Read about other winners of North Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Community Philanthropy Awards.

In a crisis when all seems to be lost and the future appears daunting, people reach out for a something tangible to cling to and provide comfort as they rebuild their lives.

Amid the chaos of the recent fires, Mikayla Butchart seized the opportunity to apply her skills to benefit those personally affected.

Mikayla completed her masters degree program in Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and had just moved back home to Santa Rosa when the fires hit in October.

Her specialty is illustration as narrative. She was inspired to create the symbol of Santa Rosa’s hope in the form of hands clasped together to form a rose-shaped pin she named “Roseilience.” This image conveys a message in ways that words cannot adequately portray.

Her concept drew attention. She found herself having to gear up production to respond to demand and seek licensing arrangements as sales skyrocketed. Her company of one had to recruit the help of friends and family to process growing orders.

The initial pin design expanded to include totes, stickers and T-shirts. Her project generated over $35,000 for fire relief from sales proceeds, in addition to $25,000 she raised on her own.

Mikayla’s nomination for a philanthropy award came from two sources, from Benjamin Jacobsen, head roaster at Flying Goat Coffee, and from Rhonda Lindsey, a psychologist and behavioral health manager at Kaiser.

“My neighbors, Pam and her husband, were in my driveway at 2 a.m. Oct. 9 with what belongings they could grab,” said Lindsey. “Their home was gone. It was a race for life and safety. As a psychologist treating traumatized parents and children, I’ve witnessed their stories and resilience. Mikayla was compelled to do something unique. She channeled her talent to raise funds and make a difference while creating meaning for residents impacted by the fires. “

She said Pam won’t talk much about her loss, but wears her “Reseilience” pin everyday to help visualize a positive future for her life.

“We’re grateful for Mikalya’s heroism as she continues to work tirelessly to raise funds and give hope to those in Santa Rosa,” Lindsey added.

Read about other winners of North Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Community Philanthropy Awards.