In our June 30 Donors are the nonprofits of the future post, we wrote about “donor” Pamela Abdallah and one of her charitable “vehicles”, the Salvation Army, and how the Salvation Army is best described as a supporter of Abdallah rather than Abdallah being a supporter of the Salvation Army.
Today we introduce you to America’s “next great nonprofit”: 8-year old Abby Enck, and her charitable vehicle, Lutheran General Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.
Plenty of elementary school kids run lemonade stands during the summer. Few turn those lemonade stands into charitable franchises that help sick kids.
But 8-year-old Abby Enck found a way to use her refreshing entrepreneurial enterprise to bring some color into the life of her 6-year-old brother, Cameron, and his cohorts at Lutheran General Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge. Cameron was born with Cerebral Palsy…
Cameron was diagnosed with the disease when he was just one week old. Big sister Abby has accompanied him to almost all of his appointments and noticed that the kids at the hospital liked coloring.
So when Abby made $4.50 from selling delicious lemonade to neighborhood locals, she decided use the money to buy 36 boxes of crayons for Cameron and the other kids at the hospital.
Alright, so far so cute…but read on:
When 2010 rolled around, Abby thought she could best last year’s donation. So rather than sling lemonade on her own, she created “lemonade kits” that consisted of a bottle of water, a packet of lemonade and a homemade tag that explained her goal. Abby made 52 kits and recruited family and friends to help sell them for $1 each.
The franchise idea turned out to be crayon boom-town, and Abby has been able to purchase 869 boxes of Crayola Crayons so far this year. She hopes to make it to her goal of 1,000 boxes in the next few weeks.
Now, here’s the payoff:
“What’s special about this donation is that she took it upon herself and made it personal,” said Lutheran General’s communications manager, Nate Llewellyn…
It doesn’t hurt that the kids at Lutheran General love using the gifts.
“Coloring is a great creative outlet for kids,” Llewellyn said. “It helps them work through any issues they may be going through and take their mind of metal or physical pain. It really creates a sense of home, safety and comfort for them.”
Becki said Abby handled the whole operation herself. She created a to-do list, compiled a list of family and friends to whom she planned to reach, designed a company logo on the computer and came up with a slogan: “If life gives you lemons, COLOR!”
The whole experience has been good for Abby and Cameron.
“She used to be very shy, but this is really bringing her out of her shell,” Becki said. “She wants to share and this is something exciting that she can be recognized for.”
Abby says the best part about making the kits is buying and donating the crayons. When her mother asked what she had learned from the project, the 8-year-old replied, “Everybody can make a difference.”
So through this process Abby has experienced personal transformation, as have those she helped. Her project is more than salutary; it has made a demonstrable and significant impact. Next year she plans on moving up to giving away DVDs. The article doesn’t say why, but one presumes it is as a result of Abby growing in her personal knowledge of and ablity to impact the cause.
Now, the question every nonprofit should be asking with regard to its “nonprofits of the future”–that is to say, its “donors”:
How is Lutheran General Children’s Hospital supporting Abby? And how can they grow in their support of her in the future?