Thursday, April 8, 2010

CDH Fundraisers, Research, Grants and the future of CHERUBS

Note from Dawn:

Dear Members and Friends,

We'd like to welcome to our Fundraising and Grant Committees, Gina Cappola Della Porta!   Gina is an experienced grant writer currently working for a local university's research department.  She is now heading up our  Fundraising and Grant Committees and working on several events and grants.   She is a volunteer but our goal is to hire her full time in the near future to secure funding for CHERUBS and all of our services.  In the month she has volunteered for us, she has secured the Angel Ball, helped us find funding for the Save the Cherubs Campaign and started an NIH grant collaboration with Mass General for CDH research.   Gina has no personal connection to CDH - she saw a post about our charity and felt guided to join our cause through the goodness of her heart.  She is an angel!  Such an angel that I hesitate to post her last name because we know she'd be targeted by other charities and who could blame them?!   But Gina has worked with us and we know she's dedicated to helping CHERUBS and cannot be swayed!   We are so very excited and grateful to have her on board!  :)

CHERUBS has done a lot over the past 15 years with limited donations and only volunteers who are busy working other jobs and/or taking care of their cherubs or grieving their cherubs.   I, myself, have donated over 25,000 hours to CHERUBS through all sorts of life's hurdles including taking care of a very handicapped cherub and then losing him at 6 yrs old and during my own grief - and while working another job and running my own company.   CHERUBS deserves 100% undivided attention by people dedicated to our services and research for 8 hours every day!   We can only do so much with a volunteer staff.  It's time to move forward and to expand!    It is time for a full-time staff.  Let me make this very clear - donations will NEVER pay for salaries at CHERUBS, even though that is common practice at most charities.   Salaries will be paid for by grants or designated funds.  

Our goal, through our various projects, fundraisers, donations, Congressional Bills and grants, is to have an office, 3 full-time employees, and all 5 CDH funds full by the end of year, with a focus on more support services, financial assistance to families and $100,000's to CDH Research.   It's a big goal, but we've done more and gone farther than anyone thought a group of CDH parents could!   We won't stop helping CDH families and searching for the cause, prevention and best treatments of CDH and with a full-time staff, we can do so much more!!!!!   

Our dream (shared no doubt by all CDH families) is that by 2025, we hope to fund the nation's first CDH hospital complete with surgery, ECMO, in utero treatments, research, long-term care clinincs, genetic research, feeding clinics, support systems, financial aid and rooming for parents and siblings at the hospital so they remain together - staffed by the country's CDH leading experts.   CHERUBS wants to do for CDH what St. Judes does for Pediatric Cancer.   How much will that cost?  An astronomical amount of money!    Yes, we dream BIG, but we're determined and focused and I believe that we have the volunteers, members and CDH researchers to make this dream come true!

That's the BIG focus - the 25 year plan - but we still have our current services, CDH support, CDH research and CDH awareness to focus on too!   We need help to do all that we want to do and to do so much more!   We are working on MANY projects and fundraisers to fund all of our services and are always on the lookout for more CDH fundraising ideas and volunteers! Any ideas?

We have an on-line store, sell bracelets, books, CDH Awareness kits, cookbooks, calendars, 1000's of items through Cafepress and Zazzle. We've had events, formal balls, golf tournaments, car washes, 5k's, car shows, road rallies, raffles, etc. 

What else can we do? Ideas?

We like to be ORIGINAL at CHERUBS! :) We like to be respectful and we don't like to infringe on other charity's ideas (CDH charities or local charities), we like to lead the way! We're creative here and love watching other charities learn from our ideas. But it's hard always coming up with new ideas!

We are in an area in NC that has A LOT of charities who all have a lot of events! Repeating or holding the same event or fundraiser = competing for donations... we won't do that. And we have 2 Ronald McDonald Houses that have many events that we are very respectful of (selling shirts for nights, dinners, walks, games, etc). We also don't like to do events or fundraisers that could mislead people or not sell enough tickets so the prize isn't so big, etc... that's hard in this economy! Plus, we're in the Bible Belt, we have a lot of laws and rules on fundraisers in NC that a lot of states don't, which makes it harder. And with the economy as it is, we don't like to sell expensive stuff... our $50 Angel Ball tickets are as high as we go... and attendees get A LOT for their money! Like I said, it's HARD coming up with new ideas!!!!

We also have programs and events that are NOT fundraisers... just services to help families and raise awareness, such as our CDH HOPE totebag project, Adopt a Hospital project, Save the Cherubs Project and our CDH Conferences.

If anyone has ideas, please let us know! And PLEASE join the fundraising committee!!!! :) 

Thank you everyone for supporting CHERUBS and CDH Families!

Dawn Williamson
CHERUBS President & Founder

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