Anju Brodbine, a local Troy, Michigan parent, was reading an article on how Hilary Duff had adopted a school in Los Angeles for a new program called “Blessings in a Backpack”. Anju knew that she couldn’t just put down the article and forget about it because the thought of hungry children kept haunting her. She wondered if there were children within her own community on the free and reduced fee lunch program that could benefit from such a program.
When she did her research, she was truly surprised to find out how many children, within a relatively affluent community, were on the free or reduced fee lunch program. It broke her heart to think that, while her own children were so fortunate, there were so many of her children’s peers that were unknowingly struggling to have a meal on the weekend. Further research has shown her that the number is growing at an alarming rate because of the downturn in the economy.
A contact was then made with the founder of the program, Stan Curtis, a past professional golfer, to learn the particulars of the program.
After the contact with Mr. Curtis Anju became convinced of the need and approached the North Woodward Community Foundation for technical and financial support to bring this program to the area.
A volunteer Steering Committee was established and chaired by Anju Brodbine to oversees the daily operations of the project including selecting the weekly menus, ordering of the food, arranging for volunteers to pack the backpacks and compiling year-end data on the program.
The North Woodward Community Foundation is a publicly supported, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, tax exempt charitable organization whose goal is to enrich the quality of life for our regional community.
Community Foundations are unique because they have the ability to raise endowed funds that are then invested and subsequently used toward grants to fund organizations, promote educational opportunities, assist with human services and maintain a strong community.
When Anju Brodbine approached the Foundation, whose mission statement reads “Investing in citizen driven initiatives to enhance the quality of life in the community through philanthropy”, the Executive Committee knew that this Blessings in a Backpack program was more deserving than just awarding a grant. The Foundation Board of Directors agreed in October 2007, to work with Ms. Brodbine to develop this program for a local School District.
A stable funding source is needed to fund this program differently than those used by other communities. Investigation showed that other schools around the country were funding this program on a yearly basis by a local sponsor. By this method the individual program at a school could be at risk if the sponsor was not able or willing to continue the funding.
The Foundation’s plan is to develop and manage a designated endowment fund for each school district as the funding source for this program. This will ensures that the funding will be in place for all future years.
Funds donated to the North Woodward Community Foundation endowment funds also qualify for a Michigan Tax Credit in addition to the deduction for a charitable contribution.
To learn more about the North Woodward Community Foundation click here.
Meijer management has agreed to work with this program using area stores to provide the food supplies at deep discounts for the backpacks.
Who We Are
The North Woodward Community Foundation manages the Blessings in a Backpack program component funds for participating school districts in Michigan. Through the association with this 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible and may be eligible for a Michigan Tax Credit.