A Word From Our Executive Director
"The Good Stuff"
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of the finished projects that are a direct result of Webkinz Foundation grants. After researching and contacting organizations, reviewing proposals, dispensing funds, discussing details and time lines, and then waiting... this is “the good stuff”. Every foundation manager wants to know that the money they donate is well spent and ultimately makes a positive impact on people’s lives. It was very gratifying to be able to see that first hand.
The Webkinz Playroom at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto ON has been complete for a few months. During the week of September 28-October 4, Webkinz Foundation was honored as “Donor of the Week” from SickKids Foundation. That gave me a good opportunity to visit the hospital with Dana Kosich, the talented and generous designer who volunteered her time to design the room, and Rocco Romeo, the Art Director who is responsible for the wonderful Webkinz graphics on the walls. The Webkinz Playroom is beautiful, and is loved and appreciated by both patients and staff. It was gratifying just to see the kids playing in the room – the giant “Thank You Webkinz” poster was an added treat.
On October 24 I traveled to Denver CO for the launch/ribbon cutting ceremony of the Mobile Blood Donor Mobile that Webkinz Foundation bought for the Children’s Hospital Denver. It was nice to finally meet the wonderful people I’ve been working with for almost a year on this project. The hospital is very impressive – it is only three years old, and services eight surrounding states. The new mobile unit allows the hospital to collect blood for patients instead of having to purchase it. According to the staff in the Blood Donor Center, it also makes their jobs much easier – something I didn’t consider, but an added benefit of the bus.
The following week I went to Newark NJ for the launch of a Mobile Medical Unit the foundation bought for the Children’s Health Fund. With their fleet of over 50 Mobile Medical Units, CHF provides high quality health care to medically underserved children across the United States. The bus sponsored by Webkinz Foundation is the first to have both dental and medical facilities in one unit.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony representatives from CHF, The University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey, and Newark government officials spoke of the thousands of children in Newark living below the federal poverty line, without access to regular health care. The new Mobile Medical Unit introduced into the community will provide high quality health care to many children who would otherwise be untreated.
Fall also happens to be the time many grant recipients provide their donors with update reports. I’ve recently received a report from Seva, about the eye clinic in Malawi partially funded by a Webkinz Foundation Caring Valley grant. The Caring Valley grant given to Operation Smile supports medical missions providing surgeries for children with cleft palates, and the training of medical professionals in over 11 countries.