Indiana State University Students Volunteer at One Hope United

Over the weekend, four volunteers from Indiana State University helped out at OHU. They helped out with office work, met with clients for inspiration and even taught Zumba! The group included three President’s Scholars at ISU, who as part of their scholarship, volunteer each semester. This group included Taryn Ash, Dierre Littleton and Madeline Webster, daughter of OHU’s Melissa Webster. Another student, Cyndney Eaton, an honor student and pre-med major, also volunteered.

Dierre said:
“I had an awesome time this weekend. I really enjoyed the experience, and talking with those children. It was one of the best things I ever got to do in life. Being able to talk to people who went through severe things like myself, and show them you’re not alone and you can make it is the best gift I can give to anyone. It was amazing, and also eye opening for myself as well to show that, I was fortunate to turn out the way I did because it could always be worse. But nevertheless it was my pleasure doing all the things I got to do this weekend. You are amazing, and the people you work with are as well. I believe you all make a huge difference in these kids’lives from what I saw. The job you have is awesome. Also can you send a personal thanks to MOMMA CAROL. She is the bomb, and so are Emily, Kayla, and Jim. It would be my honor to come back and help out whenever I am needed, after all I LOVE WORKING WITH CHILDREN. I believe it’s one of my callings in life. I could go on and on but I think I covered the basics. Basically THANKS A MILLION!”

Generous Family Launches Capital Reserve Fund

Paul Earle and Ellen Rudnick take some time at the Gleacher Center of University of Chicago to share their philanthropic plan for One Hope United.

As states’ funding of child care and availability of certain services remain in flux, One Hope United’s work becomes even more vital to improving the future of children and families in the communities it serves.  That is why the agency is honored to have so many committed donors who both believe in the work that it does and continue to generously support its programs and sustainability.  These donors include One Hope United board member Paul Earle.  He and his spouse Ellen Rudnick recently gave the agency a gift of $50,000, one of the largest from individuals in the organization’s history.

“We wanted to focus our gift on the longer-term health of a nonprofit organization,” said Earle. “Most nonprofits live day to day especially when the economy is dreadful.”  The retired Spencer Stuart senior leader  has served on the One Hope United board since 2005, and as he and Rudnick focus their efforts on philanthropy and strategic giving, they have found that One Hope United lines up perfectly with their desire to give to agencies that focus on children and families and to support well-managed, sustainable organizations with great outcomes.“There are so many overwhelming problems in the world,” says Ellen Rudnick, Executive Director and Clinical Professor of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  “We take solace in knowing that by donating to One Hope United, we’re impacting one child and family at a time, right here in our own community.” Earle and Rudnick decided to makeone large joint gift to One Hope United’s Capital Reserve Fund, instead of spreading a number of smaller gifts to a number worthy non-profit organizations.  The couple wanted to make a more resonant impact, and the reserve fund allows the agency to expand and remain sustainable.

“Sustainability is extremely important for the future of nonprofits,” said Rudnick. “Organizations need new revenue models to couple with the social mission of their enterprise.  Nonprofits can’t just rely on grants, government funds and direct mail campaigns to those who have given in the past. As individual donors, we can help set nonprofits off on the right path with strategic giving and guidance.”

Earle and Rudnick said they admired the fiscal responsibility and accountability of One Hope United, but even more important in motivating them to give was the desire to sustain these programs as the state of government funding is uncertain. The majority of One Hope United’s services, such as early education, foster care and child/family counseling, are underwritten by government funds.  As state deficits grow, funding for these programs shrinks.“What’s going to happen to these children down the road when the state stops paying?” asked Earle. “Starting the Capital Reserve Fund helps ensure that the great outcomes currently being achieved by One Hope United can continue into the future.”

Staff raise more than $700 for Florida programs with Webcasted holiday fundraiser

One Hope United Florida Region held a holiday fundraiser as part of office Christmas parties on December 15, 2011. The fundraiser enabled staff to support the agency during the holiday season in a fun way.

The event was Webcasted live from all offices so everyone could meet. Everyone got a chance in front of the camera to introduce themselves and how long they have been with the agency.

Great prizes were donated from the community such as VIP Disney passes, an iPod, a MP3 player, a Rivership Romance cruise and a Holiday wine basket, and each staff member received a personalized Christmas bulb.

“Everyone had a great time,” reported Maria Weber, CQIR coordinator. “And, we raised more than $700 for Florida Region services!”

A record for holiday giving in One Hope United's Northern Region

One Hope United Northern Region had a record holiday of giving thanks to our fabulous donors throughout the Chicagoland area. The combined gift-in-kind value for all holiday donations was estimated at $168,000!

Here are some highlights!

  • 1,757 children received gifts
  • 245 families received gifts for each family member and gift cards for a holiday meal
  • 140 families received Thanksgiving turkeys/hams and food
  • 90 individual donors
  • 63 groups (churches, schools and corporate) donated
  • 13 groups conducted drives for coats, gloves, hats, toothbrushes, toothpaste, books and pajamas
  • 4 holiday parties including: a Thanksgiving Day dinner for the CARE program sponsored by OHU Board member Howard Schnitzer and friends; a Christmas Eve dinner for the CARE program sponsored by the Blue Ribbon Committee Co-chair, Cindy Lusignan and friends; a holiday party for the Busy Bee Children’s Center sponsored by Wildwood Presbyterian Church; and a holiday part for the Kenwood Community Center sponsored by the OHU Auxiliary BoardStaff also distributed 129 thank you cards to donors from the families they sponsored this holiday season. One caseworker shared how a mom cried when gifts were delivered to her family. Her husband was to be laid-off at the end of December, and they had discussed not buying gifts in order to be able to cover the rent and groceries. Some memorable quotes from the client thank you cards included:

    “Thank you. This is the first time Santa ever stopped at our house.”

    “I can’t thank you enough for making my children’s wishes come true!”

    “Thanks for giving me hope and lots of dreams!”

    Pictured: Children at One Hope United’s Busy Bee Children’s Center in Waukegan received holiday gifts at a party sponsored by Wildwood Presbyterian Church, Grayslake.

Family Receives Donated Christmas Gifts From Generous Hudelson Region Donor

A family participating in the Hudelson Region’s Intact program was the recipient of Christmas gifts from a donor who has supported the region for several years. This family is very blessed this Christmas season and had a great holiday due to One Hope United’s wonderful donors!

Walker Memorial Academy provides Christmas surprise for OHU's Sebring, Florida office


The One Hope United office in Sebring, Florida had an unexpected Christmas surprise when they were contacted by Gordan Davis, a teacher with Walker Memorial Academy.  Gordan’s students wanted to sponsor a few of OHU’s foster children for Christmas. OHU staff immediately thought of a child in OHU’s care who was transitioning to living on his own and was in need of items to start his new independent life.

The Walker Memorial Academy students raised $1,200 by paying to wear jeans to school. They purchased items for 11 children in care including this teenager who received a microwave, bedding and needed kitchen items. The students wrapped every gift they purchased and presented them to the staff at OHU to give to the children in need.

One of the teachers from the Academy was moved to tears by our client’s story.  The  Walker Memorial Academy has agreed to assist throughout the year with birthday presents for children in foster care, furniture for other children transitioning to independent living and any other needs identified by the staff.

A big thanks to Walker Memorial Academy!



2011 Fresh from Florida Parade featuring OHU!

One Hope United participated in the 2011 Fresh from Florida Parade on December 31, 2011.

“We scored a touchdown with our unique football-themed float that had the crowds cheering as it rolled by,” said Maria Weber, CQIR coordinator for OHU. “Could have been the candy being tossed to the crowd though too!”

The parade has been a Florida tradition since 1947 and has been the opening celebration for the match-up between two great college football conferences, the Bid Ten and the Southeastern Conference. This year Nebraska took on the Gamecocks of South Carolina.

OHU was joined by a local baton twirling group, the Bright Stars, who completed a wonderful routine to the song, “Firework.”

Thank you to the OHU staff who volunteered for the event: Diana Campbell and Madison, Neika Berry, Rosalyn Thomas and Antwan, Barbara Moss, Maria Weber, Sarah Tunning, Lauren Prekop and Noah, Laurie Stern, Jolene Palazzo and Jazmine, Cynthia Hess-Jaffe and Dillon, Therese Hartwell.

Happy New Year from Bridgeport Child Development Center II!

The children at Bridgeport Child Development Center II, a One Hope United Chicago day care center, had a blast ringing in 2012 with their annual countdown to noon! The kids made New Year’s hats, noise makers and confetti poppers.

At 11:59:50am the children gathered in the center lobby and counted down from 10 to reach (the center’s version of) the New Year. The kids and staff toasted with sparkling ginger ale, laughed and wished each other happy New Year.

“We were so excited to welcome our new school agers to join in our annual festivities,” said Brigette Davis, center director. “The children were so surprised when staff shot silly string at the stroke of noon to add color and fun to the mix.”

Happy New Year! See more photos of the fun on One Hope United‘s Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/1hopeunited

Girl Scouts and community members decorate Houses of Hope for One Hope United

Pictured: Natalie Kaylor, Daena Cruz and Sophie Johnston

More than 175 people from the Lindenhurst/Lake Villa area participated in the Gingerbread Houses of Hope event on Dec. 2 to raise money for One Hope United.

Pictured: Eric Moeller

With holiday music in the background, children, parents and grandparents used buckets of icing to attach sugary decorations to their masterpieces. The gingerbread houses ranged from simple to highly ornate.

This family-friendly event was the idea of the children of One Hope United board member Scott Moeller.

“This is the third year for this wonderful event that supports children and families in need this holiday season.  It started as an expansion from a family tradition,” explained Moeller.  “With many parents out of work and struggling to make ends meet, or perhaps even being homeless, the economy has made it especially difficult on families. Our family thought this would be a fun way to continue helping children in need.”

Pictured: Natalie Kaylor and Jenna Mandel

Girl Scout Troop #40266 co-hosted the event that raised more than $1,800 with all proceeds benefiting One Hope United.  Troop leader Julie Hayes said, “Our girls really enjoyed this service project and thought it was a fun way to kick off the holiday season.  We can hardly wait till next year’s event!”

Walgreens and Lovin Oven Bakery also supported this holiday community event.

Pictured: Brooke Busky, Emma Hockstein and Amanda Hayes

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