#CUJ Every Day

Hakuna My Tatas Party!

You know those people who light up a room upon entering, the ones with contagious smiles that remind you how beautiful life can be? That’s Jessie Guth, and Ariana, our Director of Business Development, is fortunate enough to call her a friend.
5 days before Jessie’s mastectomy, Ariana was invited to attend a party for Jessie to help say good bye to the old, welcome the new, and cheers together to heath, new tatas, and good friendship. 
Ariana wanted to add a bit of humor and lightheartedness to the event so she enlisted her baking guru co-worker, Erica, to whip up some cupcakes. The next day a room full of GiveForward ladies and gents gathered in the conference room to make those cupcakes resemble nipples. 
Impressive, huh? 
The cupcakes were the TALK of the party. Everyone loved them and used them for some slightly risque photo ops :)

The page raised $10K in just 24 hours and is now over 23K. Jessie’s surgery went really well! She might not even have to undergo chemotherapy treatments.

A little bit of leftovers go a long way!

Chelsea and Ariana assembled “sack lunches” made from the leftovers after our last team meeting. They shared them with the homeless in our neighborhood of Wicker Park.

The two asked a few older men if they wanted lunch and they were very grateful. They saw another older man sleeping and left a bag for him to find when he woke up and then they saw some of the younger train travelers that usually camp out on the corner. Ariana heard one say “I think those girls are handing out free food,” so they walked up to them they and were so excited when they heard the food was breakfast burritos!


It only took 40 minutes out of their day and the good deed allowed GiveForward to avoid wasting valuable food as well as feed 12 people! 

Whitney, our Marketing Manager, passed around a birthday card for the entire team to sign for Danny, a 5 year old who only wanted a box full of birthday cards for his birthday. She found his wish on Twitter, and asked all of the GiveForward Ambassadors to send him a birthday card as well. 
I wonder how many he actually received!!!

Whitney, our Marketing Manager, passed around a birthday card for the entire team to sign for Danny, a 5 year old who only wanted a box full of birthday cards for his birthday. She found his wish on Twitter, and asked all of the GiveForward Ambassadors to send him a birthday card as well

I wonder how many he actually received!!!

When our staff pays it forward…

This month, Caiti, our Project Manager came across a fundraiser that she just had to support. 

We often flood each other’s inboxes with inspiring, funny, adorable and sometimes heartbreaking stories from our fundraising pages. One particular email came to Caiti’s inbox for a fundraiser, Team Cohen, that was trying to get 23 people to donate just $5 so that they could hit their goal of $5,000. They called it ‘The $5 difference.’  

After reading the story of Cohen’s premature birth and the medical after-math she decided she wanted to be a part of making that difference for the Grant family and guess what? They did it! The fundraiser raised over $5,000 and has 49 days left! 

The Mother’s Day Giveaway winner saying ‘thank you’ as they begin their journey!! 

William Rivera donated to a The Steven Jimenez Memorial Fund last May and was entered to win a $10,000 trip of a lifetime for his mother. William was awarded the prize and was able to take his mother on a trip to see her family in El Salvador while stopping in Miami and Vegas on the way back. 

"I just want to be able to give my mom the world.  She’s done so much for me and I just want to give her everything." 

- William Rivera

Isaac's Bucket List stop to Niagara Falls


Isaac has Stargardts Disease, a rare form of juvenile macular degeneration. He is 10 years old and will be legally blind by the age of 15. 

He’s created a bucket list and is spending the next five years crossing off the amazing things he wants to see and experience. 

What’s on his list?

  1. New York City & The Statue of Liberty
  2. Niagara Falls
  3. Washington, DC & The White House
  4. South Dakota & Mt. Rushmore
  5. Cardinals game in St. Louis

Kelli, their fundraising coach, noticed that they planned to take him to the Statue of Liberty this last June so she found out how much it would cost and pre-paid for their tickets to the statue.

We recently received a video of Isaac crossing yet another event off of his list - Niagara Falls. Click for the video!  :)

Hug Books full of love & support


If you didn’t already know, GiveForward partnered with the Wisdom of Others so that we can compile all of the heart-warming and joyful comments that are left on fundraising pages in a brightly colored hardbound book. Our Coaches here are just so excited about them that we’ve been Creating a little Unexpected Joy by sending a few out ourselves. 

After all, who doesn’t want to read how much people love them on a regular basis? 

This month here are a few of the lucky people who received a surprise hug book in the mail: 

Lacey Holsworth - #KISSITCANCER

You may have seen this story in the news due to Lacey’s relationship with Adreian Payne of the Michigan State Basketball team, but it was definitely a fundraiser we followed very closely & touched each and every one of us personally. Coaches Michael and Kelli as well as co-founder, Ethan chipped in to purchase a hug book for Lacey’s family after she passed away.

She received so much love that we sent 4 books full of 1,054 contributions and messages of support to her family. 

Sean and Becca Lewis - Sean and Becca Lewis Fund 

The Lewis family suffered a tragic loss this March and their coach, Lokesh wanted to make sure that they remember all of the support they have in the days to come. He sent their Team Captain a compilation of all the hope and love in a multi-volume hug book along with a beautiful memorial candle. 

It means a lot to me that you’re going to send the book—I’ve been trying to put something together, but it’s not very pretty! The hardcover book will be beautiful. And I know Sean and Becca will cherish it…They have been very heartened by people who are strangers who reach out to them. It affirms that something about the world is still good, even though they lost their girls.

- Maureeb Benes

Chemo Kit!

Fundraising Coach Adrienne reached out to Jan, the recipient of a GiveForward fundraiser to see how her fundraiser was progressing. Jan mentioned that she was feeling a bit under the weather while going through treatment. Adrienne came up with the great idea to brighten her day with a Lacuna Loft Chemo Kit, a basket chock full of the essentials for patients going through chemotherapy. We’re sending Jan lots of healing vibes from our office in Chicago!


When our co-founder Ethan wanted to surprise his wife at her yoga instructor certification, we were so game. Who doesn’t love a little midday warrior pose? Thanks Brittany for the awesome and relaxing workout! 

GiveForward x Dell Tablets

This winter GiveForward partnered with Dell and Mozzaz so we could create unexpected joy for some Chicago kids at a local therapy center, Leep Forward.

The children at Leep Forward have developmental disabilities, something that often makes them struggle with expressing themselves, even with the most basic of needs. Since GiveForward has seen first hand how powerful technology can be in people’s lives, we knew we wanted to do something special. The collaboration resulted in the development an app to help the children communicate, created by Mozzaz of course, and donated tablets for every classroom from Dell.

… and then we created the magic! We participated in a fun scavenger hunt for the kids and documented our journey along the way. Just wait for the special surprise that the kids found at the end.

Check out the awesome video below! Major kudos to the dream team of Whitney and Ariana, who were instrumental in bringing this idea to life.

Create Unexpected Joy, Episode 2 from GiveForward on Vimeo.

Every super hero needs a cape…

It’s official, GiveForward now has our own super hero and his name is Crosby Goff (total super hero name, right?)

Unfortunately, super heroes aren’t immune to cancer and Crosby is currently battling leukemia. His family and friends are giving him the strength he needs to fight this battle by supporting his online fundraiser. Michael, a fundraising coach, knew that Crosby needed just one more thing to win this fight: a customized cape.

I think this surprise didn’t just give Crosby wings, his parents sent Michael this wonderful note:  

We DID get a cape by mail along with a lovely note but no return address. It was tough to say thank you without knowing who sent it to us so thanks for identifying yourself as the masked crusader of awesomeness! Please consider this email our collective note of appreciation.

I’m not sure who you talked to but I assume it was probably our ring leader, team captain and Goff Fountain family savior Leah Westwater. She has been amazing and awe inspiring in setting up this fund for us as we are definitely not used to being on this end of the giving/receiving cycle. Crosby’s cancer diagnosis has been an incredible life altering event for us and we will be forever grateful for the gifts, love, and support received on the GiveForward site.

Masked Crusader of Awesomeness? That’s Michael for ya!