I got a little off track with the family events of the last two weeks, but I'm back and it's time to get Charity Fest going again! This post this morning isn't only a contribution to Charity Fest about a photographer giving back, but for me, a testimonial to the power of the Internet.
David Simm is a photographer in Chicago . He moved to the states over twenty years ago from the UK. A few months ago he had a post up on one of the forums about education today. I made a comment and that started a dialogue. In the middle of the chaos of my mother passing away, David and I got into a "conversation" on Facebook about Hasselblad. It was in the morning and I was alone with my mother, sitting bedside while she slept. I had pulled out my laptop to see what was going on in the outside world. I felt like that lost soul in the desert coming into an oasis. Just the fun of the conversation with David helped me to get grounded.
David's Charity Fest contribution is a testimonial to the simplicity of giving back and a photographer's ability to make it a family event. I love the fact that they've established their own family tradition of giving back. Skip Cohen
Not that I'm looking to win any prizes or seeking recognition, but I do want to applaud the sentiment of giving back. There are many ways I have tried to do this throughout my fifty year career, including giving silent auction gifts, complimentary coverage of fund raisers etc. However; our family favourite started twenty years ago when our first child was seven, and as each child reached seven we included them too. Every year the family turns out to feed/entertain the elderly and lonely on Thanksgiving day.
Thanksgiving, I don't need to tell you, is distinctly American, so when we first arrived here we didn't know what to do with ourselves and I came up with this idea.
This kids and I never missed a year, except for our eldest, Ahmed, who spent six years serving with the Military and copped out during deployments, and our second child who for a couple of years was away at school and too far to travel.
This is quite the best way to spend a holiday that, when we arrived here, we had no clue about, so much so that we look forward with anticipation every year to the date.
This Charity Fest post from Oscar Sifuentes, takes us to Mexico. It's the perfect example that not all photographers give back using their cameras. This is just about blood, sweat and tears for a project that one photographer is working hard to simply give back, with or without a camera! Skip Cohen
Marcie Ornelas, with her family since 2008, have given their time and sweat for a very special project, an Orphanage in Ensenada. Thanks to help from donations they are building the orphanage in Maneadero B.C. Mexico.
Twice a month they travel to take materials donated for the construction. Every year in January in Mexico they celebrate Dia De Reyes where the kids have received toys. During December Marcie makes a Christmas party for all her photographer friends. Each one has to bring donation of toys or clothes. Photographers are invited to help on that day and hand out toys and clothes for these poor children in Ensenada.
This has been a long road for our family taking a lot of our weekends, but it's taught us as a family, that together we can do anything. When Christmas comes around each year we don't make our Santa list, our Ensenada list. My mother has not only made time for the children of Ensenda, but our house is always filled with her photographer friends. She's built an amazing network of people who always come when help is needed. My mother can never say no.
Muffet Petrehn reminds us that powerful images can be used for far more than just capturing memories. In her Charity Fest contribution Children's Mercy Hospital is using her images to help stimulate their fund-raising efforts. I worked for two years on projects to help raise money for Akron Children's Hospital when we lived in Ohio. We never came close to what Muffet helped to raise. A lot of people might think hospitals have unlimited access to funding, there's no such thing as a hospital that has all the money they need. Skip Cohen
Twice I've had the opportunity to photograph open heart surgery at Children's Mercy Hospital. The purpose was to capture emotional images that would later be shown at a black tie fund raiser, pull at peoples heart strings and stimulate the attendees to donate to the hospital.
The images played on ten huge screens before the banquet and also when the spokesman talked about why people should donate. They raised over $650,000.00 that night. It was amazing to watch and hear the reactions to my images.
Since then I've pulled the images together into two books, both donated to the hospital. One was donated to the down syndrome guild, which is being used to help parents of children who will undergo heart surgery to see what to expect and be comforted.
It is so rewarding to hear people's comments. Especially the most often heard comment when people see the books are - "Wow - this is beautiful! "
You can see the books at: www.muffetpetrehn.com/givingback
I've written this a few times now, but it's so worth pointing out. Behind every project to give back, there's always a person or an event that started the process. With The Portrait Project, David Quisenberry and Meagan Harris had a relationship as photographer and client. There was a level of trust already established, which made it such a great connection when Meagan met Payton.
The next step of this that I love is tying it together with an already established non-profit. I know a lot of photographers often want to start their own 510 3 C , but so often you're only going to add to your administrative overhead. You're much better off to work with an established non-profit that already has the infrastructure and brand awareness in the community. The Children's Cancer Fun was already in existence along with the Children's Medical Center. It's the perfect combination for David to help lead the charge in helping families capture the incredible courage of these children! Skip Cohen
Three years ago Meagan Harris picked up her newborn portrait order from the studio. Two weeks earlier, she had interviewed a girl named Payton who made jewelry while in the hospital, selling it and donating the money to a non-profit that provides funding for local cancer research. Later that day, Meagan found out that Payton had lost her battle with cancer. Looking at her newborn portraits, she could not help but think what a tragedy it would be to lose a child and not have any lasting memories of them. This led to the creation of The Portrait Project.
The Portrait Project: Courage & Cancer
Little bodies.. big hearts. If you’ve ever met a child fighting cancer then you’ve looked into the face of a courageous kid. I’ve met a lot of remarkable people in life but none come close to the children who’ve endured and fought cancer. Their courage is captivating.
Mission Statement: The Portrait Project: Courage & Cancer is aimed at capturing the strength and courage of a child fighting cancer. We provide a large canvas portrait to families of children fighting cancer.
Who Benefits: Each family receives a large canvas portrait of their child after an unveiling event held in September each year. Money raised during the event goes to the Dallas based non-profit, The Children's Cancer Fund. It funds childhood cancer research at Children's Medical Center in Dallas and UT Southwestern.
Meagan Harris- Founder, David Quisenberry- Co-Founder/ Photographer
If you follow this blog then you've already heard me talk about the real benefit of Charity Fest. What I love about this idea from Joe Maher is in two parts...first, I love the fact that he's just started it. He's only done it one time, but knows that the next time around it'll grow more. The point is he went out and did something. Second, he's pretty much given you all the ingredients to do something similar on your own. Imagine how much better this country would be if everybody did some of the things being shared here on Charity Fest! Skip Cohen
Here is something I started doing last year and will continue to do as long as there is a need. (And hunger seems to be a need that will never go away)
Grove City, PA is a small community of around 8,400 residents. It is a nice grounded place to raise kids and not have to worry so much about the outside world. But like all communities there is a need for food banks and pantries. I knew there was a need for these non profits and I knew Grove City had many families who qualified for food assistance. It was not until one of the food banks moved a block down the street from my studio that I realized HOW MANY families needed/qualified and used the food bank and its many services.
I saw so many children carrying bags and bags of food goods one day and I decided I needed to do something. Their web address is here: http://www.gccommunityfoodpantry.org/index.html
I contacted Mrs. Turner at the organization and asked if I could hold an event to help stock the Pantry. Of course she was excited to hear a new way to raise the stock on the shelves. So I decided to hold an annual Portraits for Non-Perishables drive. Being the first year it was a small success. We brought in over $200 in canned goods and I have since brought in more canned goods by past clients who wanted to give, even though they missed the event.
With a little better planning and a little more knowledge on promotions of this sort I am looking for it to be a larger event this Fall.
Here's the program: Bring in a dozen cans of food (or whatever you can afford) and you receive a quick happy session! The following day the participants received a link to download the high resolution file and do with it what they wanted.
Here is the promotion I used for Facebook and around town,
Diane Ricks brings another great way to get involved in your community. There are so many events that go on all year long, each one a tribute to a worthy cause. You can choose to be involved and "in the parade" or you can just watch it all go by.
I love the fact that Diane put together a video presentation, tying all of this together and giving the attendees a way to remember not only the loss of a loved one, but the day itself. Skip Cohen
I am a volunteer at Valor Hospice Care Center, making myself available to families that wish to have images taken and to photograph events Valor has in the community.
On Saturday, May 4th they had a memorial event for the family members of those who have passed. They released boxes of monarch butterflies in memory of these fallen heroes. This was the first time they did this event and it was very well attended.
I captured images and also created a slideshow with some video clips for them. This was the most amazing day for me and while working on the slideshow, although I don’t personally know any of these people, during playback, it brought tears to my eyes.
What I love about Charity Fest is the variety of programs we hear about and the number of photographers who are willing to share. This idea is from Ed and Krystal Cicenas of EMC Photography. They live in Clinton, Illinois. I love the way this is building brand recognition throughout their community. Plus, they're building a reputation with a number of other vendors in town. Skip Cohen
We decided to do something very different -- for our community and the many of the folks who can’t afford good professional photography. For some, our event might be the only image captured of their child by a professional.
Yearly, the merchants in the downtown area give away candy on Halloween. We’ve been on the downtown Square now for two years . . . and decided candy was an easy way out. We opened up our studio for a “photo-as-a-treat.”
In just one hour we had 102 kids stop in to our two-person operation to get their photos taken in costume. The catch? None. It was complete craziness and insanity.
We posted all the photos on Facebook as high res photos and told everyone they could download to their heart’s content. We set it up at the local Walgreens and CVS to allow folks to print without copyright problems.
We quickly realized afterwards that many would never visit professionals due to cost, etc. It's super cool. It netted us a lot of good will and publicity. We even did a contest, those garnering the most likes on Facebook would win prints.
So this last year, we upped the ante. We opened it a couple hours before the trick-or-treating started. We told the local charities about it. We put up fliers telling others what we were doing.
Then Krystal went around and solicited donations from other Clinton businesses to get the photos printed of the costumed children. We wanted to make sure we had more time and every person actually got something in hand. We wanted to do more than just post the photos on Facebook. We already were consuming a lot of time and effort and just plain could not budget in the printing costs on top of that.
More than 155 costumed children flowed through our doors this time. Most of them during that one hour period, of course. And we know some looked at the lines outside of our studio and chose not to wait. From babies to tweens.
Wow, the reaction and everything from those who came was fantastic! And even more of kudos to other businesses who chose to donate so we could do the printing. They had no clue what they would get out of the deal other than just good will.
We’ve already started thinking about what we might do this coming Halloween, because we really do want to get those who could not wait out the line outside our studio. We know that our studio location makes this a very unique opportunity for us, it’s not highly likely that most studios can even approach doing something like this.
But the reactions from the moms, the dads, the grand parents and so many others make this so worth it! Do some come that are our regular clients? A few, but very few. The majority really are those who would not even be Sears or Walmart clients.
Introduction by Skip Cohen
Here's what I LOVE about the imaging industry. Not only are concepts like quality, customer service and craftsmanship universal, but giving back and supporting the community is a common denominator all over the world.
Thanks to Monica Pucicarelli at Punto Magazine, we received this email from a videographer in Mexico, Ricardo Arturo Reyes. Monica translated it, but for those of you who speak fluent Spanish, the original is at the bottom of this post. I love the background on how Ricardo and his wife got involved. Even though the videos aren't in English, you don't need to understand Spanish to appreciate the effort and support being given to the two different associations!
Good afternoon, about four years ago, when my wife had her first ultrasound, the person who conducted the study mentioned that our baby had Down Syndrome, which because of our inexperience, was a painful blow as we did not know how to deal with it emotionally. Thanks to family and friends, the desire to fight for her became stronger.
Later, through further studies, the possibility of Down Syndrome was ruled out, and a small blessing came to us who had no such condition. One of our best friends who helped us a lot to overcome the news at the time, had a beautiful baby with Down Syndrome and along with his wife, originated the Foundation Ivan Niños Down A.C.
There was absolutely no hesitation in how much we wanted to support this organization. We did a video for awareness and public support to this cause. Previously on another occasion we created the institutional video Food Bank Fresnillo, A.C to support collection of food in good condition to be distributed among the most needy in the population.
Both foundations are located in the city of Fresnillo, Zacatecas and it was gratifying to be able support these causes.
Aquí está el post original...
Buenas tardes, hace mas de 4 años al realizar el primer ultrasonido a mi esposa, la persona que nos realizó el estudio menciono que nuestra bebe tenía síndrome de down lo cuál debido a nuestra inexperiencia fue un golpe doloroso que no sabíamos como manejar emocionalmente, gracias a familiares y amigos se fue fortaleciendo el deseo de luchar por ella, posteriormente en nuevos estudios se descartó la posibilidad y llego a nosotros una pequeña bendición que no tuvo tal condición, uno de nuestros mejores amigos quien nos ayudo mucho a superar en su momento la noticia tuvo un lindo bebe con síndrome de down y originó junto con su esposa Fundación Ivan Niños Down A.C., de inmediato buscamos como apoyarlos y realizamos un video para conciencia y apoyo de la ciudadanía a esta causa, previamente en otra ocasión realizamos el video institucional de Banco de Alimentos de Fresnillo, A.C. para apoyar la recolección en especie de alimentos en buenas condiciones que se distribuyen entre la población más necesitada, ambas fundaciones se encuentran en la ciudad de Fresnillo, Zacatecas y fué gratificante poder apoyar a estas causas.
We're kicking off Charity Fest with the very first email I got regarding giving back to your community. I have to admit it's a kick that the author is a good friend, but in all honesty her email is what sparked the idea that it was time to run Charity Fest again. Plus, we've never done it here on the SCU site.
Nicole's post actually hits on two different topics. First, is her ongoing involvement with Camp Cheerful. Second is a fund-raising event with a 5/10K run. So, right off the bat here are two different types of programs for you to consider, one the non-profit itself, the other a fund-raiser.
Since my first pos I've received a lot of different posts on a wide variety of topics. I'm going to do my best to publish them all. There are so many great ideas out there from so many people in the photography industry. Each one has focused a little of their energy to helping make their little corner of the world a better place!
Here's the link to my original post about Charity Fest. If you're giving back to your community I'd love to be able to help you share what you're doing with more people in the photography industry.
As most of you know (some of you may not) I volunteer at Camp Cheerful in Strongsville, Ohio with the Therapeutic Riding Program. I’ve been involved with this program for 3 years and it is truly one of my passions. We help over 200 special needs children and adults who ride year round. They come from all walks of life and have varying levels of ability (notice I said ability and not disability, when our campers get on those horses anything is possible!).
We currently have 14 incredible horses at the barn. There is an amazing connection between our horses and riders; the horses give back as much love as the riders give them. Our program isn’t about "pony rides"! So, let me put this in perspective for you…
It gives someone who is wheelchair bound the chance to walk. It soothes a child with autism. It helps someone with Muscular Dystrophy with balance and strength. Our riders learn social skills, self confidence and for an hour they are just like everyone else.
And now it’s time to raise some money to keep this and other amazing programs that Camp Cheerful offers up and running. The 2013 Most Excellent Race is a 5/10K Run/Walk that benefits Camp Cheerful through the Achievement Centers for Children, it’s coming up and I need your help.
I have set a $1,000 goal for my race team, The TR Trotters! We are all either volunteers or staff members of the Therapeutic Riding Program and I want to blow the doors off of our goal for our riders!! So join our team, donate or just come out to support an amazing cause!!
The race is Sunday, June 23, 2013 at Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights. Your online gift to Achievement Centers for Children is tax deductible and you will automatically receive an e-tax receipt once your donation has processed. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone and everyone you know who may be interested in supporting a great cause!