[Columbus, OH] December 17, 2019– Celebrating Easton’s 21st year of giving, the Easton Community Foundation will partner with six community organizations for its 2020 Change for Charity program. With more than 100 applications submitted for consideration, the following six non-profits have been selected and will be featured throughout Easton over a two-month period:
The Easton Community Foundation selects six area nonprofits to highlight throughout the property so that Easton’s 30 million annual visitors are aware of each organization’s mission, community impact, and also how to access their services. In addition, the nonprofits receive a portion of the parking meter and ticket revenue to support their community efforts.
Since its debut, the Easton Community Foundation has provided over $7.5 million in financial support to hundreds of organizations that strengthen the central Ohio community through services and programming in the areas of education, health and social services. Its primary community-focused initiatives – in addition to the Change for Charity program – include Cornerstone Event fundraisers for some of central Ohio’s most respected charities, the Easton Community Foundation Scholarships for area high school students at schools including Mifflin High School, Northland High School, Fort Hayes High School, Gahanna Lincoln High School, Linden-McKinley High School and Columbus Africentric and events and partnerships benefiting the community, and local organizations.
In 2019, Easton hosted events for Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX), Pink Ribbon Girls, Boy Scouts of America, The Columbus Foundation, Buckeye Ranch, Harmony Project, Songs for Sounds and many more.
Easton has also served as a site for Canine Companion service dog training, a Pelotonia pop-up store, Salvation Army bell-ringing, and job and volunteer fairs. While Change for Charity provides a unique opportunity for six select organizations, Easton is dedicated to working with the community and creating accessible opportunities to benefit the many incredible organizations Columbus has to offer all year round.
“It is our goal at Easton to support and recognize organizations that are making a significant impact in our community, and central Ohio as a whole,” said Jennifer Peterson, Chief Executive of Easton. “We are fortunate enough to be able to do so not only through providing financial support but also by helping to raise awareness through unique opportunities here at Easton to educate community members on what important work these organizations do. Whether it’s learning about volunteer experiences available through Besa, helping to build with Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio or being inspired by a youth performance or piece of art created at The King Arts Complex, we are truly honored to be able to connect our guests with these incredible organizations.”
Each partner receives a substantial donation through Easton’s parking meter proceeds along with in-kind marketing and publicity opportunities that reach more than 30 million visitors annually.
This is a story that means so much to us here at the Ronald McDonald House this season. Knox Vehrs is home for the holidays after 423 days at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and his family stayed with us for that first year and two months of his life. Recently, his family returned from their home in Wyandot County to drop off a check for $8,400. The donation was for their stay and to pay it forward for future families needing to stay here. But what makes this story even sweeter is how his 9-yr-old cousin Paige (pictured), a member of #4h in Wyandott County, sold her calf and donated the proceeds to Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio! The community was so moved and inspired by her act of generosity, they added to the donation for a total of $4,577❗️That’s nearly $13,000 from the two families and the community altogether. Thank you. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to both families and your supporters!
Where do I even begin, my time here at RMHC has been an invaluable experience. The internship exceeded all expectations and truly touched me in ways that I never knew were possible. At this age, you go into a job thinking of how much it’ll help you and your resume, especially as a graduating senior. It only took me about a week to realize this place would be so much more than just that.
Taking 18 credit hours and working two jobs, I learned the feeling of stress and anxiety all too well this past year. The Ronald McDonald House soon became a place of comfort and ease in the midst of some of my most stressful days. Walking through these doors to a team of caring individuals and volunteers that have so graciously given their time to this mission cures a lot more than you can imagine. The impact this House has on families was made very clear on multiple occasions. On most days I sat in the lobby to get my work done and that soon became the place I experienced the most impactful moments. It was a random Wednesday and to my right, a family walked through the doors with a sigh of instant relief in their faces. I remember thinking about that moment the rest of the day. The next week I saw a family sitting together laughing in the lobby, I’ll never know the struggles that day brought prior to the laughter but I saw the House work it’s magic in giving them that moment together. Weekly, I saw dozens of volunteers walk in and out of these doors putting in time for a mission much greater than themselves. I saw this House create goodness and a love for humanity. Today as I sit here near the exit doors, I see a family with packed bags and smiling faces because they get to leave with a healthy child on their hip. Through all of these subtle moments, I saw the impact this House has made on the lives of so many. I felt the love within these walls each and every day I spent here and always left much better than I came.
The Ronald McDonald House will forever hold a place in my heart, the impact that was made through this experience will last forever. Through my trivial worries I walked into these doors with to the immense distress that families with sick children have felt, I am grateful that we have all found a place of peace within this House.
Thank you to all the families I have met, the team I have worked with and the House itself for giving me the opportunity to witness the magic that goes on inside these walls. Through my internship I learned a lot to help further my career but more importantly, I witnessed the power of love and giving.
For 16-year-old Laci, her medical journey began with back pain that wouldn’t go away. Then an ankle that didn’t appear broken, but she still felt the pain of a badly damaged ankle. Doctors back home in Huntington, West Virginia recommended Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus to find the cause of her pain. This would become a tough journey in more ways than one. It turned out Laci had a connective tissue disorder and a dysfunction of her central nervous system. With both diagnoses, bumps in the road during the trip to Columbus literally caused pain to flare up along the way. What’s worse, is Laci’s family would find themselves making the trip for weekly appointments. Click the image below to hear more from Laci’s mom, Crystal, and how thankful they are for the Ronald McDonald House.
CONTACT: RYAN WILKINS
Brand new fundraiser, the Dean’s Charity Steer Show, raises over $152,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
COLUMBUS, OHIO – What happens when you take a dedicated group of community leaders, well-known celebrities, 4-H youth, and steers? You get one of the most successful new fundraisers in the history of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences vice president and dean, Cathann A. Kress had an idea. Over a delicious hot dog lunch with Leslie Bumgarner, President of Telhio Credit Union at Cap City Diner, they cooked up the beginning of what became the Dean’s Charity Steer Show. Months of planning and coordination, along with strong fundraising efforts, brought together a stellar team from many different areas of specialty.
Elizabeth Harsh, Executive Director of the Ohio Cattleman’s Association helped recruit some of the most talented Ohio 4-H members in the surrounding counties, all who had been working hard at raising prize steers. Each of the 4-H youth were paired with a well-known celebrity from the community, including Clark Kellogg, Clay Hall, Shelley Meyer, and Dean Kress herself. Each team was responsible to come up with a name, t-shirt design, and most importantly, raise funds to support their steer in the show.
The event itself, which took place at The Ohio State Fair, was a smashing success, filling the bleachers of the Voinovich Center. Attendees were able to visit with the steers, celebrities, and 4-H’ers, while deciding which steer they believed was the winner. The prizes awarded were Best Steer, Showmanship, and People’s Choice. After all was said and done, the event generated a whopping $152,000.
“We are so proud to have been able to partner with such a tremendous group of people for this very special event,” said Dee Anders, CEO and Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. “We are so impressed with how generous the community was for this event and look forward to another successful event in 2020.”
Plans are in the works for the second annual Dean’s Charity Steer Show to take place on August 4, 2020, once again at The Ohio State Fair. Details will be announced over the next several months, including this year’s celebrities and opportunities for sponsorship. Details will be made available at go.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.
We wish to thank the many generous sponsors and donors who made the event such a tremendous success. Those sponsors and donors contributing $1,000 and above include the following:
• The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
• Telhio Credit Union
• Ohio Cattlemen’s Association
• Ohio State Fair
• Heartland Bank
• Nick Epifano
• Scott McComb
• Kress Foundation at the Columbus Foundation
• Ohio Farm Bureau
• Farm Credit Mid-America
• Juan Neves
• United Producers
• City Barbeque
• Mastek Sparkman Family Foundation
• Michael, Julie and Connor Erwin
• Juan Navas
• Mike and Leslie Bumgarner
• Fayette Veterinary Hospital
• Robert Steele
• Bill Shaffer
• CFAES Meat Sciences Program
• Gibbs Farms LLC
• Bob and Pat Wise
• Ohio Pork Council
• Ohio Poultry Council
• Todd Alexander
• Leeds Farm
• Price Farms Organics
• Catherine Clark
• Dave Sanders
• Mark Berven
• Stephen Rasmussen
• Bonnie Sutherly
• David Benfield
• Mike Estadt
• Highland County Veterinary Hospital LLC
• Lynchburg Veterinary Clinic LLC
• Virgil & Lee Hamilton
• Kim Davis Insurance Agency
• Deborah Trager
• Peterson Farms
• Susa Sherer
• Greg Trimble
• Richard Theaker
• Tim and Karen Corcoran
• Putnam County Cattlemen’s Association
• Miami Valley Feed & Grain Co. Anonymous
• Wise Show Cattle Lynne Wise
• NRC Farm In Memory of Noah Cox
• AMW Cattleman’s Association
• Hastings Mutual Insurance
How did you do with those single-digit temperatures this morning? As cold as you felt – even after getting back indoors – you can imagine it’s hard to keep warm while hooked up to an IV or PICC line with cool fluids. Some of our young guests even have to travel back and forth from the hospital with those attached.
Meg Smith of Virginia had a son, Gavin, who had trouble staying warm while battling a rare disease for 12 years. When he turned 6, Meg came up with the idea to make warm, fuzzy ponchos for kids who got cold easily because of these kind of line attachments. Wearing robes, sweaters, and jackets while inside is cumbersome and impractical with these lines attached to your body. Yet, these kind of ponchos are are easier for children with chronic illness who frequent hospitals often or for many months at a time.
Megan & Matt Kilan of Norfolk, Nebraska suddenly found themselves making the trip to Columbus where one of their twin baby boys would be undergoing treatment for lung issues in November of last year. As the couple come upon the one year mark of being guests at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House, they took a moment to reflect on their experience staying in the House in a video interview. You can watch the interview by clicking the image below.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, we’re fortunate to have the support of many organizations in the Central Ohio area. One of the comments we often get from folks who participate with groups that come to the House is how much they gain by being here. Meal groups participating in our Team Cuisine program learn new cooking tips. Cleaning groups pick up household tricks for removing tough stains. Some volunteer groups learn tips about making simple household repairs from our team of volunteer craftsmen. Beyond those more obvious gains, there’s also the reminder and appreciation for what you have and just the satisfaction of giving your time. Sharing the love just feels good to the one who is sharing. But the benefits of working at the House can have even more of an impact for special needs students who regularly come to help our House.
For these students, learning even more about life at the House helps them to grow to become their full potential. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio partners with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities in a program called Summer Youth Work Experiences where students get real-world work experience as they help to keep our House in tip-top shape. OOD recently produced a video which follow the work of Max, one of the students that benefits from working at the Ronald McDonald House. You can watch the video here:
Sometimes, the special needs students who come to the House also leave a positive impression on our families and their child patient. Be the One is a program that was started at Walnut Ridge High School by Dawn Heideman, a teacher in the Columbus City School District, after witnessing the impact of tragedy on a student’s life. Dawn decided that she would be the one individual to provide comfort, guidance, and encouragement to students who had experienced traumatic anger, depression, & loss in hopes that those students will be the one person to go on to make a difference in another young person’s life too. The program expanded two years ago to Linden-McKinley High School and now helps 125 students who have been through traumatic life experiences at a young age.
Several times a year, Dawn brings her students here to the Ronald McDonald House to meet families of seriously ill children and to spread joy by hanging seasonal decorations in our large dining room. Last year, her students met with a patient named Orian from Maryland staying at the House. The students and Orian developed a bond after learning that he had been bullied because of his disabilities. Inspired by the Six Word Memoir project, Be the One students were encouraged to write a book of their own experiences for Orian who has been encouraged by the book every day. Read about the Be the One’s gift of the group’s book to Orian in a blog from Six Word Memoirs by clicking here.
It’s the great pumpkin delivery, Charlie Brown! Every year at this time, staff from the Marion Correctional Institution make the hour-long drive down to our Ronald McDonald House to drop off pumpkins. Today, they donated 100 pumpkins. We allow our families to take them home, if they wish, when they check out. Sometimes, they even decorate them before they go. If there are enough, sometime volunteers & staff are also welcome to take a pumpkin home. The idea for donating the pumpkins, grown by inmates at the facility, was the idea of an instructor who taught farming to the inmates. Click the image below to watch a short video about this 15th annual donation.
My name is Alison Wachtman and I’ve recently been hired on to staff here at Ronald McDonald House as an Events Management Assistant. In my role, I manage all of the auctions across our special events while cultivating new relationships with donors and fostering our existing relationships. I began my time at RMHC this past May as an Events Management Intern. As an intern, I worked closely on the 33rd Annual Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic, which raises around over $300,000 each year for the House! This was the largest event I had ever worked on, and it was truly incredible to see our team pull something of such grandeur together so seamlessly. I am extremely excited to be a part of all of our various events in the future and see how each one uniquely comes together.
I am currently a senior studying Logistics at Ohio State University—Go Bucks! You can often see me cheering on my school in the student section at the Shoe! When I’m not rooting on the buckeyes, I love to rock climb—specifically a form of harness free rock climbing called Bouldering. I’ve been climbing for a couple of years now, and I find that it pushes me to work past my fears as I attempt newer and more challenging routes. I am also in multiple sand volleyball leagues all year round, and I’m gearing up for indoor sand volleyball to start soon! Some of my closest friends play with me, which makes the game even more enjoyable.
In the past, I’ve had experiences volunteering with numerous organizations and international work, and giving in these ways has always been a passion of mine. Now, every day when I wake up and come into work I know that my job impacts a mission that is so much greater than myself. Seeing families around the House and watching events raise funds to make their stay more comfortable during such a difficult time is what I hold on to and what makes this job so special.