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With the arrival of the holiday season people are generally more willing to open their wallets to help out local charitable organizations. Over the past year we’ve worked with a number of non-profits in the Chicago area that we think are worthy of your consideration.
I met Cynthia Bathurst at a Best Friends event in which she explained how a kid that sees or participates in violence towards animals grows up to be a much more violent adult. I was then shocked to learn that Chicago has one of the highest instances of dog fighting in the nation. Cynthia and her team lead programs that create safer and more humane communities through education and demonstrated compassion toward animals.
Safe Humane Chicago leads all level of programs, from a kids program that educates grade school children about dogs and how to treat them to an adult program that explains basic care and where to find it. These programs seek to educate an underserved population and provide them with resources that they might not otherwise have.
How you can help:
Safe Humane Chicago is a volunteer organization, but provides many services to the community that cost money. $35 will sponsor training materials; $50 sponsors an ambassador dog; and for $100 you can sponsor a classroom. You can donate on the Safe Humane donation page. If you have time to offer, you can also fill out a volunteer application to help serve these communities.
Kids Fight Cancer is a Chicago cancer charity that hosts charitable events to raise money for kids with cancer. Their mission is to design, develop, and implement oncology activity centers that focus on the psychological needs of pediatric cancer patients in order to comfort their physical pains through education, social interaction, and creative expressions through arts and crafts. They do wonderful things with Children’s Memorial Hospital here in Chicago.
The charity was founded by four time cancer survivor Jim Pesoli, who started the organization 25 years ago. He realized during his own treatments that, although it was hard for him to deal with cancer, he couldn’t imagine if it was one of his children who was suffering.
Pesoli is an inspiration. He told me a story of how during his most recent bout with cancer he met with a group of people and said, “I have cancer, but I am not using it was a crutch.” That pretty much shocked the group and really put things in perspective for me as he told his story. I think about that often when times seem tough. If Pesoli can get through cancer and not use it as an excuse, it makes it easier for me to power through tough days when all I have to worry about is pulling together a proposal.
How you can help:
You can donate any time at the Kids Fight Cancer Donation page. For those who want to attend an event and meet Jim Pesoli they have an upcoming wine tasting event on March 13. The event is at the Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Heights. Cost is $45 per person and includes hors d’oeuvres, over 100 wines, and entertainment. These guys throw a great party so it’s worth your while to sign up early.
Tennis Opportunity Program (TOP) provides economically disadvantaged children with the opportunity to achieve excellence- as students, players, and citizens. Through their efforts they’ve sent a number of kids to college on tennis scholarships. More importantly they’ve helped spread tennis to kids who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity.
How you can help:
Donations are what make the program possible. You can donate through the TOP website. They are also always looking for corporate donors. It’s a great way to get some nice publicity for your business plus an SEO link back to your corporate site.
We had the pleasure of working with the Illinois Technology Foundation on their 50 for the Future event. The foundation supports the development of a technology talent pipeline that begins in elementary school, is refined in high school, and is fully developed in our region’s higher education graduates.
The 50 for the Future event honored the top 50 students within Illinois at the elementary, high school, and university level who are doing truly amazing things. These kids are going to be the future technological innovators of tomorrow’s businesses. In some cases they already have businesses in the start up stage that are primed to do amazing things. With the support ITF provides they will be sure to succeed.
I was blown away at the intelligence and composure of these kids. I consider myself a technical person, but several times the concepts that they had in mind for future innovation were at the limits of my understanding. And these were high school kids.
How you can help:
Building the talent pipeline can take an immense amount of time and effort. You can donate via the Illinois Technology Foundation donation page to support strong technical innovation within the region. The page also has links to several targeted programs such as the “Higher Education Program” so you can make sure your dollars are going to initiatives you support.
Do you have other Chicago organizations that could use some help this holiday season? If so leave them in the comments and be sure to provide links. Hopefully the generosity of the area will continue to lift these wonderful organizations.