No One Fights Alone

No One Fights Alone

Our team decided to work with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise awareness and donations to benefit the research and support of children with cancer.  We planned an event at the Chicago Loop Sports Bar and Grill in Streamwood, IL.  In order to raise money, we held a raffle and charged admission of $5.  We sought out donations from local businesses and Chicago sports teams in the form of tickets and gift cards.  We also created a Facebook page where we paid for advertising to reach out to people both locally and around the world to spread awareness about childhood cancer.


About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

This foundation really hit home for some of our group members as some of us have kids or work in the medical field where we see these children fighting for their lives.  According to St. Baldrick’s, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.  Cancer causes more deaths than any other disease or deformity in children.  This is a fairly new foundation that was founded in 2000.  St. Baldrick’s is known for their head shaving events which happen in March.  These shaving events are in support of the children who are diagnosed with cancer and many times lose their hair due to the chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  In the more recent years, this foundation has been supporting many other events such as eating contests, 5k run/walks, bake sales and many more.  This foundation is dedicated the overall transparency with their financials. For every dollar they receive, about 75 cents goes to research for a cure.  To note, their administration fees make up only 3.7% of their total funding.  Our group found this to be remarkable in comparison to many other foundations that we considered.

MC Matt

-Raise awareness on all the main social media platforms
-Reach over 500 likes and followers on Facebook
-Raise over $5,000 in donations combined from our event and online outreach

Donations $$


Our event alone raised $2,915 which exceeded our forecast of $1,500.  We were able to reach 164 likes on Facebook and 7,303 page/post views.  Through our donations from work, friends and online support we were able to donate a total of $6,010.  We consider this a great success as we not only hit our donation goal but also we reached out to over 7,303 users on Facebook to spread awareness.

Lessons Learned

There are many notable lessons that we learned throughout this event.  We all agree that communication needs to be regular and everyone needs to be on the same page with initiatives.  Our regular communication via text and email proved to be effective and not overwhelming.  Communication is the key to a successful project and we cannot stress that enough.  Second, we learned that we need to be flexible with our plans.  Many things come up along the road to a successful event.  Our group had to cope with many obstacles and changes in order to successfully plan our event and hit our goals.  Third, we recommend setting ambitious yet achievable goals.  If we set a goal of raising $1000, we would have quit fundraising before the event even started. The goal needs to be within your reach but not easily achievable in order to keep motivation high.  Last but not least, we recommend leveraging your network as much as possible.  This was exceedingly important in the success of our event.

st baldricks logo

Advice for future groups and project managers
-Leverage your networks
-Communicate regularly
-Hold weekly check-ins
-Local businesses are quicker to help than corporations
-Use social media to your advantage
-Set an ambitious yet achievable goal
-Pick a charity that all the group members are moved by

Closing Thoughts

Overall, this project great experience.  We learned and demonstrated project management skills all while contributing to an honorable cause.  Our group had a great time bonding and seeing our hard work pay off.

Cancer Killers Group Pic

Thanks all for your support!
-Cancer Sucks- No One Fights Alone!

An Answer to Cancer Audit

An Answer to Cancer Audit

For our field project, our team, An Answer to Cancer, supported the Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center through a fundraising event and volunteer service event in effort to promote cancer awareness and generate revenue in support of the fight against cancer. The events were as follows:

Making Strides of Fox Valley 5k Walk: Sunday, October 18, 2015 at Pottawatomie Park in Saint Charles, IL

Support the Cure: Friday, October 23, 2015 at The James Joyce Irish Pub in Berwyn, IL

IMG_8987Project Description

The team first met on September 18, 2015 to choose our field project. Of the six different charities we all brainstormed, we decided to choose one that made an impact on our lives in some form. Our final selection was a charity that promoted cancer awareness. The team figured the timing was ideal to raise awareness towards such a cause since September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. With the help of Doug’s connections at Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center, we were able to get kickoff this project and meet with key staff members at the center. On September 24, 2015, the team had their first visit to the center and met with Ryan Alvarez. As the Business Manager who supports the operations and programming of the center, Ryan was very insightful with explaining the services this organization offers to the community and its members. In addition, he provided us with a list of the Rush-Copley Charitable Funds that we could choose to support. After careful analysis, we selected the Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center. Our group was very fortunate to have an individual so passionate about his job and the mission to support and promote cancer awareness efforts.

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Charity Description

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately “1,658,370 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2015”. About “589,430 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2015”. However, according to The World Health Organization, “40% of all cancer deaths can be prevented”. With such alarming statistics, our team decided to raise revenue to benefit the Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center at Rush-Copley. The mission of Waterford Place is to compassionately connect with and offer support, guidance and resources to people with cancer and those that care for them. Waterford Place is a home away from home for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers by providing a variety of support services including counseling, support groups, free integrated health treatments, stress management classes, and educational programming to improve health outcomes and emotional well-being. We all understood the hardship and difficulty cancer can be for the patient and their loved ones which was one of the group’s main motivation to support the development of a facility that will provide the community a space for physical and spiritual reflection. Simply put, “Waterford Place is where help meets hope.

waterford poster board

Project Objectives and Outcomes

In support of our chosen charity, the group decided on two events:

IMG_7023The first one was a service event to assist as volunteers at the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” 5k walk on October 18, 2015. At this event we worked with the American Cancer Society to collect petition signatures requesting Congress to continue funding cancer research. This event allowed us to interact with community members that supported the fight against cancer. In addition, we utilized this opportunity to promote our main event, “Support the Cure”. The walk was a huge success; with 76 teams and 909 participants, the event raised a total of $88,196.68.

Our main event took place on October 23, 2015 at the James Joyce Irish Pub. “Support the Cure” was a social gathering event that our group hosted in efforts to raise funds to support our charity through ticket and raffle sales. Our goal was to generate profit with minimum overhead cost which was possible thanks to The James Joyce Irish Pub who worked with us to ensure a successful event. As a group, we decided that in order to keep overhead cost at a minimal, we would have to seek donations from local businesses. Fortunately, Rush-Copley was able to provide us with a letter stating their tax-exempt status as a nonprofit charitable organization. Using this letter, we were able to collect donations of all food items and raffle prizes towards our event.



Our goal was to raise revenue of $1500 or greater through the combination of on-line donations, ticket sales for our main event “Support the Cure”, and in-kind donations. Our actual amounts were as follows:

Net Cash Donations: $852.00

In-Kind Donations: $1,199.00

Total Collected Value Towards Fundraising Efforts: $2,051.00

Although our ultimate goal was to raise $1500 in cash donations for Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center, we still managed to exceed our original target when we combine collected revenue with in-kind donations.

Lessons Learned

Managing project teams
As a group we met all of the conditions of a high performing team. First order of business was to create a team atmosphere. We selected our project manager who served as the coach of the team. Team members also volunteered for different assignments and other times our project manager assigned task. Every team member was responsible for a specific task and we trusted that everyone met their objectives.  We all shared the same vision once making a decision on which charity to go with. Our team did a great job of taking advantage of everyone’s strength. For example, using certain team member’s social media skills was an effective way to promote our charity and event via Facebook. As a group I think we have all been able to grasp a great understanding of the material covered in chapter 11 – managing project teams.

Developing a project plan
In order to get the finish line there must be a drawn out route to get there. Developing a project plan is key to the success of our project. There are different techniques you can use to map out your plans. For our project we  used the critical path method. The team knew the task that needed to be completed before the next event can occur. For example we set up our donations page prior to being able to post the link on our Facebook page.  I believe all the techniques described in chapter 6 can be applied to any project whether it’s for your company or a home project. AOA or AON is a great way to track and measure lead times on activities to arrive at an accurate ETA for completion.

The method of communication used by the group was primarily email, text messaging, and phone conferencing. Our project manager touched base with team members almost daily to gather updates, set reminders, and provide assistance if needed.


As a reflection on the past 8 weeks, the key piece of advice we would recommend for future teams is to thoroughly develop a well defined plan and prepare for the unexpected. We were given a very limited timeline from start to finish but our team completed both events in under 6 weeks. This would not have been possible if we did not identify the critical path and prioritize the activities that needed to be completed before proceeding to the next step. Developing a detailed project plan that listed all the activities and who they were assigned to was an effective method to ensure we met our project goals. In addition, ensure that you include a contingency plan should any unexpected circumstance occur. Our team faced that situation in the process of requesting donations from local businesses. We established a backup plan that included a contribution from every team member in the worst case scenario. The combination of persistent team members and supportive local businesses helped us achieve our goal and we held a successful event.

This field project was a great experience and opportunity for us to meet and network with other people in support of a great cause!

Giving is Good Business: The TOMS Shoes Model

Blake Mycoskie’s new book “Start Something That Matters” is a must read for all entrepreneurs.  The humble owner of TOMS shoes has changed the way people are doing business by promoting philanthropy as a necessity.  He also implements trust as one of his key management strategies.  By giving back to people in need and trusting everyone in his organization Blake has created a company that is changing the world and the way we do business.

Blake credits the story behind TOMS shoes for their worldwide success and believes that every company should sell their story, not just their product.  His story is a simple one.  While traveling through Argentina he realized the astonishing number of people (mainly children) that did not have shoes, and with minimal research discovered that it was a serious health risk.  It was then that he came up with his “one for one” business model.  He would make simple fashionable shoes, and for every pair sold he would give one away to people in need.

When TOMS was founded Blake was the sole employee.  He had very little money and almost no product, but it was that resourcefulness that helped inspire him.  One resource that TOMS still relies on is interns.  Blake believes that finding clever young minds is key to success.  He would rather have employees that have not proven themselves in business because he feels like they are more driven, and the ideas that they have are new and intuitive.  These ideas are the ones that drive business.  People who have experience rely on tried and true concepts that do not equate to progress but simply to consistency.

The backbone of the TOMS shoes story is “one for one”.  For every pair sold a pair is given away, and Blake feels like this is the reason the company is so successful.  He believes that businesses should be more than a product because people want to feel connected.  We live in a world that thrives off staying connected through the internet, phones, television, and media, but we are still looking for new ways to feel like we are a part of something bigger.  TOMS gives you that satisfaction.  When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes you are not just buying shoes, you are becoming a part of a community while simultaneously helping someone half way across the world.

Blake’s business model is simple:  Find your story, face your fears, be resourceful without resources, keep it simple, build trust, and giving is good business.  The idea that a company’s only objective is to make money for its shareholders is rapidly decaying.  The more connected our world becomes only increases the ways we are looking to be a part of something.  I believe in Blake’s mission and believe that all entrepreneurs should “Start Something That Matters.”

What do you think about philanthropy as a for profit business model?  Would you trust your employees and use unproven ideas to drive your business?