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Jewish Journal

Charities compete for Chase Community Giving prize of $1 million

by Jay Firestone

January 21, 2010 | 8:12 pm

With one day left in the competition, one hundred of the nation’s charity organizations are campaigning to win a big cash prize. Chase Community Giving is offering $1million to the charity that receives the most votes in this latest facebook competition.

Each ‘registered’ voter is given 5 votes to spread across Chase’s 100 preselected charities.  The charity with most votes wins $1million.  The five runner-ups each take home $100,000 (not bad.)

click here to start voting!

Two competing organizations that recently contacted the Jewish Journal are:

Info provided by Chase Community Giving on Facebook.

Camp Kesem

The Issue

Cancer impacts entire families, not just patients. Children of cancer patients lives are turned upside down when the joys of childhood are replaced with fears of losing a parent. Without support, these kids withdraw experiencing low esteem, social & academic challenges. Camp Kesem (CK) provides children of cancer patients with a free, fun-filled week of overnight summer camp. CK campers befriend peers facing similar issues, build esteem & gain confidence to cope with their parent’s cancer. CK is the only nonprofit that serves families coping with cancer while developing the next generation of leaders. College students want to make a difference now, while developing leadership know-how for tomorrow. CK student leaders plan, fundraise, staff & operate CK camps, gaining essential business & leadership experience. With 1.7MM new cancer cases in the US each year & 5,000 colleges educating potential CK student leaders, $1MM will fund exponential CK growth; impacting countless lives forever.

The Plan

Since 2000, Camp Kesem launched 23 camps, empowered 3,600 children of cancer patients & developed 2,000 college student leaders with a passion for helping others. For a decade, the CK model has proven to be repeatable, scalable & self-sustaining. The plan is to accelerate growth to 123 mature CK programs within 3 years; providing life changing experiences for more than 12,000 children of cancer patients & 8,000 college student leaders every year thereafter. The plan has 3 proven steps: 1) PREPARE: CK Program Directors will identify, recruit, train & supervise student leadership teams to launch 100 new CKs; 2) GROW: CK Student Leaders will increase awareness in their college & cancer communities, train new student leaders, recruit new campers & fundraise to maximize the number of campers age 6-16 served annually; 3) SUSTAIN: Transfer knowledge to incoming student leaders, broaden & accelerate community partnerships & fund raising to ensure the long term sustainability of CK nationally.

The Outcome

100% of $1MM in new funding will be invested to achieve 4 measurable outcomes within 3 years: 1) Operate 123 mature, self-sustaining CK programs in perpetuity; 2) Empower 12,000 children of cancer patients annually with life-long friendships, improved self-esteem & self-confidence. Before & after CK camp effectiveness surveys measure levels of camper self-esteem & self-confidence to deal with a parent’s illness or premature death from cancer; 3) Provide leadership development opportunities for 8,000 college student leaders annually & improve programming for the annual CK student leadership conference for active student leaders & CK alumni seeking to stay connected with the CK mission; 4) Employ 10 CK Program Directors (PDs) to facilitate & run CK programs nationwide. PDs are college grads that ran successful CK programs & desire careers in non-profit leadership. $1MM will fund the magical experience of a lifetime for kids of cancer patients & the college student leaders who serve them

The Friendship Circle

The Issue

Millions of families have children with learning, developmental or physical disabilities such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or ADHD. Life takes a challenging turn when their child becomes labeled as “different,” resulting in fear of the unknown and worst of all, social isolation. Most parents wonder: Will my child make friends? Will he be accepted by the community? Will she ever have a job?

Friendship Circle‘s mission is to bring those families back into the circle by pairing their children with teenage volunteers who are taught to acknowledge their friends’ place in society and make them feel part of the community. We provide the individuals with tools to enter society confidently, by teaching them social and life skills within our unique facility. We also provide the community with the tools to welcome these individuals, through education and training. The lives of everyone involved are enriched by experiencing the beauty of friendship, advocacy and selfless giving.

The Plan

Friendship Circle’s Ferber Kaufman LifeTown is a 23,000 sq. ft. building with an activity wing housing eight therapy rooms and a unique 5,000 sq. ft. true-to-life indoor city - Weinberg Village, which operates at capacity every day. Its eight storefronts include a bank, medical office, library, drugstore, theater, and beauty salon. With this grant, we will expand the Village, doubling its facilities and the number of people it serves. The addition will include a copy center and pizza parlor to provide valuable occupational training for adults with disabilities.

We will hire professional educators to train our 800 volunteers to become Ambassadors of Friendship, advocating for respect, inclusion and friendship for all people with special needs. Modeled after our innovative program, there are over 70 Friendship Circles with 11,000 volunteers nationwide. We will share this training with these other organizations to create a global network of advocates for individuals with special needs.

The Outcome

Inside Weinberg Village, individuals with special needs learn essential life skills such as using crosswalks, banking, tipping service people, and more. In time, they gain confidence to transition these skills into their real life communities.

Our proposed expansion of Weinberg Village will result in a waterfall of change for Friendship Circle. Currently, with the help of over 800 volunteers, we serve 2,500 individuals with special needs from 155 different schools. The new expansion will allow us to serve more than 5,000 students annually and add over 500 volunteers. In addition, adults with special needs will be able to utilize the Village for vocational functions such as job application, interviewing and workforce training.

Friendship Circle’s Ambassadors of Friendship will help spread the message of inclusion, respect and friendship in our society, creating a new social norm founded on acceptance and social responsibility.

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