December – Companywide Giving
We are so pleased to present our final act of giving to celebrate our 125th Anniversary year. We wish to continue the companywide atmosphere of giving that has taken place all year. We have not only helped with financial assistance, but we have expanded our charitable reach with our employees and Trade Partners offering their time and professional resources when needed. For December, we have chosen to give each of our employees the opportunity to donate $125 to a charitable organization of their choosing.
We believe that a contagious spirit of giving is created with the inspiration that comes from seeing others doing good things. It is this altruism that has a heart and takes on a life of its own. Our company was founded by people who believed in the possibility of improving the community around them and the desire to bring about change. Our extended Simon Builder family has shown its desire to continue with more of the same.
We are pleased to be able to showcase each of their choices throughout the month of December. We have been nurturing a team culture that cares. It is this passion that our Team has for helping those in need in our communities and around the world which is increasing our giving reach. We are grateful and humbled by their passion.
Charity: Waunakee Coummunity Foundation
Reason for this charity: I am proud to have chosen the Waunakee Community Foundation as my charitable recipient for the Michael F. Simon Builders 125 Year Anniversary Giving Back Campaign. There are many reasons that I am choosing the Waunakee Community Foundation, but I will highlight the most important reasons to me:
First, it is important that my donation dollars go towards a charitable organization or charitable cause where there is nothing held back for administrative costs or anything else. I like knowing that 100% of my donation goes to work helping others.
Equally important is that my donation dollars go towards charitable organizations or charitable causes right here in Waunakee. I like to keep it local!
The Waunakee Community Foundation was formed in 2004 and has been growing ever since. Recent grant recipients include the Waunakee Police K9, Friends of Schumacher Farm, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection, Waunakee Community Band, Waunakee Intermediate School Phy. Ed. Department, Waunakee Imagination Celebration, Waunakee Food Pantry, Waunakee Village Park Pond Aeration System and the Waunakee Library Forever Fund.
I feel great when I give my time, talent and treasure to the Waunakee Community Foundation as I have been doing since 2004!
Charity: The Levy Giving Fund
Reason for choosing this charity: Our family has known the Levy family for 18 years now and they have continually been one of the friendliest, most caring and altruistic families I have even known. It started out with them bringing a giant box of Gigi’s Cupcakes to us when they knew we had friends and family visiting. Years later, after selling Gigi’s Cupcakes, they started the Levy Giving Fund in an effort to continue down their family’s charitable path. They said that “Just because the sweets were gone, it didn’t mean we have to forfeit the sweetest part of mom’s business.”
They regularly support organizations like the UW Health American Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Gilda’s Club Cancer Support Community, Glowing Smiles, Bring a Buddy, Toys for Tots, Gio’s Garden, Heartland Farm Sanctuary, Camp Kesem, Madison Children’s Museum and Czars Promise.
They plan to use my $125 donation to purchase the book, “The Day the Crayons Quit,” for the children in connection with Madison Children’s Museum Tea & Trains event On December 1st. This event is a holiday tradition for Madison area families, enjoying time together while raising money to support Madison Children’s Museum helping all families’ play, create, imagine, and learn together.
Our family is a member at the Children’s Museum and have explored there numerous times with our daughter. That, along with the Levy’s belief to constantly encourage others to pass on their kindness, is a great match for Simon Builders and the perfect place to donate my $125.
Reason for choosing this charity: This is my mother-in-laws non-profit which seeks to build a village for a Haitian community that was displaced as a result of the earthquake. It’s important to me because it’s important to her. I myself have never witnessed Haiti myself, but the stories I hear of the struggles that these people are constantly having to deal with are remarkable. They are sourcing local residents to perform the work building homes out of block so that they can be more resistant to future natural disaster occurrences. They are also working on building a community center for kids to play and learn at. This also helps the local economy by giving jobs as opposed to just sending in missionaries to do the work for them. It’s a great program!
Charity: Reach Dane
Reason for choosing this charity: My daughter Caroline Farrell works at Reach Dane, helping young families prepare their children for school. Reach Dane provides high-quality early childhood services to over 1,000 children ages 0-5 in Dane County through center based and home visitation programs. Reach Dane’s mission is to change the lives of underserved children and families through education and supportive services. Their staff work tirelessly every day to reach the most vulnerable children and families in our community, and the need for services is growing. The number of infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness enrolled in the programs has tripled over the last four years. Last year, Reach Dane served more homeless children than any other Head Start program in Wisconsin.
Reach Dane is the only agency in Dane County offering Early Head Start and Head Start, which provides a comprehensive system of support for families including physical and mental health, dental services, nutrition, and transportation. All of Reach Dane’s 15 centers are rated 5 stars in Young Star. In fact, Reach Dane enrolled 36% of all the Dane County children attending 5-Star centers who received a state child care subsidy.
Charity: UW Carbon Cancer Center.
Reason for choosing this charity: The charity that I have chosen to donate to for Michael F. Simon builders 125th anniversary is the UW Carbon Cancer Center. My significant other (Sally) and I have both lost loved ones due to various types of cancer. My father passed away just over a year ago due to pancreatic cancer, and her father in 2009 due to malignant brain tumors. My family also has other individuals affected by this disease, from cancer of the bladder to breast cancer. I was given the opportunity to donate money, and I could not have thought of a better charity to receive the funds. If we could rid the world of cancer, then this world would be a much better place for everyone.
Charity: Dane County Diaper Bank
Reason for Charity: My charity of choice to receive the Michael F. Simon 125th Anniversary December Giving Event is the Dane County Diaper Bank. After recently being reconnected with a longtime friend of my family, I learned that her daughter started this AMAZING organization in 2017. Originally started as a small collection of donations to send to families reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey has now grown to help families and neighbors here in Dane County. Public assistance programs don’t help with diapers. In fact, they are considered a “non-essential” item. 1 in 3 families in America struggle to afford diapers. 13% of children under the age of 4 in Dane County live below the federal poverty line. All babies and toddlers deserve to be healthy with a dry diaper. A parent should not have to worry about providing this basic need to their child. To supply an adequate supply of diapers cost between $70-$80.00 per month on the average. It simply breaks my heart to think of all the families that are struggling and by simply supplying some diapers would lighten the load for them. Perhaps we can’t change the whole world, but we can touch a few people. Sometimes the smallest gestures are the greatest. PAY IT FORWARD, make the world a better place for someone. Thank-you to Michael F. Simon for providing me with this wonderful opportunity. What an awesome way to end our 125th anniversary year of celebrations and to start the New Year off on a “happy” note for a family or two.
Charity: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin
Reason for Charity: I have chosen the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin to receive my Michael F. Simon Giving Back Champaign donation. The reason that I chose this charity is because my father suffers from Alzheimer’s, which makes this organization very close to my heart. I have seen the damage of this disease take over my father’s life. It is truly heartbreaking to watch someone that you love suffering and separate from the person as you know them. Another very important reason for my decision in donating is that they offer support to the caregivers as well. I personally have watched my mother work countless hours at her place of business to return home and have a never-ending job of caring for the needs of my father. If I could have a dream come true, it would be to one day find a cure for this devasting disease that affects so many.
Charity: American Parkinson Disease Association
Reason for Charity: The American Parkinson Disease Association is my charity chosen to receive the Michael F. Simon Builders 125th Anniversary Giving Back Campaign. I have chosen this organization, as my bother is living with this devasting disease. More than 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease. The APDA is the largest grassroots network dedicated to fighting Parkinson’s disease. Founded in 1961, APDA has raised and invested more than $171 million to provide patient services, educational programs, elevate public awareness, and support research to help end this disease. Although the cause of the disease is yet unknown, I dream of a day it is no longer a part of this world.
Reason for Charity: Although the charity that I have chosen for my $125.00 donation is GRATEFUL, they wish to remain anonymous.
Charity: The Waunakee Neighborhood Connection
Reason for Charity: I am proud to have chosen the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection as the recipient for my portion of the Michael F. Simon Builders 125 Year Anniversary Giving Back Campaign. I was introduced to the organization very soon after my family opened their business Breakout Apparel Co in Waunakee. They were able to provide clothing to the WNC that was used for children in the community that might not otherwise get spiritwear. Helping in the family store allowed me to learn of the great work that WNC provided for those in need and by connecting directly with the organization to provide resources that were needed.
In 2013, when I started working at MFSB, I was asked if I could provide design assistance on a permanent home for WNC. Prior to this the organization was spread out over several rental spaces. Once the new single location was found and secured I was tasked with turning a former medical clinic into a viable working space for all of activities and programs that make up the WNC. I worked with staff, the building committee, and many of the volunteers to help establish a layout that could work at that time and be flexible enough for future uses. It needed to be a building that not only makes those who are visiting to get needs met, but for those who are making donations, or those who put in the countless hours of work needed to make the organization able to do all that it does.
I believe in helping on a personal level and since the WNC impacts the lives of the community “one story at a time” it is an organization that fits my charitable giving ideals. Being a part of their new building project still touches my heart and puts a smile on my face every time I pass by or stop in the building. On behalf of Michael F. Simon Builders I am honored to give $125 to the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection and to help many in the community of Waunakee.
Charity: Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
Reason for Charity: When presented with the opportunity to make a charitable donation, part of my decision was based on how much the funds would be able to stretch. I selected the perfect organization to do just that, make the dollar go a long way. It is my honor to present the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, as my chosen charitable recipient for the Michael F. Simon Builders 125th Year Anniversary Giving Back Campaign. Second Harvest is a hunger-relief charity organization, whose goal is to make sure no person in Southwestern Wisconsin goes hungry. Second Harvest has been working together with hundreds of local hunger-relief charities, since 1986. They have provided over 100 million meals to the 1 in 8 people, who are facing hunger in Southern Wisconsin. Every $1 donated to Second Harvest can provide 3 meals to persons, struggling to put food on their tables. It is highly rewarding knowing, that this donation through Michael F. Simon Builders will provide comfort to MANY. Especially, remembering all those who are struggling in our communities, during the holiday season.
Charity: Sauk County Humane Society
Reason for Charity: I would like to choose the Sauk County Humane Society for my $125.00 contribution of the Michael F. Simon 125th Giving Campaign Event. Animals have a special place in my heart, going back to my early childhood. My mom got me interested in animals, when I was young. My parents divorced when I was around 4 or 5 years old, and my father received custody of me. I only saw my mom maybe once a month, if even that often. She always had animals around her property. She was a dog groomer, dog breeder, and even owned a pet store for a few years. She would always take in an abandoned or mistreated animal, nursing it back to health. I went to live with her for a couple of years, when I was in 9th grade. She had a couple of horses of her own, but also boarded a few horses. I fell in love with riding and wished to have a horse of my own. Given the fact that a horse is neither an inexpensive animal to purchase or one of easy maintenance, all things had to be considered. My mom reached out to a few people, ending up finding a horse that was extremely malnourished and up for adoption. We went to visit and discovered a horse with an amazing, friendly personality. What a surprise, considering the treatment it had received in its life thus far. With a promise to my mom of taking care of it (which included nursing it back to health), she would purchase the horse for me. Of course, I agreed, and within a few months, it was no longer skin and bones. The horse became a great friend of mine. As the story is told, animals bring back great memories of my mom. I continue to have a passion to help animals that are in need.
Charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Reason for Charity: After learning that there would be a donation made under my name to any charity of my choice, the decision was not a hard one for me. I knew almost immediately, that I would enjoy if this donation went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. On top of this, I would also like to add $75.00 to the charity of my own money. This charity is leading the change in terminal illness in children and is beyond great because no patient ever pays for the care provided. No child should have to live in a hospital, let alone maybe never be leaving one. I would like to thank Michael F. Simon Builders 125th Year Anniversary Giving Back Campaign for this opportunity.
Charity: Goodman Community Center
Reason for Charity: I am excited to choose the Goodman Community Center for my contribution to the Michael F. Simon Builders 125th Anniversary Giving Back Event. Having previous experience with the organization, I can not sing out enough praises. At a time where things were stretched thin for me personally, they reached out a helping hand. The center facilitates a community atmosphere, identifies and responds to community needs, works with individuals and agencies to provide help as needed. They touch the lives of many people, ranging from children, young adults, families, and the elderly. I am so proud to be able to make this donation to the Goodman Community Center, so their work may continue to help build a stronger community.
Charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Reason for choosing this charity: I am proud to have chosen St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (St. Jude) as my charitable recipient for the Michael F. Simon Builders 125 Year Anniversary Giving Back Campaign.
“Your child has cancer”, I imagine no words strike more fear in a parent’s heart. Thankfully, my family hasn’t experienced this fright. For those families that have, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital helps to ease some of the burden because no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food. All a family has to worry about is helping their child live.
My husband, Jeff and I have been a St. Jude “Partner in Hope” for many years. This year, during Super Bowl week, Jeff chaired the 13th Annual Legends for Charity dinner benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event set a record for funds raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We were fortunate to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis in June and I was blown away by the sheer scope of what the hospital offers. It’s a magical place filled with hope and some of the strongest kid’s and parent’s I’ve ever met.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. I was 6 months old when St. Jude opened its’ doors. At this point in my lifetime, treatments invented at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have increased the survival rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from 4% before opening in 1962 to 94% today and have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares their research protocol worldwide and as a result more lifesaving treatments are available for children.
On Giving Tuesday, I choose to make a difference for children with cancer. I give thanks for the healthy kids and grandkids in my life and on behalf of Michael F. Simon Builders I give $125 to St. Jude’s Research Hospital to help those kids who are not. Parents shouldn’t have to focus on anything other than helping their child get better.