Volume 2, March 2020
We appreciate your interest and your support and hope you enjoy the latest issue of The Spark.
How far we have come
In this issue of The Spark, we outline the continued amazing response to our cause by you – our friends and followers – financially and otherwise, as well as just some of what we are doing to move the mission of 33 Forever forward. The future holds many opportunities for 33 Forever to truly make and continue to make a difference.
Where we are headed
Because of your support and response to our mission, we are actively engaged in Educational Programming, Community Involvement, continued Resource development and Advocacy. We have established partnerships with schools, NAMI, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University and are also working with legislators, policymakers and influencers on both the state and federal level.
33 Forever, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to honor Danielle Leedy’s life and her longtime passion to raise awareness, empower and comfort those struggling with the disease of depression, anxiety and finding self- worth.
Specifically, 33 Forever’s mission is to positively impact the lives of all those affected by depression, anxiety and their related disorders, including suicidal thoughts, by promoting awareness, engaging in advocacy, providing educational programming and resources for all those struggling and their loved ones, supporting research efforts and establishing and encouraging community support.
In our first year, we have had a tremendous outpouring of support – financially and otherwise.
Our organizational goals include transparency as we receive donated dollars.
As of March 2020 –
Administrative expenses: 861.36
Event expenses: 10,830.23
Product costs: 665.34
Program expenses: 350.00
Promotional materials: 640.08
TOTAL EXPENSES: $13,347.01
33 Forever’s Board of Directors is dedicated to use its funds to directly support its stated missions’ programming and partnerships – including Educational Programming, Community Involvement activities and, eventually, Research.
Board of Directors
Jeffrey Heck, Attorney
Education Committee Chair & Board Member
Sara Bennett, M.Ed.
Volunteer Committee Chair & Board Member
Mandy Brickner, M.Ed.
Finance Committee Chair & Board Member
Alex Leedy, L.S.W.
Nominating Committee Chair & Board Member
Sean Brickner, P.E.
Audit Committee Chair & Board Member Dennette Santamaria, L.S.W.
Development Committee Chair & Board Member
We continue to have remarkable success in our fundraising efforts because clearly the issues our cause raises are so prevalent and the need is so great. We continue to hear stories, almost daily, from those impacted by Dani’s story and issues in their own lives. The ongoing outpouring of support – heartfelt messages, inspiring stories, remarkable volunteers (both professional and lay) and, of course, donations – has been nothing short of amazing.
Your financial support continues to be stunning. By year end – less than 11 months after 33 Forever started – we have raised over $205,000.00 in total cash and in-kind contributions. This includes over $42,000.00 from our inaugural charity golf outing and silent auction in October (plus an additional large pledge made that evening). We have, indeed, been blessed with some larger financial supporters, both individual and corporate, but truly, this continues to be a “grass roots” effort with typical donations somewhere between $33 and $100. Simply put, every single donation – no matter the amount – makes a difference.
We obtained our formal 501(c)(3) charitable status in October from the IRS, ensuring that all your charitable contributions are tax deductible according to law. Also, 33 Forever continues to be an all-volunteer effort and we take the responsibility as careful stewards of your contributions very seriously.
If you have donated previously THANK YOU! Please also consider making a scheduled regular tax deductible contribution and become a “Sustaining Member” of 33 Forever. You can do so by clicking the “Donate” button above and fill out the form as indicated to make a scheduled monthly or annual donation as you feel led.
If you have not yet made a tax deductible contribution, please consider doing so at the link above or, if you prefer, by mailing a check to:
33 Forever, Inc.
1 Marion Avenue
Mansfield, OH 44903
EDUCATIONAL UPDATE & SCHOLARSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT
33 Forever continues to create partnerships for educational programming to middle school and high school students, parents and school staff with various local organizations. 33 Forever is the funding sponsor of NAMI Richland County’s “Ending The Silence” program, a national NAMI middle school and high school program. This program’s goal is to increase awareness and provide practical advice and help to students dealing with depression, anxiety, self-worth issues, suicidal thoughts and other mental health struggles, whether themselves or their peers.
We have just also recently announced the creation of two scholarships in the Spring of 2020 for post-high school education to graduating seniors at two Richland County, Ohio high schools – Lexington and Ontario. These scholarships – named “The 33 Forever Scholarship In Honor of Danielle Leedy” – are one-time awards of $1,333 to one high school senior at each school who intends to pursue a post-high school education. Dani was a 2003 graduate of Lexington High School and the Ontario scholarship was specifically made possible as a result of a generous contribution from the Dan and Brenda Niss Family. We hope to expand these scholarships to other schools and other communities in the future as funding permits.
We continue to develop partnerships as well with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, among others, to provide and support further programming to also help parents, community members and school staff to understand, recognize and know what to do when they see or become aware of mental health issues for their kids and students.
Our fast-moving, technology-driven, too-often-anonymous society presents new and different challenges to the youth of today and increasingly resulting complicated and problematic mental health challenges for our young people. 33 Forever is committed to doing its part to make a difference in these critical areas – just as our inspiration, Dani, always saw herself doing.
We will continue to share the progress of these ongoing efforts in future issues of The Spark as these programs and our involvement in them develop further.
Our growing group of volunteers include experts in medicine, including psychiatry, psychology and mental health counseling, law, accounting, finance, non-profit development and programming, technology, including website development, hosting and optimization, media, marketing and governmental affairs, among others. We are presently in the process of identifying and creating a Professional Advisory Committee of medical and psychological experts to guide us in the medicine and science behind these issues.
However, most of our volunteers are committed lay people who want to help us with our mission. We cannot thank those people enough. We are still developing our Volunteer Program to make the best use of all of this support and we have exciting events in the plan for the future. If you have already volunteered, we WILL call upon you at some point! Those efforts are ongoing right now. If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocacy is a critical part of our mission as well. So far, we have been invited to meet one-on-one with state legislators and other influencers who make law and create policy in the State of Ohio. Recently, we have been invited to an event in March with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Regardless of politics, Governor DeWine has proven himself a friend of the mental health efforts and has demonstrated a commitment to badly needed funding and education efforts. We will continue to work to have the opportunity to tell our story over and over to those who can start to truly change things in the mental health world. More to come on this as it develops.
In addition, we have connected – through a friend of Dani’s – with a significant policy influencer on the national level in Washington, DC. Our hope and plan is to travel there, meet with federal legislators and policy makers and tell our story to them in efforts to increase the profile of mental health in the national eye, to seek funding for treatment, prevention and research, for suicide prevention, for educational efforts and for badly needed health insurance changes all related to mental health. We are committed to using our voices and Dani’s story to make a difference, not just locally, but to try to make the all-too-broken and ineffective mental healthcare system better.
MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
In each issue of The Spark, we will be featuring different Board Members of 33 Forever, Inc. In this issue, meet Joshua Leedy.
Josh is 33 Forever’s Vice Board Chair. He is Dani’s older and only brother. He is a senior sales representative for a medical device company focusing on orthopedics and podiatry. He and his wife, Kim, have two young sons – Graham, 5, and Brooks Daniel, 6 months. They live in Ontario, Ohio.
“For me, 33 Forever is a platform to bring awareness to mental illness and also to bring insight into the effect of suicide on the survivors,” Josh says. “If we want to break the stigma of mental illness, depression and suicide, we need to make people feel safe when talking about it. It shouldn’t be any different than telling someone that you have diabetes or cancer. Unfortunately though, we live in a society that wants to pass judgment on anything and everything we do. I sincerely hope that 33 Forever becomes a safe place for people to share, to be loved and to get help. If we can share the same compassion to someone with a mental illness that we do with someone who has cancer, maybe we can eventually break the stigma.”