Friday, December 12, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Carousel of Possible Dreams continues
to spin gold for youth-focused charities
Festival of Children Foundation’s innovative fundraising vehicle
has raised nearly $2 million for more than 50 nonprofits nationwide
An innovative fundraising vehicle for youth-focused charities continues to move around and around and around, spinning gold in life-changing ways for nonprofit organizations in 50 states.
The Carousel of Possible Dreams, launched five years ago by the Costa Mesa-based Festival of Children Foundation, has raised more than $1.85 million for 50-plus charities involved in causes ranging from autism to the homeless to Down syndrome.
And all that money has been raised through one of childhood’s joyful and magical activities: riding a carousel.
The latest fund-raiser, on the King Arthur Carrousel at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim on Nov. 5, raised more than $246,000 for 10 Orange County nonprofits that serve children. Riders got pledges before the event with the promise of completing 50 revolutions on the carousel. On the day of the event, they had a chance to make calls for more donations between rides.
“Today, we just ended homelessness for 32 kids --- just in time for the holidays,” said Jennifer Friend, chief executive officer of Project Hope Alliance in Costa Mesa, as she watched riders take spins in Fantasyland before Disneyland opened to the public.
“This is really powerful,” Friend said of the Carousel of Possible Dreams fundraiser.
The Nov. 5 event, the second to be held at Disneyland in as many years, raised about $52,000 for Project Hope Alliance, whose mission is to end the cycle of homelessness through educating children in partnership with schools and by moving homeless families out of motels and shelters into affordable homes of their own.
For Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, a leading business professional and children’s advocate in Orange County, the latest Carousel of Possible Dreams --- the 12th to be held since 2009, at such venues as Central Park in New York City and the Eden Palais, a spectacular 19th-Century European Salon Carousel housed at the private Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills, Ill. --- underscored the success of the foundation she founded in 2003.
“The Carousel of Possible Dreams has opened up a whole new donor base that has allowed charities to tap into donors who can’t afford tickets to fancy galas,” said Daniels, whose family developed the world-famous South Coast Plaza shopping destination and brought culture to central Orange County with the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and other acclaimed performance venues.
Daniels, who has a grown daughter, created Festival of Children Foundation after she recognized the need to bring together a variety of youth-focused nonprofits so they could better collaborate and achieve their different missions and goals.
The Foundation, whose logo is --- what else? A colorful carousel --- provides programs and services to its 500-plus member charities in 50 states, helping corporations and individuals find opportunities where their support can make the most impact in the areas of arts and culture, social services, health and wellness, education and development, and the environment.
“What’s been really rewarding is watching people get together every year and collaborate together,” said Eileen Daniher, director of programs for Festival of Children Foundation. “We didn’t know when we started back in 2003 what we’d become, but we are very gratified with what we’ve been able to achieve thus far.”
A longtime advocate for children, Daniels personally covers administrative costs of her registered 501(c)(3) organization so 100 percent of the charity’s proceeds directly benefit programs and services that improve the lives of children.
The recent Carousel of Possible Dreams fundraiser at Disneyland was the third and last such event this year.
On Aug. 23, at the Sanfilippo Estate outside of Chicago, riders raised $201,421 for three organizations: Ronald McDonald House Charities Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Little Angels.
Daniels herself rode on the famous Eden Palais, smashing her fundraising goal of $2,500 by raising $11,596. Little Angels raised a total of $62,416.
The Aug. 23 event was the third in which the Ronald McDonald House Charities Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana has been a recipient, CEO Doug Porter said. The carousel rides have raised a total of about $400,000 in those three years, Porter said --- money that went toward a new Ronald McDonald House in downtown Chicago and toward a fifth house scheduled to open in January 2015.
“I think it’s a very unique fundraising vehicle, and the riders just love it,” Porter said. “For me, it provides one of the few opportunities I have to engage in peer-to-peer fundraising in which I reach out to my own network of friends who do not have to be physically present at some event to help support a very worthy cause.”
On Sept. 30, one charity --- Friends of Cathryn, in Laguna Beach --- was the sole recipient of more than $600,000 raised by riders on the carousel inside South Coast Plaza.
Friends of Cathryn is named after neuroblastoma survivor Cathryn Giusto, 11, a fifth-grader at El Morro Elementary School in the Laguna Beach School District who was diagnosed with the cancer in November 2008.
Susan Giusto, Cathryn’s mother, launched the charity in 2009 with the mission of achieving new approaches to neuroblastoma treatment and broader support for kids who come down with the disease.
Giusto met with Daniels in April 2014 and was shocked when Daniels told her that all of the proceeds from the Sept. 30 Carousel of Possible Dreams would benefit Friends of Cathryn.
“I was blown away,” Giusto said. “Sandy gave us this amazing opportunity and we are forever grateful to her and Festival of Children Foundation,” said Giusto, whose daughter’s prognosis is good. “I felt incredible personal satisfaction at being able to raise this money and help bring some sanity to the world of childhood cancer.”
Cassady Taylor, executive director of marketing and public relations for Festival of Children Foundation, recalls recruiting people on the day of the first Carousel of Possible Dreams in early 2009 to raise funds.
“In 90 minutes, we raised $85,000,” Taylor said, noting that the funds raised at that debut event were more than enough to cover a shortfall of $80,000 in a $300,000 campaign that began in the holiday season of 2008 for 10 charities that competed with many more to have their “possible dream” realized.
The Carousel of Possible Dreams has been successfully spinning success stories for children’s charities ever since.
Moving forward, the plan is to hold two Carousel of Possible Dreams fundraisers each year, Daniels said.
At the Nov. 5 event at Disneyland, the wizard Merlin got the action going at 7 a.m. --- three hours before the theme park opened to the public.
“Can you feel the magic in the air?” Merlin said as he rallied the troops. “Stop staring at me. Move it. There’s money to be raised.”
One of the riders at the Disneyland fundraiser was actor John Schaech, whose big-screen credits include a leading role in “That Thing You Do!,” the 1995 film that marked the writing and directing of debut of beloved Hollywood actor Tom Hanks.
Said Schaech, who secured pledges totaling about $3,000 for his carousel ride: “I love the ‘dream’ aspect of this fundraiser, and what better place to create magic and help children than the Happiest Place on Earth?”
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
|The Carousel of Possible Dreams returns to Disneyland park's King Arthur Carrousel on Wednesday, November 5th |
to raise money for 10 youth serving organizations in Orange County.
King Arthur Carrousel at Disneyland park will serve as a spectacular backdrop for Festival of Children Foundation's signature fundraiser we call 'The Carousel of Possible Dreams.'
The early morning event will take place before Disneyland park opens to the general public and benefit 10 Orange County nonprofits that serve children:
Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim
Child Guidance Center
Down Syndrome Association of Orange County
Festival of Children Foundation
Girl Scouts of Orange County
Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County
Orange Children & Parents Together
Orange County School of the Arts
Project Hope Alliance
TACA - Talk About Curing Autism
Each organization has assembled a team of riders, ready to take the reins and raise money for their organization.
Riders are currently soliciting donations online at www.festivalofchildren.org/disneyland2014. On November 5th, they'll continue to make calls for donations between revolutions on the carousel, with the hopes of meeting or exceeding their goal. 100% of the money the riders raise will go directly to the nonprofit organizations.
The rider who raises the most money by 5:00 p.m. the night before the event will win a weekend stay at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and four Disneyland Resort Park Hopper tickets compliments of the Disneyland Resort!
Friday, October 10, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
|Festival of Children Foundation founder Sandy Segerstrom Daniels |
poses for a picture with 50 NCAM Youth Ambassadors at this year's National Child Awareness Month
Youth Ambassador training in Washington, D.C., held September 16-18, 2014.
In honor of September's National Child Awareness Month (NCAM), YSA (Youth Service America) and Festival of Children Foundation engaged 50 outstanding teens and young adults from across the nation to serve as NCAM Youth Ambassadors, leading service projects which will create positive change in the lives of other young people.
The NCAM Youth Ambassadors receive a national-level platform for their cause or issue-area, with support from YSA and Festival of Children Foundation. In addition to funding this program, Festival of Children Foundation also provides each NCAM Youth Ambassador a $1,000 grant to support the development of a youth-focused service initiative; ongoing training, project and technical assistance support; and networking opportunities with other NCAM Youth Ambassadors across the country.
"These teens and young adults are the future of philanthropy. They understand the importance making a difference and giving back. Festival of Children Foundation's collaboration with YSA allows us to give these kids the tools to create a powerful youth network that will create lasting change across the country," said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, founder and executive director of Festival of Children Foundation.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Festival of Children Foundation is pleased to announce that the United States Senate has designated September 2014 as National Child Awareness Month (NCAM). Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) co-sponsored Senate Resolution 503, which passed by unanimous consent on July 16, 2014 designating September 2014 as National Child Awareness Month. September 2014 marks the 7th consecutive year for the designation.
"Nonprofits and charities in our local communities play a critical role in helping our children succeed. They help children learn, improve access to health care and aid in the development of skills needed to live happy, healthy lives. I'm pleased the Senate unanimously designated September as National Child Awareness Month to remind us that children are our future and we all play a role in helping them thrive," said Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The history behind the recognition of NCAM can be attributed to Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Founder & Executive Director of Festival of Children Foundation. Sandy has been diligent in raising awareness of issues facing youth across the country through the local, state and federal political processes.
NCAM is meant to raise awareness for all children's charities nationwide. The four guiding principles of NCAM are:
Nurture one child, that's all it takes to make a difference.
Children are the future of philanthropy. It's our responsibility to teach them the importance of sharing and giving back.
Actions speak louder than words. Find a children's charity that's important to you and get involved.
Many hands make light work. So join forces with those who share your goals and dreams.