Generous individuals and families, former patients, corporations and foundations—all are members of an amazing team of supporters dedicated to helping our amazing kids. Here are just a few of their stories.
Pirates Charities presented The Children’s Institute with a $200,000 grant from the proceeds of the annual Pirates Auction on ROOT SPORTS, a live on-air auction at PNC Park in August. This generous grant will be used for The Children’s Institute’s Centers of Excellence. The Pirates’ generous support of The Children’s Institute doesn’t stop there. Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle, whose young daughter has Prader-Willi syndrome, started the Wins for Kids program when he joined the Pirates’ organization in 2010. Fans pledge a dollar amount for every Pirates’ win, and the funds are shared between Pirates Charities and The Children’s Institute. Wins for Kids funded new equipment for the gym on the Prader-Willi syndrome unit. There’s even more – The Pirates hosted The Day School’s entire senior class for a VIP experience at a game last spring. Pirates Charities has been an Amazing Donor to our amazing kids.
Ann and Marty McGuinn have been active members of Pittsburgh’s corporate and philanthropic communities for more than 25 years. Ann’s involvement with The Children’s Institute dates back to the 1980’s when she joined the Board of Directors, a board she chaired for 4 years. She and Marty served as co-chairs of The Campaign for an Amazing Future at The Children's Institute. With their $1 million gift – the largest individual gift to the Campaign to date – they have named the McGuinn Family Respite Care Suite. The McGuinns look at philanthropic contributions as a financial investment - making them Amazing Donors.
“As a businessperson, I’m very used to looking at investments and return on investments,” Marty says. “The best measure of the return on our investment is to just see the children, to see the care they’re getting and how they react. That’s a wonderful measure of ROI, and frankly, it really provides satisfaction.”
Sheila and Milton Fine are motivated to support The Children’s Institute by their belief that it is one of the most outstanding resources in the country for children in need of specialized care.
Milton explains, “In addition to its expertise, The Children’s Institute demonstrates unusual compassion. If you’re looking for a cause that does much good in the world and is very well run, The Children’s Institute is it.”
A member of the Board of Directors of The Children’s Institute since 1989, Sheila along with her husband began their support through the Annual Fund. With a history of unwavering commitment, the Fines recently demonstrated their belief in The Children’s Institute once again. The Fines contributed $500,000 to The Campaign for an Amazing Future at The Children's Institute and have named the Sheila and Milton Fine Classrooms for Students with Autism. In return, the Fines gain the satisfaction of knowing they’re improving the lives of children and helping to ensure that families have The Children’s Institute as a resource for years to come. Thank you Shelia and Milton for being Amazing Donors!
The FISA Foundation has been a longtime supporter of The Children’s Institute. The FISA Foundation has made grants to The Children’s Institute to provide charity care for children with brain injuries, to supply services for parents with disabilities, to offer summer camp experiences to children with disabilities and their siblings and to provide scholarships to The Children’s Institute employees studying physical, occupational, or speech/language therapies, special education or nursing. Over the years the FISA Foundation has given $210,000 to support the programs and services of The Children’s Institute. With the FISA Foundation’s focus on building a culture of respect and improving the quality of life for women, girls, and people with disabilities in southwestern Pennsylvania, they share the mission of The Children’s Institute to improving the lives of children with disabilities in the community. The FISA Foundation support makes them Amazing Donors.
It was the first night of the Silnutzer family’s 1987 vacation. As they were driving through Philadelphia another car broadsided them. The entire family was rushed to the hospital but Stacey, 11 years old and was severely injured; lay in a coma for five and a half weeks. Struggling with the very real possibility that Stacey might never wake, her parents Fran and Norman followed the advice of physicians and transferred their youngest daughter to The Hospital at The Children’s Institute. When Stacey finally regained consciousness, she had no memory of the accident and had to relearn everything from colors to how to walk. She transferred to The Day School for several months and then integrated back into a traditional classroom. Today, after earning her masters degree from Case Western, Stacey works as an accomplished social worker. It was a family tragedy that introduced the Silnutzer family to The Children’s Institute, but it’s their belief in the organization that has motivated them to be Amazing Donors for more than a decade.
“We are so fortunate to have a facility like The Children’s Institute right here in Pittsburgh,” says Norman. “Our family has chosen to give back to them not only because of what they have done for Stacey, but because of the amazing things they do for every child who comes through their doors.”
Jack Bertges started the Coalfield Classic 24 years ago just for fun – unaware of the lasting impact it would have for The Children’s Institute. The tournament has raised nearly $75,000 for our amazing kids!
Jack became a fan of “The Rehabilitation Institute” (as it was known at the time) when he lived in Point Breeze from 1974-1984 while working at Mellon Bank. He started the golf tournament with fellow Mellon Bank employees as a way to raise money and awareness for The Institute and other nonprofit organizations. Today, he still runs the tournament from his home in San Francisco and his Pittsburgh pals look forward to the golf outing at Quicksilver Golf Course every year. Many no longer work at Mellon but still play, and the tournament has turned into something of a reunion event. Participants can select their own charity and this year 19 of them elected to support to The Children’s Institute. The tradition of the Coalfield Classic and the funds provided to The Children’s Institute has secured Jack Bertges and his fellow golfers as Amazing Donors!
Every year, the first grade students hold The Quaker Valley Laps for Love program. The kids are asked to write to their family and friends requesting their pledge of support for each lap they run around the gymnasium. This program teaches students about the important work that is done at The Children’s Institute and fosters an understanding that they can use their bodies to help our amazing kids; some of whom may not be physically able to run laps. The first graders at these schools raise money every year, and have donated nearly $50,000 since 1994! Because of their dedication, the first graders of Edgeworth and Osborne elementary schools have been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award presented by the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Association for Fundraising – these students are truly Amazing Donors!
Four decades ago The Home for Crippled Children, now The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, gave Patty Simmons the opportunity to begin her teaching career when positions were scarce. She says the experience changed her life forever.
Today, Patti is a retired school teacher living with her husband John in North Carolina. Years have gone by but Patti’s gratitude to The Children’s Institute continues to grow. As an expression of that appreciation, the Simmons established a legacy gift and designated a portion of their estate to help future generations of children reach their greatest potential. They want their gift to directly benefit children through therapeutic services of The Children’s Institute.
And the process for including The Children’s Institute in their estate plans was easy. Information needed for their attorney was provided by the staff of Institutional Advancement and The Institute’s website.
Patti explains, “John and I considered The Children’s Institute when our wills were first written. Just recently we updated our wills to insure that our final wishes are honored. We know that without a will our wishes cannot be considered.”
Thank you Patti and John for being Amazing Donors!
Tell Us About Your Support
If you’ve made a gift, volunteered your time or hosted a fundraiser for The Children’s Institute, we would love to hear from you. We may contact you to learn more or for permission to share with others here on the web or in our magazine, Amazing Kids. Sharing your story is another way to give — to inspire others to support the life changing work being done at The Children’s Institute. Tell us your story.