in AT&T Stadium, a state of the art facility unlike any other. A trip to The Rustic for specialty cocktails and sitting outside under the night sky while listening to live music.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The success of FACE Foundation of Texas can be attributed to God and the love and constant support of my family and friends! It is because of their continued encouragement and commitment to FACE, that we have been able to help thousands of women escaping homelessness, domestic violence and human trafficking. A shoutout to Women’s Nonprofit Alliance for providing FACE with the tools and resources to create a successful nonprofit and for their guidance and assistance. A special thank you to Thrive Causemetics, American Airlines and Dr. Bronner’s for believing in our mission and for their generous donations and support.