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Thinking about starting a foundation? Let’s chat! I have had so many ask me about how I started my foundation, so let me share…
For years we, well I, thought about starting a charity foundation, and many discouraged us. It was when we decided to do a bowling tournament with Jamie’s teammates in Seattle, for a cause we cared about, that we started our foundation without much of a game plan. Starting the foundation, we wanted donors to trust us and trust where their money would go. We surrounded ourselves with a loyal, dedicated staff to help us with our mission, and we gave away most of the money we raised to programs helping kids. Our board wanted us to be more specific with our cause, but I couldn’t, I cared too much about kids and ALL kids! Of course there were headaches in the beginning with the politics of running a business, running a nonprofit, BUT one thing remained the same…. our passion for helping kids. It’s contagious!
After several years of growth, we made a big decision to move our main foundation office to Philadelphia, another city helping us make a bigger team to make a bigger difference. We created a national board of experts in the real world to help us with strategy and finding funding. To date, we have raised over $26 million and are looking every day for more money so we can help more kids! We used to have a lot of annual events and now we just have one BIG one. I am always hoping for money to fall out of the sky so we can help more kids.
Through the foundation, I founded Camp Erin, for children in bereavement, and Camp Mariposa, for children living with a family member suffering from addiction. These camps are national! Camp Erin is 43 strong in the US and Canada, and Camp Mariposa is 30 strong in the US. New camps are added every year. We can react quickly when a tragedy strikes, like Sandy Hook in Newtown, and put Camp Erin there to help. We recently had a documentary made, that was aired by HBO, and we won an Emmy! More conversation around grief is now happening. Our next film is on Camp Mariposa! We are breaking the cycle of addiction, focusing on an age group that is forgotten. Powerful stuff! Still so many need our help! I have committed my life to this mission. I want to help the camper become the best version of themselves with our support and the support of like minded programs!
I used to go to work every day. I ran the foundation as Interim Director during a time of transition. I am NOT afraid to ask for money, and I lobby for the camps on Capitol Hill! I love these kids like they are mine and I will fight the fight until I die. I am actively involved and always thinking out of the box.
This was my dream. I used my athlete husband’s platform to collaborate with people who cared about the same thing…kids! Jamie has always supported it, BUT no doubt I walk the talk every day and am leaving a legacy for kids who need our help! I want to help you do the same! SiSterhood! Everyone has time, talent and or treasure! What’s your passion!? Make a difference! You Can!