Nationally, the staff and volunteers of the Sunshine Foundation have worked very hard to continue to answer the dreams of deserving children in this financial climate. Specifically in Florida we have accomplished the following:
· The KPMG Workday was the largest work project in the history of the Dream Village with over 100 employees participating from around the globe in painting and landscaping projects.
· For a fourth year, the Honeywell and Rebuilidng Together workday engaged over 80 employees from North and South America and Europe working on constructing Phase One of our Therapeutic Riding Center.
· More than 75 local special needs children from Karen Siegel Academy and Loughman Oaks Elementary visisted the Dream Village facility for field trips.
Our top goals for the upcoming year are as follows:
· To continue to increase funding and to grow our events at the Dream Village to include new business sponsors.
· To build a state of the art Equestrian Center and Fishing pond at the Dream Village that is completely ADA accessible. To expand the number of cottages with a Fort themed area.
· To reach our $2 million annual goal to be able to fill our cottages at the Dream Village on a weekly basis with the 200+ children on our national waiting list.
· Answer the dreams of 50 additional children next year which will cost $200,000.
· Build relationships with new children’s hospitals to identify children in need.
· Add a therapeutic riding center and fishing pond at the Dream Village which will cost $500,000.
· Charter one additional dream lift costing $100,000.
Other areas of concern include increasing public relations impressions, adding new corporate and foundation donors and building better business relationships.
The Sunshine Foundation is a grassroots, $1.698 Million national organization answering the dreams of 250-350 children and 650 family members annually throughout the United States. The organization is well known and acknowledged by numerous prestigious awards including the President Ronald Reagan Volunteer Action Award, the Father Baker Award, the Jefferson Award, the Honor Medal, the Great Friend to Kids Award and the City of Philadelphia Award.
The Sunshine Foundation was also the first non-profit to bring attention in 1980 to then little know Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome hosting Annual Progeria Reunions for 27 years. Since initiating Progeria awareness, numerous other charitable foundations have been established to offer hope, support and medical directives to care for this devastating illness.
Granting a dream or a wish for a child with an illness is not traditional medicine and there are no formal studies conducted by medical professionals or researchers to track its purposefulness on a child’s path towards wellness, independence or recovery. However, the Sunshine Foundation staff, volunteers, donors and board members can see the success of our programs and services in the stories and accounts of the children and families we serve.
For example, in 1981, only one in five children survived cancer. In that year, Chrissy was just five years old and suffered from Leukemia. The Sunshine Foundation granted Chrissy’s dream to visit Disney World and meet Minnie Mouse. Bob Dotson, a well-known NBC Today Show correspondent followed her story and accompanied her and her parents on the trip. Twenty years later in 2001 he did a follow-up story and discovered that Chrissy had survived her cancer and was a 24 year old mother of a little boy named Sebastian. Bob reunited her with Bill Sample and in the segment she credits that her dream visit to Disney was the turning point in her battle against cancer. She believes she survived the disease because of her trip.
The Sunshine Foundation has thousands of other stories just like Chrissy’s. Recently, a seven year old girl named Shea who has cerebral palsy received her dream come true vacation to the Dream Village and the Florida theme parks. Her favorite part of the entire trip was the ADA accessible swimming pool where for the first time in her life she discarded her walker and crossed the pool on her own more than 100 times. Her parents had been trying to encourage Shea for months to transition to her crutches but she refused. The trip made all the difference in the world and now she has started working with her physical therapists to transition to crutches entirely.
Joey is a nine year old boy with Down syndrome. He is mostly non-verbal and doesn’t communicate with his family beyond hand signals. He went with his family to stay at the Dream Village last year and spent several days exploring all of the Disney parks. On the car ride back from their final day in Florida, Joey spoke and said “Yes, yes, I'm happy.” His shocked parents looked back at him and asked Joey to repeat himself. He said again “I'm happy.” The trip to Disney World encouraged the young boy to speak up and say a few words. He continues to try and verbalize more and his parents are so grateful that they heard their son say a few words that truly described how he was feeling.
Granting a dream or a wish for a child with an illness is not a part of traditional medicine. However, it often becomes an integral part of a child’s path towards wellness, independence, stability or recovery. The Sunshine Foundation has many accounts on record from parents and children who attest to the power of a few days away from doctors, hospitals and treatments. It can make all the difference in the world and the staff proudly pursues its work on behalf of children every single day. We project:
We gather this information via exit surveys that the families complete on their last day. Staff uses this information to help shape future programs.
All of the families we serve are struggling financially and must have a combined family income of $75,000 or less. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion or gender and 45% of the children we serve live in homes headed by a single mother. Some 44% of the children we serve are at 100% of poverty according to the 2011 annual Federal poverty guidelines.
We measure our outcomes using exit surveys, letters of thanks from the families we serve, and anecdotal information. This information is used to evaluate and strengthen our programs for the future and the families that we will serve in years to come.
The See the Sunshine in Every Child education program is still under development. However, the goal of the program is to encourage others to treat children with disabilities or chronic illnesses with more respect and compassion. The program which will be launched in September 2012 will include a marketing and public relations component as well as a hands-on learning curriculum appropriate for school children.
Still under development.
Having worked in the print/direct mail and sales promotion industry for over ten years, Kate began her career with the Sunshine Foundation twenty years ago. In an administrative capacity Kate worked with Sunshine Foundation’s President, Bill Sample, to set up the Florida office while the construction of the Dream Village took place in Florida. Ten years ago Kate moved back to the Philadelphia area and assisted Bill in the restructuring of the PA office which is the headquarters of the Sunshine Foundation. Kate has served as Administrator for the past ten years.
On July 1, 2009, Kate was offered and accepted the role of President of Sunshine Foundation. Having previously been involved in the day to day operations of the Foundation, Kate has the knowledge of the interworking of the Sunshine Foundation that is needed to grow this unique non-profit organization into the future which ultimately entails answering more dreams of the chronically ill, seriously ill and physically challenged children Sunshine serves.
Kate has over the years earned over sixty credits of various coursework that is relative to the work she performs at Sunshine Foundation. Kate continues to acquire educational credits in those areas that will benefit the duties she has in her role as President of Sunshine Foundation.
Nicci Yu is a resourceful, dedicated, senior leader with more than 10 years of experience in Program Services.
Ms. Yu began her career in non-profit in September, 2001 as the Program Services Coordinator for Sunshine Foundation. In addition to her role in coordinating the special dreams and Florida theme park requests under Sunshine Foundation’s main program, she also worked directly alongside the Founder/President Emeritus, Bill Sample, in coordinating an annual Progeria Reunion for children located internationally, diagnosed with HGPS (the rare aging disease); and bi-annual one-day trips to Florida for severely disabled children under the Foundation’s Dreamlift program.
Pamela Vasserman, MSPP, Director of Development, has been working in development and public policy for over 10 years. She has worked on various policy issues, but mainly working within the human services sector.
Pamela is a senior level development/public policy professional who has formerly worked at New Jersey Association of Community Provides, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the National LeioMyoSarcoma Foundation. Pamela has been a finance director for numerous campaigns that transcended into development/fundraising associate and director positions. She has have also been a senior research associate working on various public policy issues in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and also national policy issues dealing with security, energy and education.
Pamela holds a Bachelor’s Degree fromTemple Universityin Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy fromDrexel University with an emphasis in non-profit management, development and government affairs.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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