The mission of the Forrest Spence Fund is to assist with the non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-South.
Empathy. Understanding. Hope.
Ways to volunteer for the Forrest
Spence Fund include the following:
· Collect gifts for our Annual Christmas Toy Drive.
· Wrap gifts for our Annual Christmas Toy Drive.
· Serve on a Forrest Spence 5k race committee.
· Participate in the Forrest Spence 5k Race on August 27, 2016.
· Serve monthly at our FSF Family Dinner at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
Other Ways to Get Involved:
While these essential volunteers provide the backbone of the Fund, creativity is the key if you have the desire to help but cannot serve at any of the above. Here are just a few ideas to get your ideas flowing!
· Create or purchase centerpieces or decorations for the monthly Le Bonheur Family Dinners. We use about 10 tables each time.
· Have a children’s book drive.
· Prepare a children’s craft for children at our monthly Family Dinner.
· Collect family appropriate magazines for care bags.
· Provide small items for the monthly Unit Adoption Program to honor Le Bonheur of the staff.
· Make baby blankets.
· At your next family or friend gathering, have each guest bring an item for a family care bag from the list. You can assign a specific item to each person or choose 1 particular item and ask all guests to bring that item.
Forrest Spence 5k
August 27, 2016 at Memphis Botanic Garden
Christmas Toy Drive
Donate new toys to the Forrest Spence Fund and help children who are hospitalized over the holidays have a wonderful Christmas. We plan to collect over 1200 toys for children in Mid South hospitals.
No Show Ball
On the day of the No Show Ball the event comes to you in the form of a dinner in a cooler bag dropped off at your front door. The contents inside the cooler will include a casserole, salad, dessert, and bottle of wine.
2nd Annual Spring for Forrest Cocktail Party and Auction
April 2017 - Memphis Botanic Garden
The Forrest Spence Fund begins with the story of Brittany and David Spence's first child, Robert Forrest Spence, born on September 10, 2007. Shortly after birth Forrest developed complications and was transported to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he fought valiantly for life for 55 days before his illness overtook him. While in the PICU, Forrest and his family underwent an indescribable journey of highs and lows. Amidst the daily struggles, the Spences were met with a compassion and love that gave them hope and helped them survive the most difficult journey of their lives. It was in these times that they tasted deeply of the kindness of friends and perfect strangers. It was often that kindness that sustained them, as they grew weary.
In light of this experience, the Forrest Spence Fund was founded in 2007 to assist with the non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-South.
The Spences view this as a way for them and for others to support families dealing with similar difficult situations and to give back to regional children's hospitals like Le Bonheur, where the amazing medical staff fought for Forrest and continues to fight for thousands of other children each year.
In 2009, the organization received its charter from the state of Tennessee and became a federally recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit. Since that time, the Forrest Spence Fund has continued to grow and expand its work across the Mid-South, touching the lives of many.
The work of the Fund can be divided into 4 categories. (1) Individual and Family needs, meeting specific needs of children and their families as they battle illness and its impact on their lives, (2) Institutional Support, helping organizations like Le Bonheur provide family-centered care, (3) Counseling, connecting families with counselors who can help them through the difficulty of facing critical or chronic illness, especially those that have lost children, (4) Financial Grants, awarding families up to $5,000 in need-based grants.
Each year thousands of families across the region are confronted with the challenge of childhood illness, leaving a profound impact. With your help and the help of others, our organization will continue to come alongside these families in a time of need and often desperation, and support them, love them, and guide them through their journey.
This year the Forrest Spence Fund
experienced tremendous growth in each of its programs: individual
patient/family support, institutional support, counseling, and financial grant
awards. The number of patients and their families who received support has
grown significantly as area hospitals have become more aware of the broad areas
of need that we are able to address. In addition, our Family Dinners have served over 3250 meals to
families, as each month 35 volunteers invite hospitalized families at Le
Bonheur Children’s Hospital to enjoy a freshly prepared meal and evening away
from the hospital room as a quick diversion from their difficult journey. The
Forrest Sibling Room, which provides care and support for siblings of
hospitalized children, has been moved to a more prominent space at Le Bonheur
and has seen an increase in utilization. In addition, the number of families
receiving counseling or financial grants doubled from 2015, and has included
families from numerous cities across the region.
In order to accommodate the growth, the annual Spring for Forrest auction and dinner raised over $83,000. Our No Show Ball delivered dinner to the door of patrons and contributed over $20,000 to our operating budget.
In 2016, we will continue to focus on growing organizationally as well as extending our services to the growing number of families in need. Our implementation of a new database system, updating our strategic plan, and expanding our board will continue our commitment to helping hospitalized children and their families. To that end, a new program, 40 Week Celebration Bags, will support families and Le Bonheur with developmental toys for premature babies reaching the 40 week mark. This program developed as a response to requests by child life specialists in the NICU.
As always, the Forrest Spence Fund remains committed to traveling the difficult road with families through individualized care and support.
The Forrest Spence Fund serves each family in a unique way often encompassing several of our services. As a growing organization, our ability to track data occupies our top priority. This year the implementation of a database will occur allowing us to view all information in one place and maximize administration efforts. Similarly, an additional 10 hours of administrative support each week is needed ($9,000) for new projects. This infrastructure maintenance will also allow us to expand existing programs. Currently, our counseling and grant programs cannot serve the amount of families requesting our assistance. We would like to increase our counseling budget by $6500 and our grant program by $20,000 allowing at least 15 families to benefit from these programs. With a 56% increase in impact point from 2013 to 2014, the need for volunteers become essential. We hope to add 50 new volunteers to our volunteer driven organization.
Forrest Spence Fund Needs 2016:
1. Implementation of database
2. Administrative support-10 hours weekly, $9,000
3. Counseling budget increase- $5,000
4. FSF Grant Program budget increase- $20,000
5. Volunteers- 50 new
The Forrest Spence Fund extends its services to any child in the Mid-South. This medical community provides care within a 150 mile catchment area including the western third of Tennessee and Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and the bootheel of Missouri. Our populations include over 50% African American children and an increasing Hispanic population. We also treat children, as does St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, from areas of the United States and other countries for specialty care.
The Fund strives to identify specific needs of families with critically or chronically ill children. As an introduction, we supply patients and families with care bags that include helpful supplies for their stay in the hospital. These bags provide comforting items that are necessary during their stay; acknowledging this difficult time and availing us as a resource. Each bag includes information about our Fund and establishes the beginning of a relationship with the family.
For those families that contact us or establish a relationship with us, we look for ways to support them in the hospital or at home, based on their unique situation. A few examples are:
Monthly Family Dinners in the hospital
Gas cards for the long drive to and from the hospital
Meal vouchers for the hospital cafeteria
Purchase of cribs, car seats, and other necessities for the child
Covering the cost of a phone or electricity bill
The second focus of the Fund is to work with area institutions such as Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital to recognize and meet non-medical needs. Over the years the Fund was able to purchase the following items for Le Bonheur:
Fully fund the Forrest Sibling Playroom with toys and furniture
Monthly dinners for family and friends of patients who are admitted at Le Bonheur
Medical-grade recliner for the Mothers Nursing Room
Magazine subscriptions for the Mothers Nursing Room
Medical wagon for transportation of children
Hands-free pumping bras for nursing mothers
Boppys for Neonatal Intensive Care babies
Kodak digital camera with printing dock
1000 tote bags, notebooks, and Lovies for newly admitted babies
2000 coolers for nursing mothers to transport their breastmilk home safely
Microwave for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The Fund also provides items off the wish lists of Units and Floors in the hospital such as:
Goodies and treats for the Le Bonheur staff
The illness and loss of a child is one of the most difficult things a parent or a family can experience. One of the goals of the Forrest Spence Fund is to connect families with counseling and support groups. If a family loses a child, we refer them to professional Christian counseling and pay 100% of the cost. We are working together with the Christian Psychological Center in Memphis to make sure that families receive the emotional care that they need. We will help families find a counseling center if they are from outside the Memphis area. The counselors help families in dealing with the stages of grief, coping with the loss, and the impact of the death on their family. This is such an important step in healing for the families in our community.
The FSF Grant program provides financial grants to families with children suffering from critical or chronic illness and are able to demonstrate need. These grant range from $500 to $5000 per family. For more information, including rules and eligibility and an application, please email us at email@example.com or send a written request to:
P.O. Box 770478
Memphis, TN 38177
The Forrest Spence 5K happens in
August. Our family-oriented race raises over $103,000 with more than 1,300
participants and utilizing 150 volunteers.
Please join us Saturday, August 27th at Memphis Botanic
Garden. To register, visit
The Spring For Forrest Cocktail Party and Auction generated $83,251.33 in April 2016.
New this year, the No Show Ball consisted of a cooler containing dinner and a bottle of wine delivered to your front door. The success of this event in February 2016 enabled the Forrest Spence Fund to begin a new program, the 40 week Celebration Bags.
August 29th was a beautiful day in Memphis. Volunteers
arrived in the early morning hours. Overton Park was ready for our 1350+
guests, with 100 additional walk-ups. Over $100,000 was raised to
benefit hurting families in our community!
The same people come back year after year, and encourage their friends, family and co-workers to attend as well, contributing to the steady growth we see annually in numbers. In the team category Christ Methodist Day School was given the top honor with 94 participants.
In the 8 years of the Forrest Spence 5k, the race has increased in revenue and racers each year. As stated previously, the majority of our operating budget originates from the proceeds of the race. Because of the race success, we can fund additional grants, counseling and assist more families each year.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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Memphis, TN 38104