In six, short years, Champions for Kids has provided over $500,000 in challenge grants to local and state youth serving organizations. We have worked closely with 58 nonprofit organizations and 232 organizational leaders who collectively serve over 180,000 children in Arkansas and beyond (Kansas, New York, Massachusetts).
Many of our strategic partners are expanding their work to help improve the health and life opportunities for more children in their communities. This means more children receiving eye exams and glasses, dental care, after school opportunities, mental wellness services, nutritious foods, clothing, foster care and adoption, school supplies, life skills and employment training, and perhaps most important, encouragement and support.
This year’s team of Fellows is already expanding their influence in their communities, nationally and internationally. Rene Aubry merged his company with another to form an international investment firm granting millions of dollars as micro grants to small, developing social entrepreneurs. His work now takes him to Cambodia, Thailand, Haiti, Vietnam and to other developing countries. There was a time when he almost quit because “he couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel—hope for his life passion and work.” In his kind words, “Champions was my light during a dark time of year. They kept me going. They provided the support, grounding, advice and encouragement to help me during a trying time. As a result, I am now bringing resources and hope to individuals who are going through their tough times. Champions was my light during a difficult time in life.”
Ozark Guidance Center, a regional mental wellness center that provides counseling and support to thousands of children and families in northwest Arkansas, plans to launch a national mental wellness campaign this year. Their work in the fellows program allowed them to identify a need and opportunity to promote mental wellness as part of a national campaign, bringing mental wellness into mainstream conversation and health initiatives.
The Burlsworth Foundation completed their strategic plan to provide eyecare for low income children nationally, expanding their program across America, providing tens of thousands of low income youth with eye care exams and glasses. Angela Henry has been to congress several times advocating expanded support for low income children in rural communities. Julie Idlet has successfully expanded the Cycle Kids Program to three more communities in Boston and in Harlem, New York. Talia Rivera’s youth have produced a documentary, “Steet Confessions,” about gang life in Boston. This group is working to bring a vision of hope to youth in similar communities by producing a second documentary for elementary school children.
In our past six years, we have developed a flagship program, the Abbott Nutrition RazorFest, to bring attention to the needs of children in Arkansas and provide opportunities for people to serve the youth in their communities. Abbott Nutrition RazorFest, a signature Champions for Kids’ program, is a unique event in the country. Held in partnership with the Razorback Red-White game, this event attracts well over 45,000 people each year to enjoy a free, fun family day with children and a red-white scrimmage with the Razorback’s nationally ranked football team. Last spring, over 60,000 people attended this event and game. The program grows each year in momentum and participation.
Through the Abbott Nutrition RazorFest, we have involved over 9,000 volunteers who have provided well over 105,000 hours of community service touching the lives of over 250,000 children and families who have attended throughout these years. Over 16 tons of food have been collected to benefit community food banks. This year, we will unveil 12 SIMPLE Service card at this event with the belief this will result in people across Arkansas returning to their communities to do SIMPLE Service Projects to improve the lives of children in their communities.
At this year’s Henkel Global Leadership Conference we launched our 2020 campaign: Mobilizing 20 million people by 2020 to improve the lives of children in their communities. To exceed this goal, eleven companies launched Champions for Kids’ first national cause marketing campaign by unveiling 12 SIMPLE Service Projects providing people across America and beyond with SIMPLE projects they can do to improve the lives of children in their communities. Dial; Jennie-O; Disney, Abbott Nutrition; Energizer; All You Magazine; Coca-Cola; Post; Church & Dwight; Elmer’s and Nickelodeon each unveiled a SIMPLE Service Project to raise awareness and engage people nationwide and beyond in SIMPLE service initiatives, providing resources directly to children in their communities.
These companies, in partnership with Champions for Kids, will promote the SIMPLE Service Projects through a variety of marketing and brand channels, utilizing both traditional marketing and social media initiatives. With the national partnerships of Collective Bias, a national social media company, and All You Magazine, a national magazine focused on providing simple solutions to people across America, and in addition to all of our participating companies marketing support and strategies, we anticipate exceeding 20 Million people by 2020.
Finally, this year we celebrated the first launch of our youth leadership initiative, “GREAT Day at the Farm!” More than 200 local teens and Walmart suppliers partnered to create and film SIMPLE Service project ideas to serve youth in our communities. SONY, Premier Concepts, Coca-Cola, Odwalla, Jennie-O and Bedfords Camera & Video sponsored this incredible day at Horton Farms. These teams created their own SIMPLE Service videos, uploading their documentaries to YouTube by the end of the day.
We are thankful for the incredible community support shown to strengthen and grow our initiatives and programs in these first six years. With the support of our corporate partners, we anticipate the impact to soon be catalytic.
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