A Note from Co-Founder, Todd Storch
“Happy New Year! We are thankful to announce that 2013 was a very busy and wonderful year. With so many great things that happened, it was difficult to decide what to highlight. For starters, we want to bring special attention to our incredible volunteers. Without their help, we would not be able to accomplish anywhere near what we do. We would also like to extend an extra special thanks to our in-kind partners that so generously provide us with helpful resources.
Additionally, a big thank you goes out to our individual and business contributors that help fuel the fire for us to accomplish our mission each and every day. And last but not least, a huge thank you to all of our supporters that continue to help spread the word about Taylor’s Gift, encourage organ donor conversations and registrations to ultimately help those touched by organ donation.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this year such a success!”
With 2013 behind us, we are so grateful for the abundant opportunities and blessings that it brought. In January we kicked off the year by sponsoring Jonathan Finger - one of “Taylor’s Keepers” (the five amazing people that received Taylor’s gifts) - to ride on the Donate Life Float at the 2013 Rose Parade. In April, founders Todd & Tara Storch were featured along with Patricia - another “Taylor’s Keeper” - in a People Magazine article as part of the “Heroes Among Us” series. Meanwhile, OPI Taylor Blue sparked a worldwide organ donation awareness movement through the Paint it Forward campaign. In the fall, Taylor’s Gift founders were invited as Keynote speakers for an event at Texas A&M and Tara was presented with the Texas A&M Women’s Legacy Award.
Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers that have helped make this year such a success. Keep reading (and clicking) to learn more about the many events and happenings that took place in 2013!
Through our partnerships with Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) and Live On New York we are able to provide immediate relief for struggling families touched by organ donation. Read about the Hidden Heroes at STA
This year, the program has helped pay phone and utility bills, assisted in covering funeral and cremation expenses, and provided gift cards for groceries, clothing and other necessities to families in both Texas and New York.
Partnering with Nora’s Home we have made a three year commitment to their “Adopt-a-Family” program! Nora’s Home, based in Houston, gives pre-and-post-transplant patients and their families a comfortable place to stay during the transplant process at little to no cost. Read about the Nora's Home partnership
On September 19, 2013 we participated in North Texas Giving Day! With the help of Firehouse, we had fun marketing the day as “Givemas.” We raised nearly $10,000, all of which went directly to fund the Legacy Gift program in Texas.
Recipients of the Legacy Gift program have reached out to us, sharing their gratitude for the assistance. The words are a touching reminder for why we do our work here at Taylor’s Gift. Read about the Gift of Giving Legacy Gifts
“After my sisters death, I didn’t know how much further my finances could be stretched. My sister had no insurance, my mom was trying to get here and the children had needs that I couldn’t meet. Thank you for helping with our gas and electric bills. Words cannot express my gratitude toward Taylor’s Gift Foundation and the people who help when everything seems so dark.“
"I want to thank Taylor’s Gift Foundation with all my Heart for paying for the cremation. We were in Texas visiting my son and grandson. She and I were to get married next week. We were looking at wedding dresses when she had a massive stroke. They did CPR on her and got her heart back pumping but could not get her to breathe on her own. I didn’t know she was a organ donor [and] I registered today. I will get my family and her family to register also. Thank you very, very much. Taylor’s Gift Foundation helped us tremendously."
- Legacy Gift Recipients
- Moving forward, our plan is to continue helping families in both Texas and New York each month in 2014.
- Working with our current OPO partners, our goal is to provide assistance to a minimum of 24 families.
- With hopes to expand the Legacy Gift program to all Texans, we plan to build new partnerships with OPOs across the state.
From helping at events and fundraising-to doing behind the scenes work and beyond-our volunteers mean the world to us! We are so incredibly grateful for all of our wonderful volunteers who help make the work of Taylor’s Gift possible. Thank you volunteers!
A way to encourage students to go above and beyond academic and athletic accomplishments, Taylor’s Gift scholarships were awarded to High School seniors giving back in unique ways in their local communities, portraying an “Outlive Yourself” spirit. In 2013, we partnered with high schools in participating cities - Coppell, TX and Naperville, IL - awarding a total of seven scholarships.
Stay tuned for blog posts from our Scholarship winners!
Sporting Clays Tournament
Held at the Dallas Gun Club, the second annual Sporting Clays tournament was a fast-growing event sponsored by a number of terrific organizations.With nearly 150 shooters, the event was a huge success. Having George Dunham (of The Ticket) along with his band, The Birddogs, topped off the event with some great entertainment.
4T Volleyball Tournament
Volleyball was a passion of Taylor’s, and this very important tournament was yet another sell out. With the relaxed atmosphere of four players on each team, there were no refs or whistles, only fun. We also brought back "Random Acts of Kindness" where players helped write encouraging letters to patients waiting for a transplant.
In it’s fourth year, the annual Taylor’ Gift Golf Tournament was another big success. With fabulous weather and a great location (Brookhaven Country Club), the nearly full course of players set out to help raise money for our mission. Thanks to great food by J. Macklin’s Grill and Macklin’s Catering, our taste buds were as happy as the players on the greens.
These are events that are hosted by other individuals or organizations that raise money for Taylor’s Gift. Here are a few highlights!
Dallas Stars Night
For the third time, The Dallas Stars welcomed Taylor’s Gift back to the arena. Highlights included an auction for autographed Taylor Blue wrapped practice sticks, Mike Modano signing a Taylor Blue tie and segments promoting Taylor’s Gift throughout the night.
We returned to Naperville for another amazing event hosted by Nicole Suchevits and friends. Over 300 people came to support the event with Honorary Hosts Jarrett and Trisha Payton. Senator Michael Connelly and a number of other dignitaries were also a part of the event.
J. Macklin’s Grill
Local Coppell eatery, J. Macklin’s Grill is a huge supporter of Taylor’s Gift. Hosting a fundraiser in April, the restaurant contributed a portion of sales and had a number of activities and promotions for Taylor’s Gift and organ donation during the festive event.
Twelve local Walgreen’s stores promoted Taylor’s Gift Foundation through the month of July. Information was provided at each register and the sales associates helped encourage support of the foundation to customers.
A very wonderful group of people gathered to help financially support the organization in an intimate setting. The fabulous dinner and setting made for an amazing night.
Saks Fifth Avenue New York Style Show
Saks Fifth Avenue New York hosted a stylish fashion show with Taylor’s Gift as the beneficiary. The event brought increased organ donation awareness to New York and introduced some amazing new friends to Taylor’s Gift.
Other 2013 Grassroots Events included: Fish for Life, CHS Sidekick 5K Run, 3rd Annual Firehouse April Foos Tournament, CCA Powder Puff Football, and Back-to-School Spa Day.
When OPI Nail Lacquer created “Taylor Blue” just for Taylor’s Gift, it sparked a worldwide movement. This exclusive, limited edition nail polish helped us ‘Paint It Forward’ by encouraging Taylor Blue supporters to spread the message of organ donation and Taylor’s Gift via social media. The colorful campaign was wildly successful - the largest partnering OPI has had with a non-profit; reaching thousands of people across the world and creating countless #OutliveYourself conversations.
- Proceeds helped launch our Legacy Gift program, assisting families in Texas and New York
- Over 12.7 million media impressions were made! See all the cool details here.
Some of the biggest places Taylor Blue was featured included the Jeff Probst Show, a seven story electronic billboard in Times Square, on Canada’s top television and radio stations, and much more.
- Selected as an “Inspirational Memoir” finalist for 2013 Books for a Better Life Awards
- Hit #1 on Barnes & Noble Nook Best Seller list
- Being provided to OPOs across the country to help encourage those that work directly with donor families.
- Many readers have reached out letting us know how the book has encouraged them, strengthened their faith, and provided hope in a season of struggle. Read about some of the reviews.
Keynote Speakers at Texas A&M Aggie Greek Awards Banquet
“Truly amazing! Todd and Tara touched many lives tonight!”
- Katy L, The Association of Former
Students – Texas A&M
Collin County Distinguished Lecture Series
“Having Todd and Tara speak to our College about organ donation exceeded our expectations. We are a death denying culture and so for our students to hear a personal story of loss and how organ donation impacted not only the recipients, but also the family…..was powerful! “
- Jennifer B, Professor – Collin College
TeamHOPE at Cook Children’s Hospital
“I think it was very helpful for the critical care staff to actually hear testimony from a donor family AFTER their organ donation experience. The staff only sees the family during their current state of devastating loss and I think hearing Taylor’s story helped the staff see just how helpful donation can be for the donor family as well as the recipient family.We actually have had ICU staff retelling Taylor’s story to some potential donor families. I think Taylor’s story will help other donor families through their journey and help them to make the decision to give the gift of life.”
- Tasha H, Donation Clinical Specialist – LifeGift
Southwest Transplant Alliance and New York Organ Donor Network
“Thank you for presenting to our staff. Your presentation hit home with the audience in a very personal and introspective way. Your speech has educated our staff from the donor family perspective on donation, and how they can improve communication with families. Your comments will be remembered for years to come, and you motivated our staff to continue the great work they do! I had several people tell me after that they were inspired, and they also went onto your website. I saw two ladies with Taylor Blue nail polish on too!”
-Alicia A, Donor Family Services Manager - New York Organ Donor Network
Other speaking engagements included local churches, book clubs, schools and medical professionals.
Looking Forward: 2014
We look forward to the many opportunities to continue to giving back in the year ahead.
We hope you will join us in 2014 by:
- attending events and speaking engagements
- making a contribution to further our mission
- helping fundraise for Scholarships, the Legacy Gift program, and our mission
- continuing to spread the Outlive Yourself spirit
Happy New Year! See you in 2014!