8-year-old girl raises close to $2K for IJM

Ashley Inge
Kennedy McKnight

Kennedy McKnight, daughter of pastor Owen McKnight of First United Methodist Church in Glen Rose, has raised a total of $1,941 for International Justice Mission (IJM).

International Justice Mission works to combat sex trafficking, child sexual assault, cybersex trafficking, forced labor slavery, property grabbing, and police abuse of power, and addresses citizenship rights of minorities.

“When she decided she was going to create a club to help people, I knew this idea wasn’t going away,” Natalie McKnight, Kennedy’s mother, said. “I helped her research different reputable organizations to decide which cause she wanted to support. When she learned that slavery still exists throughout the world, she was adamant that she wanted to support IJM and help give people freedom. She named her club ‘Hope for Freedom’ and immediately started telling her friends about it.”

Two of Kennedy’s friends were interested in joining the club, so Kennedy set up two Zoom club meetings in June and July. She also asked her great-aunt Robin to be her July guest speaker because she had worked with IJM in the past and had visited one of their sites in India.

“The club was originally planning on having some sort of fundraiser in August but Robin shared with them during the meeting that IJM had a donor that was matching donations through July 20th. When Kennedy found out that donations could be doubled, she asked if we could do something before July 20th. That’s when we decided to do a social media fundraiser,” Natalie said.

The goal was originally for Kennedy to raise $200, but that goal was reached within the first hour. They then continued to raise the goal from $300, to $600, to $1,000, to $1,600 to finally, $2,000.

Her club raised $1,896 through her Facebook fundraiser, with another $45 given in cash that was received after the fundraiser closed, for a grand total of $1,941.

“She was blown away by how many people were giving,” Natalie said.

Natalie said the best part about the experience was when IJM posted on their fundraiser page and personally thanked Kennedy for raising funds for their organization.

“When I read her their comment she said, ‘I can’t believe they wrote to me! Mom, that means they know about me and my club! That is so awesome!’” Natalie said.

Kennedy is currently in the process of creating and sending thank-you cards to everyone who donated.

“She is quickly finding out that raising money online was the easy part. Saying ‘Thank you’ to 43 donors is going to require some work!” Natalie joked.

Natalie describes Kennedy as “passionate” and “strong-willed” and wishes to thank all of her friends and family for contributing to a cause that Kennedy cares so much about.

“It has been a beautiful experience to see our community support her (and more importantly, IJM),” she said. “Many thanks to all of you who donated for encouraging our girl and her friends in caring for others!”