March Executive Director Dish

March is always a big one for us here at ISF.  Isabella’s 14th birthday would have been March 9th and each year we try to think of new ways to honor her but also do it in a way that is respectful of the day.  I’m always anti-birthday cake and a Happy Birthday song on that day and as many of you know – I stay far away to preserve my own heart.   I personally always think blood drives are the way to go.  What better way to honor a life, than to give a life?  

Our relationship with the Community Blood Center (which will be changing their name to “One Blood”, but same community mission and same team) is stronger than ever.  One of the big things I’m working on this year is defining the meaning of PARTNERSHIP.  I saw a quote once that has just stuck with me…

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”

Our partnership with CBCC is one of our favorites because we believe in each other’s missions and want to do everything we can to make each other a success.  It really is like a family dynamic for us, much like Levine Children’s Hospital.  So what better way to celebrate Isabella, than with our family?  I loved watching the social media from afar (yup, I got the heck out of dodge).  Of course, we have our old school ISF supporters who have been there from the beginning, but I loved seeing the new wave of ISF sitting in those donations chairs.  I know the lines were long and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every single person who took the time to give.  In all, 239 units were collected and 717 lives were impacted.  I mean… come on.  That’s insane.  I truly can’t express how much this personally meant to me. My goal is to one day have a 500 unit drive and I’m thinking 2020 is our year. 

Speaking of the blood center, my Marketing Director Rachel Wood and I boarded a plane for DC last month as I was honored with a national award from the American Blood Center.  It was such a humbling experience receiving the Larry Frederick Award for our commitment to raising awareness for the need of blood donation.  Larry was there to introduce me and watching him raise a picture of my daughter on stage to a silent room really broke my heart.  Larry was so touched by her story and the people that we met that evening were amazing.  Thank you to Marin Grable and his team for the nomination.  It really was a beautiful evening.

Right off the plane and right into the Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving.   Speaking of great partnerships.  Boy, do we appreciate our Jersey Mike’s partnership!  The team did such an amazing job of spreading the word and wow did our supporters deliver.  Last year we raised just over $135,000 and this year we blew it out of the water raising just over $167,000 for ISF.  The owners of Jersey Mike’s and their staff rocked it out that day in their Cancer Messed with the Wrong Team shirts.  You had to be living under a rock to not see your social media channels flooded with subs.  We love partners in the community like this who understand the importance of giving back.  What an impact they made in one single day on top of a giving month as well.  Unreal.

As you know, one of my other philosophies at ISF is to “Work Smarter.  Not Harder.”  For this reason in 2019 we really narrowed our focus to Charlotte.  We dropped some of our expansion events that were successful, but lots of work and travel.  Instead, we are looking to grow our reach in the Charlotte community.  I feel like the impact we are making here in Charlotte at Levine’s over the next 5 years should be something every single Charlottean should care about – so we are focusing on you.  And not to mention what having a successful nation-wide known rare pediatric cancer program in our city… who and what that will attract.  Simply put, we are working to help make our city better.  For that reason, our May event calendar is slammed.  

Our traditional Coffee for Cure events are being revamped.  As a non-profit, it is important to keep those events new, current, and relevant.  So we have a host of events coming up in May geared around Moms.  Cancer Moms are handed one crappy deck of cards in life and the amount of time they have to spend keeping their children alive doesn’t leave much time left for them to also find a cure for their disease.  So we are working in their honor in the month of May and letting you know how Cancer Messed With the Wrong Mom.  We are not only supporting the Moms who are fighting for children but also funding research so desperately needed for their rare cancer patients. Take a look at the May Garden Parties and let us know if you want to join.  So many of you understand the importance of what we are doing and we need your support.  Attend the events if you can, bring a friend to introduce her to ISF, donate in honor of a Mom, donate in honor of a child.  We just ask that you do something with ISF in May to make a difference.  These kids (and Moms) need your help.

Also, all of these May events have expenses associated with them and we would LOVE to cover them through the generosity of sponsorships.  Thank you to Pure Intentions Coffee who will be providing coffee for all events! Owner, Matt Yarmey, is on our Board of Directors and takes his role in our Charlotte community serious. We love how he has jumped in to help us make a difference. If your business is looking to get in front of the amazing philanthropic community of women in Charlotte, please email me, I would love to talk to about how your business can become a “partner” of ours.  You know we believe in growing great partnerships!!!  

Whew!  That was a busy month!  I feel like I say that every month though.   We hope you all have a wonderful spring break this month and come back energized for the big May events we have coming up at ISF.  And again, thank you for all the support you provided in March that allowed us to have one our best months to date.  You guys are the best. 

Erin (Isabella’s Mommy)