Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Schlieve and Holly Aldredge.
Holly and Parker Aldredge lost their first born, their daughter Olivia, in February 2015 at 38 weeks. She was born sleeping due to unknown causes.
Katie and Max Schlieve lost their first born, their son Hudson, in May 2015 due to an umbilical cord accident at 33 weeks.
Throughout their grief journey, they were connected by mutual friends. What began as a lunch to sit face to face with another mother who knows this type of loss and pain, turned into a friendship and the One Wing Foundation began.
As people go through grief, there is a stage you reach where you feel called to do something. To create purpose and make beauty from ashes. Katie and Holly reached that point about the same time and they turned to what they knew best – philanthropy. They wanted their babies, Hudson and Olivia, to live on through them and create a legacy of love for them by giving back to the community of loss they had found themselves to now be a part of.
With Katie’s career in fundraising and events within the non-profit sector and Holly’s professional expertise in marketing and graphic design, together their strengths gave them what was needed to establish the One Wing Foundation.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think with any kind of start up, you run into hiccups. The two of us have been driven by passion – we do this for our babies. The time and work we put into this is how we parent Hudson and Olivia. We don’t have them here with us, instead we hold them in our hearts.
The grief road is constantly evolving and while one month you can throw yourself into all the work that needs to be done to make One Wing thrive, there are moments that the grief or just life in general can be difficult and you need to take a step back. Since the time we launched One Wing, we have both gone on to have babies after loss. One Wing Foundation is our passion project and outside of that, we both have full time jobs and employers/clients who count on us, and we have our full time jobs of being wives to our husbands and moms to our little ones (Katie has Hadley and Hannah who are 22 mo. and 5 mo.; Holly has Jack and Cole who are 2.5 years and 1 year).
We lean on each other, strengthen and build one another up as partners in One Wing Foundation, and give each other grace and permission when needed. The passion to continue to honor Hudson and Olivia, to provide for the community of loss we so intricately know, it drives us and we make it all work because of what it represents.
One Wing Foundation – what should we know? What do you guys do best?
One Wing Foundation’s mission is to raise and distribute funds to non-profit organizations within Texas who provide the medical, physical and grief recovery needs to those who have or will endure pregnancy and infant loss.
Through our events, generous donations, and our Care Box initiative, we are able to grant these non-profit organizations the funds that allow them to continue to serve this demographic with their much-needed services that help bereaved individuals heal. (For more information or examples of funded organizations/projects, visit https://www.onewingfoundation.org/beneficiaries)
We are so proud to be able to support these organizations and touch the lives of families like our own. Our Care Box initiative is special to us. The original boxes were filled with items we received from others in those early days of loss that helped us. Each year we lovingly curate these boxes filled with self-care and grief expression items that will be gifted to a family who has lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. These boxes are assembled by volunteers (many who are mothers of loss themselves) at the Hudder Putter Classic. This outreach has really helped spread the word about One Wing and given us the opportunity to connect with those recipients, letting them know they are not alone and we are here for them. Because of that, we are launching a new peer-to-peer program, connecting mothers and fathers newer in their loss journey with those who have walked this path before them. What we’ve found is that it is so helpful and healing to connect with someone who has a similar story to your own – sometimes the more similar your story is to someone else’s, the more helpful it can be to talk with them. We’ve been doing this unofficially for over a year now, and have the structure to make it a priority and initiative to offer others.
We are also able to act as a fundraising conduit for families who would like to do something special in honor or in memory of their baby. They can raise money through us to go to a specific organization that pertains to pregnancy or infant loss. We’ve been growing effort and look forward to helping more families raise money through us for a CuddleCot in their baby’s memory or to support a pregnancy or infant loss organization that is meaningful to them.
We didn’t want to create something just to create it. It was important to us to serve a true need because only then would it be sustainable. As we continue to form and grow relationships with those we can support, it’s obvious to us just how needed these funds and initiatives from One Wing Foundation are.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to us is being able to fulfill our mission – which in turn allows others to fulfill theirs. We didn’t know what was realistic when we first started, and each year, we do worry that the further we get from our own losses, will we still receive the same kind of support from those who have helped us get to this point? And each year the answer has been – absolutely… and then some.
In fundraising, it’s hard not to align success with dollars raised – after all, that’s what we are here to do – however, it goes beyond that. There is success in the heart of what we do which goes beyond money. If we are able to be a comfort or to provide hope and healing to a family who has had to say goodbye to their baby – that’s success. If we are able to introduce a grieving mother or father to an organization we’ve forged a relationship with through our grant process and that organization can help them in their grief journey – that is success.
Pregnancy and infant loss is difficult because the causes for it are so nebulous. There’s so many different types. Unfortunately, we cannot stop it from happening, but we can provide for it. If we can provide for it, however we are able to, that is success for us.
- Care Boxes are a $50 donation
- Tickets for our events range in price – our final event, our Wine and Dine, will be held on November 8. A 5 course meal by Grace Cafe with expertly paired vintages from Deutsch Family Wines. Tickets will be $125 each.
- Various ways to become involved either as an event sponsor, an attendee, a peer-to-peer mentor/mentee, a volunteer, or a donor.
- Website: www.onewingfoundation.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: onewing_foundation
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OneWing/
Lori Wilson Photography, Ren Morrison Photography