#CUJ Every Day

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

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=910728268943829&set=o.1446311608960739&type=2&theater

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

http://joy.giveforward.com/hug-book/

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!

Namaste!

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! 

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?!
Update:
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! 

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?!

Update:

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. 

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!

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!

Home is whenever I’m with you…

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! 

Update: 

"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

image

Well, isn’t that a beautiful tree?! Just makes us want to curl up in a snuggie with a cup of hot coco.