Friday, July 2, 2010

Giving Bears, Kids and Heroes

Let me tell you about Kids Are Heroes. Hands down one of the most inspiring non-profits I have come across, ever. Kids Are Heroes is an organization started by a, then 9-year-old, named Mary Margaret. The goal of the organization is to empower children to become involved in philanthropy. Kids join the organization and become a  "hero" whereby the organization writes about their philanthropy and helps support them in their cause.
When I saw on Twitter a message from Gabe O'Neill, the dad of Mary Margaret, asking followers to help promote this organization through their blogs, I jumped in with a big, big yes! 

I first started on Twitter right around the time when Gabe set up a separate blog and a separate Twitter account to help others with advice on how to use Twitter. His goal was to find a means to support his non-profit through his workshops. When I e-mailed Gabe directly about some questions I had about Twitter, he replied immediately with great advice-several times. I have been following their progress and seeing their organization grow. Even when they have acquired over 20,000 fans, Gabe continues to answer every Twitter message, or email personally.

Yet, I have a commitment here to write about business philanthropy and so I searched for the tie-in. I didn't have to look very hard to find stories about businesses that have jumped in, one way or another, to support Kids Are Heroes. Gosh, if I had come across these stories without knowing about Kids Are Heroes first, I would have wanted to write about them anyway.
Last winter Kids are Heroes approached a business in Gettysberg, PA, Boyds Bear Country. Boyds Bear Country is a store in a huge barn based on the theme of teddy bears, and other animals too. In fact they claim to have the world's largest teddy bear. They have lots of activities and events and have a theme park atmosphere to their operation. So, on June 26th, Boyd's hosted the first ever "Kids Are Heroes Day, which featured 11 of the kids heroes, an inspirational speech and show with special guest stars, ex-NFL star Levar Fisher and ex Super Bowl champion, Devin Wyman. This event was such a huge success that it inspired Gabe to approach the FSK Mall for a Kids Are Heroes Day in Oct.
Is Hersey's Park next? How about Disneyland!

Another partnership that came out of the ranks of Kids Are Heroes was with a gaming company CTI Digital. See:A Heroic Opportunity  They were looking for a young “gamer” to come out to Los Angeles for three days to demonstrate their newest “gadget” at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and they were looking to Kids Are Heroes to help promote the event. One of their heroes, 8 year old Ricky Springer races go-karts to raise awareness and funding for a unique disease that he suffers from. Ricky and his family agreed to go to LA and have the opportunity to demonstrate one of the new games, which happened to be CTA Digital’s brand new Inflatable Race Kart for Wii!! This gave Ricky exposure for his cause and both he and Kids Are Heroes received donations from CTA. What a perfect cause match here!
What is meaningful and important about all of this is that non-profits need to seek out opportunities for partnerships with businesses that have some relationship to the non-profit's purpose. This creates a benefit to the business as well as to the non-profit. Business are thrilled to support causes that they love, and who wouldn't  love Kids Are Heroes. But if they can't make the connection between their business and the cause, the partnership is not going work.

That being said, Kids Are Heroes has just posted their coporate sponsorship offer on their website. It's a great opportunity for a business to get exposure through their website. 

Oh by the way, in case you are scratching your head at the grammar of this post's title, I recommend that you read the book, "Eat Shoots and Leaves". This is an entertaining, (truly) and very illuminating grammar book that explains the proper usage of commas and how their placement can affect meaning. Nobody ever accused me of being a great grammarian, so I'm not sure whether I meant "giving" in the title to modify all three nouns and whether it's a verb or an adjective.

You, the reader may take it any way you choose. Either way I think you'll get the point. Giving is great whether you are a bear, a kid, a hero, or a business.

1 comment:

Gabe O'Neill said...

Thanks for posting this Lalia. I'm always trying to come up with "out of the box" ways of supporting Kids Are Heroes. It's awesome when I find a business that has the heart and forethought to be involved with us. It's truly a win-win situation for us both.