As many of you already know, we ensure 100% of all our proceeds go towards helping others. We have also been fortunate enough to match 100% of all contributions made to the foundation since 2008. I am happy to report that we were able to continue this trend in 2014. We were also able to continue to expand our relationships with many great organizations and individuals, such as ARC, Terryville High School’s Angel Fund, The Ronald McDonald House, Soldiers Angels, Special Olympics, Sacred Heart University, The Charity Cycling Challenge, The Hole in The Wall Gang, along with all the terrific recipients we have enrolled in our scholarship program.
As a foundation we focused on discovering additional ways in which we could broaden our footprint to make an even greater difference in many more lives. I personally challenged our Board of Directors to stretch, grow and think differently to better execute our mission and vision and to better serve our communities. We raised our expectation of everyone involved to help reach a greater number of children in need. As a result I am pleased to report that we had a record year in the amount of support that we were able to give and the number of children and their families that we were able to impact.
The record levels were achieved through the expansion of existing programs such as the Terryville High School Angel Fund, The Hole in The Wall Gang, and The Zukowski Family Foundation Scholarship Fund, while adding a few new featured programs such as “From our Family To Yours,” a holiday program aimed at children and families needing a little extra support and pick me up during the final two holiday months of the year.
In challenging ourselves we proactively reached out and partnered with schools, social workers and community officials to identify areas or gaps where the Zukowski Family Foundation could provide resources (feet on the ground, volunteers and funds) to lend a hand and make a difference to those in need of additional support. Because of our focused efforts and the increasing number of volunteers along with our already fantastic board members, we were able to more than double our reach of children and families to whom we were able to provide support. This allowed us to increase the number from 50 individuals last year to just under 150 in 2014.
I send out a heartfelt thank you to many of our board members and volunteers who personally shopped and delivered groceries and other key essentials throughout November and December. Without their continued focus, efforts and generosity we could not have achieved our aggressive goals and met the milestones that we set for ourselves and our foundation in 2014.
I take great pride, as does our Board of Directors, in how our foundation conducts business and enters into long term relationships with organizations and individuals that share our values. Our overarching goal is to create a lasting community, a network of resources, not just financial but also a network of individuals and organizations that can be used as valuable resources to interact to help others needing support (financially, emotionally, and spiritually). It is this very act of being available and open to helping those with whom we interact on a long-term personal basis that helps separate us from many other charitable organizations. We not only strive to be kind and enter into long-term lasting relationships, but we strive to “teach kindness” through understanding and caring about others life’s journeys and ensuring we remain involved throughout. I hope others will always see this in our work, our behaviors and our attitudes in how our foundation conducts itself.
We are particularly proud that many of our high school scholarship recipients have now graduated from their respective universities and are working successfully in their chosen fields. From the start, it was our intention to support our recipients over a period of years. We believe this sets us apart from many organizations. We feel great about keeping in touch with each individual recipient and helping them navigate their way through the demands of college. Watching our students grow and become young adults gives us great pleasure and is very meaningful to us.
There is a saying that states: People will almost always forget what you said, and that people will almost always forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel! With self-awareness comes responsibility…it is not enough to donate funds without tying ourselves to broader, deeper relationships that will lend support to individuals in helping them change their lives and being along side as they enter into new and exciting possibilities.
Time has a way of moving quickly, and catching us unaware of the passing years. So as 2014 came and went in now what seems to me a blink of an eye, I find myself spending much more time in reflection than at any other point in time of my life. I often sit and ask myself a very tough question. “Did I/we do enough”? Of course this question cannot be answered by me or our foundation, but instead it can only be answered by the lives we were able to impact. So as we look to new beginnings in 2015 and set our sites on even higher, more aggressive goals that will surpass our 2014 records I ask and certainly hope that you will give our foundation and cause consideration and join us on our journey to continue to make a difference in those that need it most….Children in our very own backyards.
Please consider joining our efforts in helping us reach more children in 2015 by making a tax-deductible contribution. All amounts of any denomination are greatly appreciated. Donations can be made by check payable to The Zukowski Family Foundation, and mailed to P.O. box 3034, Parker CO 80134, or feel free to visit us online at ZukowskiFamilyFoundation.org to find out more about our mission/vision and to make an online donation through our secure network.
On behalf our board of directors I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams, sixth U.S. President.