Family and corporate GREAT STRIDES teams continue to develop creative new ways to inspire greater participation throughout their communities and increase their fund-raising power. Thanks to their spirited efforts, GREAT STRIDES 2007 included more walk sites and more walkers than ever before. The CF Foundation proudly congratulates and thanks everyone who participated in GREAT STRIDES 2007. Following are highlights from some of the top teams across the country.
Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) | $24,000 | Lone Star Chapter
"Annual increases reported"—just the words every business leader wants to hear! In 2007, those three words were uttered, not once, not twice, but numerous times by the Security Service Federal Credit Union's GREAT STRIDES team. Led by J.T. Cody, senior vice president of asset management, the company went from 14 teams the previous year to an incredible 21, including four from the corporate office. Each team aimed to finish the GREAT STRIDES season with the highest percentage increase in money raised from 2006. In their efforts to be named SSFCU's finest fund-raisers, they held more bake sales and raffles than ever before. DVD players, iPods and season passes to Sea World were among the most popular raffle items. To encourage high returns, the corporate office also offered employees great incentives, including a spa day and dinner for two, given to the top fund-raisers during certain weeks of the drive. SSFCU's strategy worked—the team reported a 47 percent increase from 2006, raising $24,000.
Team leaders Lindsey and Jon Deveaux discovered that asking their friends and family to create their own Ella's Elite teams across the country was a great way to raise even more money for GREAT STRIDES.
Duke Energy | $20,190 | Greater Cincinnati Chapter
"Raising money for GREAT STRIDES—and for my daughter Julia—was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," says Jenny Bulach, senior engineer at Duke Energy. Following her daughter's diagnosis, Bulach rallied her co-workers, family and friends behind her efforts to ensure a brighter future for Julia. As team leader, Bulach told her co-workers about Julia's daily challenges. With a name and face now connected to the disease, co-workers realized they could not waste a single minute. Nearly all of the walk participants took to their keyboards to launch their own online letter-writing campaigns. "The online donations were key to our success," says Bulach. "It was so simple." In addition to their online fund-raising, the team set up change jars at various businesses, sold pin-ups and took advantage of all matching gifts. In just its first year, the Duke Energy team raised more than $20,000 for the Cincinnati GREAT STRIDES walk!
Quantum Real Estate Management | $38,603 | Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Chapter
As the son of the Quantum Real Estate Management's president Pat Bessette, Danny has grown up before the eyes of all its employees. They have known Danny, who was diagnosed at birth with CF, since he was 3 years old, and watched him as he graduated from college in 2006. Recently Danny joined the Quantum team, becoming an even greater part of their lives. Wanting to help him and all those with CF, employees enthusiastically participated in GREAT STRIDES. In 2007, more of Danny's co-workers volunteered than ever before, raising money online and contacting vendors and business associates for contributions. On walk day in Centreville, Md., all 90 team members—dressed in red T-shirts—were walking, helping run the registration tables, setting up the course and manning the grills. "It was so impressive to see all those red Quantum shirts everywhere!" says Pat. "The team spirit and commitment to help people like Danny make it all so special to me."
Team Femia | $30,515 | Greater New York Chapter — Westchester Office
Turning 40 is a memorable milestone for many people living with CF, and one that Lucy Femia, of Putnam County, N.Y., recently celebrated. "I need to do everything I can to stay healthy," Femia says. "Everything" to her includes not only maintaining her daily treatment regimen, but also raising money to fund research into potential CF therapies. For the past 15 years, she has walked in GREAT STRIDES. To maximize her fund-raising potential, she formed Team Femia in 2000, and she sends e-mail updates year-round to keep all participants engaged. This year, Femia and her walkers conducted online letter-writing campaigns and expanded their reach to new donors. "It was a great tool," she says. "The sites brought in a lot of extra money!" Members of Team Femia also asked for matching gifts from their employers and sold pin-ups at BOCES and Bank of New York. Femia's niece received roses donated by 1-800-FLOWERS and sold them at MasterCard, where she works. "It's heartwarming to know that everyone on my team is there because of me," says Femia.
It was a sea of red T-shirts at the Cincinnati walk, as members of the Duke Energy team came out to support their co-worker and CF mom Jenny Bulach and the CF Foundation.
Ella's Elite | $35,500 | Multiple Chapters
In its first year, 2005, Ella's Elite formed three GREAT STRIDES teams in locations across the country. By the following year, there were nine. Now in its third year, Ella's Elite has 14 teams in 12 cities: Portland, Ore.; Albany, Ga.; Atlantic Beach, Fla.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Denver; Milwaukee; Rockford, Ill.; Seattle; South Bend, Ind.; Vancouver, Wash.; and Waco, Texas. "It's been really easy to recruit team leaders," says Lindsay Deveaux, mother of 3-year-old Ella. "All it took was an ask." To encourage people to form teams, Lindsay and her husband Jon did all the legwork, gathering all the pertinent details—including date, time and location of the walk, and the contact person at their local Foundation chapter—for team members. They also provided them with essential fund-raising tools and tips. The Deveaux's enthusiasm and support have brought about tremendous successes around the nation. Teams held home recruitment parties, utilizing matching funds, engaging local organizations and businesses to do their own fund-raising and obtaining more sponsorships. "By increasing our number of teams, we increased our fund-raising by more than 150 percent in three years," says Lindsay. "There is no way we could have accomplished that if we had not recruited more teams!"
Lo Detrich | $43,920 | Sooner Chapter — Tulsa Office
While Lo Detrich, 23, waited for her second double-lung transplant at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, her friends and family were making sure that her "in it to win it" spirit was not forgotten during GREAT STRIDES season. Her family sent 431 letters out to the people who have supported Lo over the years as she battled CF—all the while showing off her trademark smile and sense of humor. The response was overwhelming. Checks came flooding in, accompanied by words of encouragement and love. Even from a hospital bed in St. Louis, Lo's determined attitude helped her GREAT STRIDES team raise nearly $44,000.
Wal-Mart | $80,000 | Multiple Florida Chapters
After hearing a presentation about GREAT STRIDES in 2006, Ronny Hayes, Wal-Mart's regional vice president and a member of the South Florida Office's advisory board, realized what a great fit the walk was with his company's commitment to giving back to its local communities. In addition to Wal-Mart's generous sponsorship of South Florida's Jeb Bush Florida Classic for the past several years, Hayes urged his marketing managers to increase the company's efforts on behalf of the CF community. He encouraged each of them to sign up their regions to participate in the walk, telling them that GREAT STRIDES would be a wonderful team-building event for all of their employees. They enthusiastically agreed. Each region, comprised of 10 stores, helped the Wal-Mart team raise $80,000 in 2007!
Showing their dedication to their local communities, Kohl’s department stores across the country had fun forming their own GREAT STRIDES teams and bringing their “A” team spirit to the effort.
Team Kohl's | $147,000 | Multiple Chapters
In 2006, 28 Kohl's Department stores participated in GREAT STRIDES. Seeing the success of Team Kohl's on the east coast, chapters across the country began contacting their local stores to get them involved. Just one year later, more than 200 stores were part of the GREAT STRIDES effort. "Kohl's is dedicated to helping children in our communities reach their potential, and partnering with the CF Foundation has been the perfect fit for us," says Long Island district manager John Vincente. Many stores took advantage of the corporation's strong community spirit by applying for Kohl's "A Team" grant, which provides $500 to any team with more than five employees volunteering for GREAT STRIDES. In addition to the grants, teams held "Jeans for Genes" days, conducted traditional letter-writing campaigns, held car washes and bake sales, and contacted churches and local organizations for donations. By the end of walk season, Team Kohl's had raised nearly $150,000!
Team Gavin | $40,246 | Multiple Chapters
Nearly 100 people—from New York City to Atlanta, and all the way to Seattle—walked in GREAT STRIDES this year in the name of 4-year-old Gavin, who has CF. All were part of Team Gavin, which was formed three years ago by his parents Nicole and Toby Bartlett. While the team was successful in its first year of raising money for the Atlanta site, the Bartletts knew they would have even greater fund-raising potential if their friends formed their own teams. They wrote to the list of people who had donated to their campaign and encouraged friends living in different cities to participate in GREAT STRIDES. Six different teams were formed, including one from Toby's father's law firm, McKenna Long Aldridge. "The online tools have helped us coordinate different teams around the country," Nicole notes. "We can raise money quickly and remind people when the walk dates are getting close without having to make tons of phone calls." Team Gavin's nationwide community also brought people of all ages to the CF cause. Children from Atlanta got into the GREAT STRIDES spirit by organizing a neighborhood lemonade stand. "We are amazed that all these people have taken time out of their busy lives to help us find a cure for Gavin and all those with CF," Nicole said. "It always brings tears to our eyes."
Every walker who joins us makes a difference for people with cystic fibrosis."
Robert J. Beall, Ph.D.
President and CEO, CF Foundation
Team C.aring F.riends | $81,000 | San Diego Chapter
"I know the money we raise through GREAT STRIDES truly saves lives," says 46-year-old Leslie Petrone, who has CF. "I got to experience it firsthand this year. The medicines and therapies used to save my life have made a believer out of me." After her "most difficult year ever," Petrone wasn't sure she was healthy enough even to be involved with GREAT STRIDES, let alone attend the walk. With the support of her friends and family, however, Team C.aring F.riends posted a record-breaking year. Team members raised money online through the GREAT STRIDES Web site. "The Web pages are the key to our success," says Petrone. With 75 percent of her walkers asking for donations online, Team C.aring F.riends raised $81,000—more than doubling the amount raised in 2006! "It was a real achievement for me to be at the walk this year," says Leslie. "And it filled my heart to see how truly loved I am."
Save the date, spread the word, start brainstorming... It's time to think GREAT STRIDES 2008!
Mark the weekend of May 17-18, 2008 on your calendars today. It's not too early to begin thinking about new ways to rev up your GREAT STRIDES events and ensure that 2008 is another record-breaking year for fund-raising on behalf of CF research.
The CF Foundation is proud to thank all who participated in GREAT STRIDES 2007. Your tremendous efforts take us closer to a cure. Special thanks to Outstanding Corporate Partner American Airlines® and National Corporate Partners Novartis, Gilead Sciences, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Airgas Puritan Medical and Foresters for their support.