On November 1st, The ChadTough Foundation officially opened an office. A real office. No longer will our staff meetings be held around the Carrs’ kitchen table. No longer will our other meetings need to be held at our homes, the Saline District Library, Relish Restaurant at The Kensington Hotel, or Brewed Awakenings. (Although I’m sure we’ll still be at Relish and Brewed Awakenings on a regular basis! Yum!)
We are now located at 201 W. Michigan Avenue in downtown Saline, Michigan (formerly Ed’s Bread)! The Saline community gave birth to this foundation through its outpouring of support when Chad was first diagnosed, so it is absolutely fitting to set up shop in the heart of the town. Our foundation has always focused on funneling as much as possible to research, so taking on the expense of an office was not taken lightly. Thankfully, many leaned in philanthropically to enable this big step with minimal impact to our operational costs. Huge thanks to the following for their incredible generosity: David Rhoads, Tribble Painting, Sherwin Williams, SCS Image Group, Herman Miller Cares, The Office Outlet/Company Store, Dell Technologies, and Bose.
Upon reflection of this milestone, I can’t help but sit in awe of the real business we have become. Just about 3½ years ago, The ChadTough Foundation hired its first staff members. There were 3 of us, working just 10 hours a week. (Although I don’t think any of us were truly just working 10 hours a week!) For the most part, we really had no idea what we were doing. I, for one, had never worked in the nonprofit sector before. We (Lesley Hundley, Brandy Breen-Ford, and me) were all led by a desire, a calling, to help a family who was hurting badly and who wanted to turn their tragedy into something good. Thanks to so many of you, the money was coming in. The Carrs desperately needed structure to make the donations work as hard as possible.
Over the next 3½ years, the foundation grew, and grew, and grew. Other DIPG families joined the effort as official ChadTough Family Partners (the Ruddys, the Boivins, the DelVernes, and the Carters). As we needed more help, our staff grew as well. Chrissie Wywrot joined the team, then Bree Arvai, Kristina Behncke, Amy Lepore, Tierra Haynes, Elizabeth Guzik, and most recently, Jen DeGregorio. Some have moved on to other ventures, and some are still with us. But each played a major role in building the foundation to what it is today.
As much as I’d like to tell you the growth came as a result of executing an amazing plan, the truth of the matter is that we spent the majority of our efforts trying to make the most of opportunities placed before us. “ChadWinks” came all the time. And I mean ALL THE TIME! He showed us over and over that he was in charge. He put pieces in front of us when we needed them. He pushed us beyond what we ever thought was possible.
And look what we’ve become! Because of YOU, we will end 2019 likely raising just shy of $3 million, bringing our total very close to $10 million. We have funded research across North America. We have raised awareness of DIPG, the disease responsible for 15% of ALL PEDIATRIC CANCER DEATHS! We have shown that researching better treatments for DIPG is a worthwhile effort. We have witnessed an explosion in the number of brilliant minds choosing to work on DIPG. And we have witnessed a monumental shift as researchers evolved from “There is no hope” to “We expect to find a cure in our lifetime!”
So to all of you who have played a role in fostering the growth of The ChadTough Foundation – volunteering, sponsoring, fundraising, donating … and to the families of our staff members for supporting us when things have gotten crazy – we say THANK YOU!
The ChadTough Foundation is so proud and grateful for the chance to evolve into the next stage of growth for our foundation, and we are excited to see what Chad has in store for us during the next few years.
If you’re in Saline, stop by to check out our new digs! You will almost always find folks at the office on Monday mornings and on Tuesdays & Thursdays around mid-day … as well as randomly throughout the rest of the week.
Thank you always for your ongoing support!