The Explosion of Goodness
On the evening of October 29, 2013, Aaron, the kids and I were enjoying the Trunk or Treat at Ss Philip and James School when Ellen Cordes called me to let me know that she was in the process of booking a hotel reservation for our first family in need. I was really excited! It had been more than six months since Aaron and I had scored $7,000 to give away, and two nights in a hotel for “Jody” was the first REAL accomplishment of The Kolbe Fund. It felt big.
Getting to that point was long and slow, and Ellen and I were together every step of the way. We met with social workers to determine areas of need. We met with hotels to negotiate. Ellen created an application and a process. We were constantly on the phone with hotels, social workers and EACHOTHER. When we started to understand the lodging need for families traveling to pediatric care, and we became familiar with the stories of those that relied on Kolbe, we knew we had started something far bigger than either of us had ever imagined.
Today, in addition to preparing for our two year anniversary party, Rhythm & Brews, we are getting ever closer to announcing our ONE THOUSANDTH night of lodging! And I am in awe of the explosion of goodness that our friendship has ignited.
Kolbe has grown by leaps and bounds. Kolbe isn’t me. It isn’t Ellen. It’s cultivated by a community of people that give a little to make a big difference. On top of our two employees and dedicated board of directors, we have discovered individuals that are called to act because of their genuine understanding of the needs and struggles of financially disabled families that travel for pediatric care. EVERYONE wants to lessen the burden for these families. And now, through Kolbe, there is a simple and efficient way to do it!
Last week Ellen and I met to discuss our upcoming Rhythm & Brews event. Never underestimate the amount of work this requires. I think Ellen is still seeking therapy as a result of the last time she planned an event for Kolbe (and that was 18 months ago!). We talk about the bands, beer, food, décor, photography, auction items, and sponsorships. And it isn’t long before we realize that we’re just chit chatting about all of the work that EVERYONE ELSE is doing! We are blown away by our progress.
I am really excited to celebrate The Kolbe Fund at Rhythm & Brews. It’s the music, the beer, the food, and knowing that every $100 we make equals one night of lodging. Every pair of tickets delivers you and your favorite friend to a totally great afternoon out and provides us with enough money to deliver a comfortable and hopeful night to a family that is REALLY STRESSED out.
Please take a moment to read about all of the incredible people that are working tirelessly on creating the first major event of the season! This is a committee that’s 100% parent, 50% entrepreneur, 25% artist, and 20% lawyer.
Jason Ostrowski has taken it upon himself to acquire all of the beer contributions for the event. He has reluctantly accepted an evening gig with Kolbe as beer taster, but Jason’s day job - Director of Client Services for International SOS. Jason and his wife live in Lansdale, PA with their two daughters
Lynne Getz is volunteer extraordinaire and has been managing event related social media. We also give her the credit for naming the event. Her passion for The Kolbe Fund is fueled by her darling son, Bobby, who has an extremely rare genetic disorder. She understands the importance of access to medical care.
We have felt particularly lucky to have Stephanie Seal is the owner of Seal Events to help Kolbe with all of our events planning. We have relied on her for advice since our very first event. She’s aided us in securing our bands, helping with ticket sales, and assisting with catering and logistics. Stephanie is cool under pressure and loves the energy of a great event!
Tina Spence is a passionate supporter, and has taken on the role as our Chief Ticket Sales Officer. Tina is a remarkably smart business woman with an eye for baby fashion. If you haven’t already heard about her business Buddha Babe, you either don’t know any babies, or you’ve been living in a closet. (Also, check out this fantastic review in the Philly Mag!)
Melissa Murphy has been helping us with the managing our event sponsors. She works for the US Department of Labor and she’s an extraordinary mother of two. Her daughter’s Williams Syndrome diagnosis has inspired her to work with The Kolbe Fund – as she understands how important access to the best medical care is with rare diseases. (Look at this beautiful video featuring her daughter Rose.)
Carrie Kauffman, is the mother of twins and the owner of Carries Essential Services. The essential service is organization and anyone that has tried to manage a fundraiser knows that silent auction operations required organization! Carrie has been one of Kolbe’s best cheerleaders and she has been a huge asset to us for spreading the word.
Kay Pugh, a young and rising realtor with a winning record of service has been an incredibly enthusiastic supporter of The Kolbe Fund. Kay is always ready to pitch in with great ideas and is helping to plan some of the finer event details.
The newest member of our board of directors is Tamara Grimm. Tamara is an Associate Attorney at O’Hagan Law with a focus on General and Professional Liability. As the mother of a darling little girl, Tamara has been passionate about our mission. We feel particularly lucky to have Tamara’s energy and enthusiasm on the committee to acquire auction items for our event. Wait until you see the amazing items!
Okay, if you’re local and you need your kitchen remodeled, please contact JP Home Construction. Kelly DiJulia is working with us on décor and logistics for the event. It’s important to Kelly that she give back to her community. And with the amazing work that her construction company has accomplished, we are more than confident that she is making a lasting contribution managing this project.
Over the last few months we have enjoyed getting to know Katy O’Gara and Table Tours - a uniquely fun and social dining experience. So could there be anyone better to have on our team to help manage the catering and food?
Aside from being the mother of two, marketing director for Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox , and successful sales representative for Wildtree, Julie Hayes is the wife of Robert Hayes – co-owner of Barbacoa. No doubt very influential in negotiating with our food vendor for the event. We are very excited for Barbacoa to be the main provider of food!
Alison Altman Gross received the Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in 2014 for her work in estate planning and administration, but I think she’s on the fast track to become the Pennsylvania Super Volunteer in 2015! Alison has great experience working with a variety of nonprofits. She’s loaded with great ideas and is always ready to pitch in.