Pink Lemonade Project has a new look.
That goes for both the organization and its actual office space. The Vancouver-based nonprofit that works to support breast cancer survivors officially named Meaghann Ande as its new executive director this month. Ande, 32, succeeds Brittany Pratt in the position.
One of the first things Ande did was repaint the nonprofit’s office. It was a little too pink, Ande said, so she spent a Saturday painting the walls a warm gray. A friend and muralist from Portland will add paintings of pink lemons in the future.
Ande also learned that day just how devoted Pink Lemonade supporters can be, since a couple of very active volunteers showed up to help her paint.
“The people who support Pink Lemonade — the board, the committees, the volunteers — are people who are very, very invested and give a lot of their time to supporting the organization, more so than I’ve seen at other organizations,” said Ande, who lives in Vancouver with her husband, Nick, and sons, Erik, 12, and James, 6.
Ande has been working in the nonprofit world for about a decade, most recently with Share in Vancouver. But Pink Lemonade promised her an opportunity to return to work that has a personal connection.
You Can Help
• To volunteer with Pink Lemonade Project or to help sponsor events, email Meaghann Ande at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 360-952-3814.
Her grandmother died of breast cancer in the late 1980s. Her stepfather died of metastatic prostate cancer in 2003. And her mother had a recent fight against uterine cancer, which is now in remission. After her stepfather’s diagnosis, Ande’s mom started a cancer advocacy organization in Carson City, Nev., where she’s from.
“It’s kind of all been interwoven into my life over the years,” she said.
Ande spent time helping with her mother’s advocacy group, which made her “start to see the effects cancer had in a broad scope, not just on the actual individual, but on the family members.”
“It gives me more insight into the experience. It gives me the heart for the work,” Ande said of her experiences. “Because I’ve seen (cancer) from beginning to end I recognize the process. I want to have those conversations around what does that look like for each individual, because no two cases are the same.”
Combining nonprofit work with cancer patient support was the perfect professional pairing for Ande.
“When you work in development and fundraising you’re selling an idea, not a product,” Ande said. “And the people who buy into that idea are working together to make something better, whether it be homelessness in Vancouver or support services for breast cancer patients. They’re working to make the world better collectively. I think that is what drives all of us who do this work.”
Currently Pink Lemonade’s staff consists of Ande and Rachel Apodaca, the event and volunteer coordinator. Ande said there are plans to add a third staffer soon. Some coming changes to the organization include new programming around how to communicate with children about a parent or grandparent’s cancer diagnosis, and more programming for caregivers. Ande is also looking to create more partnerships within community organizations that have a similar focus.
“There’s a big investment on the board level in cultivating new programming, particularly as regards to caregiving and children,” Ande said. “So there’s some exciting changes coming to our programming as well as revamping some existing programming to make it better.”