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.
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!
Holly is the best Grandmother ever!
Why, you ask? Well, she started a fundraiser to help her son after an unfortunate house fire. Among the many things that were destroyed, Holly specifically mentioned to her fundraising coach, Lokesh, that her 6 year old granddaughter lost all of her precious toys!
Lokesh & Kelli immediately thought that sending her a package full of new toys WOULD BE AWESOME and we all agreed. With the help of Holly and a little digging on Amazon.com, we put together a package of some pretty rad Monster High toys because they just so happen to be her favorite.
Does anyone else kinda wish we had Monster High when we were kids?!
Holly informed us that the the package arrived and Hannah LOVES her toys. By the time Holly got home yesterday Hannah had torn apart the packages and had the boxes all over the floor. She said the two dolls we sent are her FAVORITE.
Way to go, Lokesh! You nailed it!
Recently, Wendy Doan was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma. Her treatment requires that she travel from her home in Pennsylvania to The Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago, IL every 3 weeks until treatment is complete. Erika, Wendy’s daughter-in-law and the Team Captain of Project Wendy was kind enough to provide Kelli, their Fundraising Coach, with a few of Wendy’s interests to help put together a “Travel” Package. The package included a few much needed items to help Wendy during her travel and treatment including 5 "To keep in your pocket" charms. The feature item that Kelli was really excited to include can be seen in the images above; Hope - A journal filled with words of strength and courage. This is a place for Wendy to share her own words, experiences, and stories.
Is it just us, or does this winter seem to be never ending? It’s been cold, snowy, and downright gloomy. Luckily for us, we’ve got Snuggies, buzzing computer warmth, and a whole lot of hot chocolate in our Chicago office.
Our thoughtful art director, Elaine, came up with the great idea to share some love and warmth to a few fundraisers on GiveForward. We sent out care packages filled with words of encouragement, hot chocolate, a GiveForward mug, bracelets, and a t-shirt to remind them that summer is only 121 days away!
We are all sending Jeanine, Carla, Gilson, Lucas and Brittany lots of hugs and warm vibes from the GiveForward office!
This November a couple on GiveForward was affected by tornado season here in the Midwest. Their friends started a fundraiser to help them get through the destruction and eminent reconstruction.
What they didn’t foresee is that Danny and Sarah Adams would have to spend the holidays away from home, in a hotel. Their fundraising coach, Michael caught wind of this and decided to send a bit of cheer to make their surroundings feel a bit more like home.
We hope the Christmas decorations light up their holidays!
"Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generous donation. The Christmas tree you sent helps remind us of how wonderful this holiday season is despite all that has transpired the last couple weeks. Without generous amazing people like yourself my husband and I would be lost. We can not thank you enough for this beautiful Christmas tree." -Danny and Sarah Adams
Well, isn’t that a beautiful tree?! Just makes us want to curl up in a snuggie with a cup of hot coco.
Fear Experiment (FE) is a unique, fun way to create community, push oneself, learn something new, and laugh. A lot. Strangers come together to learn an art-form, rehearse for three months, and then become rockstars for a night, in front of 700+ at the famed Park West.
Andrea, a Team Captain on GiveForward, was scheduled to provide the makeup for an upcoming Fear Experiment. Instead of bartering for a tangible form of payment, Andrea asked for help promoting the fundraiser that she started for her cousin, Jadisha. Saya, the founder of Mac ‘n Cheese Productions and the brain child behind the Fear Experiment, reached out to us to see how we could help. Many of us over here at GiveForward collaborated and came up with ways we could all help. Saya wrote an incredible blog about Jadisha and her battle against Leukemia and Andrea’s fundraising coach, Adrienne, sent flyers along with some bracelets to help create some buzz at the event.
The doctors allowed Jadisha to attend the Fear Experiment where she spoke during the show and what happened is inspiring….
"Jadisha was a rousing success at the show on Saturday, she blew us all away with her speech! There was a line of people waiting to talk with her at intermission.
She brought the audience to tears.
All the fundraising cards and GF bracelets were taken, and many of the hundreds who attended learned about GiveForward for the first time.
Since blogging about her two weeks ago, donations went from 9 people at around $500 to 47 people at $3810.
Her cousin (our volunteer makeup artist) sent me this —
I wanted to take the moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping expose my cousins story. Yesterday we raised over 2 thousand and that really meant the world to me and Jadisha’a parents. Thank you so much! I feel incredibly blessed to have met you and how it all worked out with GiveForward. All too emotional as well.
Thanks for your help in sharing and supporting her.
It’s been amazing to see how many people, who have no connection to her, have come forward to cheer lead, financially and verbally.
Chris, Stephanie, and Ethan
just adore how friendly Scott, the neighborhood Streetwise
volunteer, is at Six Corners. He brings a smile to all of our faces every morning. They’ve been conspiring lately to do something special for him and they even came up with a way to let Scott provide his customers with a little CUJ too.
Stephanie asked Scott if we could purchase 5 of his magazines. Once they were purchases, Stephanie and Chris taped Starbucks gift cards inside each one so that Scott could give them out to some cold Chicagoans who needed hot cup of coffee on their morning commute.
Then, they gave him a $10 gift card just for him to keep. He was pretty excited and immediately knew he would buy a sandwich with it when he was done selling his magazines.
Scott also told us that he would be in the next issue of Streetwise for volunteering his time. Be sure to grab a copy!!
With the help of family, Catherine, at just 15 years old, started a fundraiser for her cousin, Jessica, who is battling Osteosarcoma. Not only did she reach her goal of $500 but she held a benefit with 20 of her closest friends where they raised an additional $800.
Their fundraising coach, Kelli, was so inspired by her ambition that she wanted to also do something nice for Jessica. It’s a known fact that she adores any and all things Hello Kitty so she put together a care package full of fun stuff.
Catherine took the time to write to Kelli and let her know how much her generosity meant to them.
"Just wanted to say I just opened your package. And can I say oh my gosh. First of all the bracelets are fantastic. And Jessica’s present is so perfect! I cannot wait to see her receive it. I am so thankful…. This is so thoughtful of you and I’m speechless. The Hello Kitty Bouquet is just WOW. From my whole family, thank you, Xoxo” - Catherin Kluge.
They gave Jessica the gifts on her birthday and it looks like she enjoyed Kelli’s generosity as well :)
I bet you didn’t know one of our fundraising coaches is in a pretty sweet band…
Right before Thanksgiving break Danny’s band, The Future Laureates and Ohio-based, Shrug, collaborated with the Montgomery family to start a GiveForward fundraiser for Mick Montgomery, a local music legend in Dayton, OH.
Mick owns and operates a great listening room in Dayton called Canal Street Tavern and has recently had some unfortunate health problems. Danny’s band performed at the venue’s last official show on November 30th. With some coaching from Ethan and Danny the week before the show, Mick’s daughter started the fundraiser to gain some momentum, which it certainly did as they raised about 3,000 dollars for Mick before the concert event!
The show turned into a tribute to Mick and over 400 people attended to honor him. Collectively, they raised over $1,313 that night!
To see how inspirational the Canal Street Tavern’s last hoorah was, you’ll want to check out these photos captured by the Dayton Daily News.
Members of the GiveForward Team came together in hopes of creating a little holiday cheer for the many men and women of the 1229th Transportation Company who are currently serving our country in Afghanistan. We were able to fill 9 ‘Cheer for Troops’ Care Packages with much needed items as well as a few special treats. The packages serve as a way for us to let our troops know that we appreciate them and are always thinking about them.
As we spend time celebrating with our loved ones this holiday season, it is important to remember our troops who, sadly, won’t be able to do the same. We wish all of our service members, past, present and future a safe and happy holiday!
The GiveForward Fellows decided to create unexpected joy this week by relieving stress, both for themselves and others. The fellows dressed up in chicken suits and pretended to be ‘your math exam,’ prompting those passing by to give them a few whacks with a pool noodle. From there, students were encouraged to write some “complim-art” to a friend.
Be sure to check out the NU Create Unexpected Joy Facebook group; there are a ton of really awesome compliments documented. Students have been tagging the people they complimented through the uploaded photos so that their friends get an extra confidence boost before those tests.
We could spend hours looking through all of these amazing positive affirmations!
John and Allie have been spending a lot of time with the GiveForward Fellows at Northwestern University and of course, they’ve taken quite a liking to them. Who wouldn’t? Have you seen what they’ve been up to? I think it’s safe to say that they’re a group of pretty special people.
Since they’ve been creating so much joy for their peers on campus, Allie and John decided to send them a little pick-me-up during finals week in the form of a Wildcat Care Package that contained Red Bull, apples, chips, candy and a fun NU water bottle.
If you couldn’t tell, Meg was pretty darn excited!
Sometimes (actually quite a lot) the coaching staff receives some unexpected joy and this time it was in the form of the cutest Thanksgiving card ever!
Remember Blazer? Well, after returning to the office after the long weekend, the GiveForward team received a super sweet holiday card signed by Blazer himself. It pretty much made our entire month!
Creating Unexpected Joy doesn’t always have to mean buying something or spending money. A smile can be made simply by being awesome. The GiveForward fellows certainly have this down pat.
The night before Fei was supposed to return to school after the holiday break, she teamed up with her sister to prepare a huge meal for her parents.Talk about some grateful kids!
Brianna had the very same idea (students can appreciate the value of a home cooked meal). The Sunday before she was to return to school, Brianna made her famous pancakes (with the help of her sister). Do you think she’d come in and make those pancakes for us on Coffee Monday?
This one’s a win for everyone… Chenny’s cousin and her husband have been pretty stressed out lately and on top of that they have a new puppy to raise! Her family knew they needed a break so they reserved a table for two at a nice restaurant and Chenny volunteered to watch their new pup (which admittedly, was also very joyous for her).
Ben’s friend, Jack, was scheduled for bathroom cleanup duty recently and Ben knew that he has had a lot on his plate, so he went ahead and did it for him. I know I’d be super relieved!
Megan’s friend, Blake, has a serious allergy to peanuts but he really wanted to help the Happiness Club (um, where was this when I was in college?) with their PB&J event. Megan got a few others to help her clean up so that Blake wouldn’t have worry about his health. Life saving CUJ for the win!
Tom had the pleasure of meeting some new people for this week’s CUJ challenge. He was out to dinner with his girlfriend at a very crowded restaurant when a couple walked in. He noticed that they were going to have to wait quite a long time so he offered up the two extra seats at their four-person table. Jack and Jill (no, really) accepted his offer and were saved from a 30 minute wait!