I truly believe in philanthropy as a way of life. Giving is a part of who we are as human beings…the act of giving, small or large, instills great happiness in our hearts and it’s what allows us to effect positive change in an individual, an entire country or transform the world at large.
I am the Founder of four non-profit organizations (Little Leo Foundation, One In One Hundred, Big Love Little Hearts and The 4F Club – Fabulous Female Foundation Founders) and when I’m not busy running them I am a passionate advocate, volunteer and Board Member at many others.
A former jury consultant, my life changed while golfing on a business trip when I met 10 year old MacKinzie Kline. Noticing a cute logo on her golfbag – a heart with two stick figures on either side – I asked her what it was about and she explained that she had two open-heart surgeries by the time she was two years old and that it was her mission to raise one million dollars to fund surgery for children with congenital heart defects as spokesperson for The Children’s Heart Foundation. Needless to say I was very impressed that a 10 year old would devote herself to such a cause. Beyond merely being inspired by Mac, I was inspired by the cause as my sister passed away from an undiagnosed heart defect when she was 37 days old. I promised her I would look up the organization when I got home and make a donation.
It just so happened that the national office of The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) was within an hour of where I lived so I contacted them about both making a donation and volunteering. To make a long story short, one month later I was on the Board and a week after that I started volunteering a few hours in their office. That quickly turned into me leaving my profession and volunteering full time and I haven’t looked back since! Through a generous grant from Medtronic I got a world class education in Non-Profit Management and Marketing from Northwestern Kellogg as I moved from volunteer Board Member to staff as CHF’s Director of Development to Founder of my own NPO’s.
This blog is meant to be a resource to others rocking their own version of changing the world as well as a document of the joys, heartaches, difficulties and blessings of starting and running a non-profit (or four). My ‘expertise’ comes in the form of experience and often from my own missteps – I am happy to let you learn from both my mistakes and triumphs!
I am a breast cancer survivor, mom to an incredible boy and forever home to more than a few rescued animals. I love my family, friends, life, travel, music, food, wine, college sports and the world at large as much as I love giving and sharing.
Little Leo Foundation provides comfort items to children in the Chicago area who have just had open heart surgery.
One In One Hundred is an advocacy group whose goal is to create a future where every newborn is screened for America’s #1 birth defect – congenital heart defects.
Big Love Little Hearts helps children in developing countries get the lifesaving surgery they need to repair their heart defect.
The 4F Club is a Non-Profit for Non-Profit’s, fostering a community of collaboration that allows all of us do our missions better and faster.
You can reach me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Or find me on twitter: http://twitter.com/charityestrella