As 2020 draws to a close, we’re feeling fortunate and grateful — fortunate that we’ve been able to continue doing what we love in these uncertain times, and grateful for the selfless dedication and steadfast resilience of every health care professional and front-line worker.
Despite the limitations and challenges of a year unlike any other, 2020 delivered plenty of silver linings, too. Here at Hogan Design & Construction, a few of our brightest moments came by way of “sharing random acts of community kindness” through Project Hope.
Project Hope is a monthly HDC program that aims to highlight the work of a specific charitable organization and boost its effort through increased awareness and monetary support. Here are the stories we told — and the missions we joined — this year:
Did you know that 570 million children around the world live in extreme poverty? Since 1938, ChildFund International has been working to create “a world in which every child realizes their rights and achieves their potential,” regardless of the circumstances they’re born into.
By connecting individual sponsors with a child in need, ChildFund International strives to give deprived, excluded, and vulnerable children the kind of ongoing support that helps them realize their potential. In January 2020, we began our sponsorship of Joseph (Josy), an 8-year-old boy from western Kenya.
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the very first anti-cruelty / animal welfare organization in the United States. Through a century and a half of leadership and growth, it’s become one of the largest and most effective humane societies in the world.
In February, HDC supported ASPCA in its goal to rescue, place, and protect animals affected by homelessness and cruelty. Learn more about our beloved four-legged family members — and support our ongoing Rock Star Pets Campaign for ASPCA — here.
Feed My Starving Children
Humanity may be more advanced than ever before, but humans are still plagued by the same devastating conditions: poverty and hunger. Without a doubt, children bear the brunt of these all-too-common problems.
Around the world, an estimated 6,200 children die each day from preventable complications related to undernutrition. Heartbreakingly, hunger is responsible for nearly half of all deaths in children aged 5 and younger.
In March, we chose to shine the Project Hope spotlight on Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), an organization that HDC has been honored to support for three years and counting.
FMSC operates from the belief that “hope starts with food,” and that food assistance is vital for “transitioning individuals, families, and communities out of chronic hunger and poverty and into self-sufficiency.”
In April 2020, the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and closed down schools across the globe. Here in the United States, where millions of children rely on the public school system for an education and sustenance, many kids were suddenly missing out on one, two, or even three meals a day.
Making a monetary donation isn’t the only way to support #SAVEWITHSTORIES and keep kids fed and focused — you can also take part by recording, posting, and sharing your own virtual storytime with the masses.
TriCity Family Services
For more than half a century, the team of mental health experts at TriCity Family Services has made it their mission to be the “leading provider of counseling and other mental health services to clients of all ages and all income levels” in Kane County.
TriCity Family Services provides invaluable mental health care to anyone, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. They’re committed to giving struggling individuals the tools and support they need to strengthen themselves, their families, and in turn, their communities.
In May 2020, we chose to support the work of TriCity Family Services because we’ve all been touched by tough times, insurmountable stressors, mental illness, or all of the above. For many, TriCity Family Services is the guiding light through a dark tunnel.
HDC continued its support of local non-profit organizations in June when we highlighted the heroic endeavors of an Oswego charity founded by Chris Baker in 2011 — INK 180.
INK 180 exists to transform “painful reminders of destructive situations into beautiful art by covering tattoos and scars left behind from self-harm, domestic violence, former gang life, or human trafficking.”
INK 180 is truly a labor of love that offers “the opportunity for a real second chance to the least of these, the invisible, the forgotten, the discarded.” Because no matter who you are or where you come from, it’s never too late for a new beginning.
Gary Sinise Foundation
In July, we chose to shine the Project Hope spotlight on the Gary Sinise Foundation, a national organization dedicated to honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, and their families and lifting them up through times of need.
By building a supportive community that advocates for our heroes and demonstrates the true spirit of our nation, the Gary Sinise Foundation has made a lasting impact on many lives.
As Gary says, “Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation's defenders, we can always do a little more.”
My Block My Hood My City
As Chicago’s fastest-growing social-impact organization, My Block My City My Hood (M3) helps underprivileged youth recognize and explore the myriad of opportunities that exist in the wider world, beyond their own neighborhood.
Through its core values (interconnectivity, empathy, hope, and civic responsibility), M3 aims to help young people step outside their comfort zone to explore, experience, and evolve, so they have the knowledge, skills, and tools to make their lives — and their communities — better.
In August 2020, we were thrilled to support M3 in its mission to immerse young people in art and culture, STEM, citizenry and volunteerism, community development, health, and a number of other life-changing explorer programs.
September means getting back in the classroom, but for far too many children, it also means not having the basic supplies they need to be successful in school. We don’t believe that any child should have to deal with such a fundamental setback, especially when it’s so easy to fix.
Each week in September, we chose a new “backpack” organization to feature through Project Hope and support with a monetary donation.
Some of these organizations, like Volunteers of America and Together We Rise, provide new backpacks and school supplies to students in need; others, like The Backpack Project Inc. and Backpack Beginnings, provide essentials (clothing, toiletries) to children and adults in need.
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Established 30 years ago by breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) serves to educate women about the importance of early detection and to provide help, support, and inspiration to women who’ve been diagnosed with the disease.
As one of the most frequent cancer diagnoses in the United States, breast cancer affects a significant number of women. Most people know a family member, friend, or colleague who’s been impacted by the disease.
Given that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to highlight and support this amazing organization and all it does to change the odds — starting with the free mammograms it provides to women in all 50 states through the NBCF network of hospitals.
Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry
This year, more than ever, many people are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, which will celebrate four decades of service to the community in 2021, is dedicated to ending local hunger one nourishing meal at a time.
As one of the largest food distribution centers in northern Illinois, the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry distributed 3.24 million meals to over 53,000 low-income families — including over 10,000 children — in 2020 alone.
The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry serves an ongoing need that has only escalated during the pandemic; if you have the time or resources, consider volunteering or making a donation in the coming year.
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
As the first organization of its kind, the Toys for Tots Foundation's humble origins were born out of a small act of kindness. It all began in 1947, when Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks was sent out by his wife, Diane Hendricks, to find an agency that supported children in need and deliver hand-made dolls.
When they discovered that no such agency existed, they decided to create one: Toys for Tots.
Major Hendricks and the Marines in his unit collected and distributed 5,000 toys to kids in the Los Angeles area that year; by 1948, Toys for Tots was deemed a national community action program of the Marine Corps Reserve. To date, it has delivered 584 million toys to 265 million children across the country.
Heading into the New Year
We’re grateful to be part of a caring and supportive local community, and fortunate that we’re in a position to give back to regional, national, and global organizations throughout the year.
As we head into the New Year, we’re excited to continue Project Hope with a whole list of charitable organizations that are working hard to make our world safer, happier, healthier, and more equitable.
To learn more about Project Hope and the organizations we support, follow us on Facebook or Instagram. And for more home-related tips and advice from the team at HDC, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter or catch up on our weekly blog.