Reed Sandridge, founder of the nonprofit Second Story Cards, first met Anthony Crawford 11 years ago. Anthony was sleeping on the streets in front of the Brooks Brother’s clothing store on Connecticut Avenue and spent his days selling newspapers. Reed started meeting Anthony for coffee every couple of weeks, and what began as an effort to help Anthony soon turned into one of Reed's most consistent and lasting friendships.
One morning, Reed asked Anthony to think about where he saw himself in a year or two, to which Anthony answered that his primary goal was to find housing. On July 15, 2013, Anthony did just that -- he secured an apartment off of Park Road in Columbia Heights, right in the neighborhood of Thrive DC.
Reed saw in Anthony what he saw in many community members who were experiencing homelessness: an entrepreneurial spirit. He embodied many attributes of an entrepreneur, such as resilience, creativity, and adaptability. Reed wanted to partner with Anthony to create something new and had the idea to make greeting cards. Thus, Second Story Cards was born -- and Anthony was their very first card-maker.
The model of Second Story Cards is that those who are experiencing homelessness will receive 15% of sales -- not profit -- for every card they create. While many community members first join the business to gain financial stability, it becomes much more than that. Making greeting cards allows the creators to express themselves, utilize their creativity, and see their creations displayed in stores.
After Anthony made his first card, he burst through the doors of the Starbucks that he'd spent much of his time in and declared himself a card-maker. As a returning citizen and a person who experienced homelessness, much of his identity had been defined by his circumstances and his past -- until now. He was able to redefine himself, to clearly see his self-worth from an entirely new angle.
Anthony created a card specifically designated to Thrive DC because he appreciated our programs designed for returning citizens. For every card that is sold, Second Story Cards donates an additional 10% to Thrive. He also participated in our Morning Program and was well-loved in our community. Anthony's passing this past summer was a loss for so many, and we will always cherish his sense of humor, positive spirit, and resilience. His legacy lives on in Second Story Cards, and we are so grateful for the incredible work they do to form connections through greeting cards.