The University of North Carolina’s Men’s Basketball team met at Target this week to shop for the families of Me Fine for the upcoming holidays. Each year the team chooses a different organization to shop for using the money raised selling the team-autographed basketballs in the fall. This is the second time they’ve chosen to shop for Me Fine Families and we are so thankful for that!
The Heels showed up with 18 basketball players with a budget of roughly $150.00 per person. The players were able to learn from Me Fine executive director, Joey Powell, about what these gifts really mean to the families receiving the gifts. “You’re giving these kids a Christmas,” he told the players before they began shopping. “Don’t take lightly that you are delivering them a Christmas. This may be their last Christmas, so you’re doing very meaningful work for these families.” After a powerful pep talk the players hit the aisles of Target to shop for the perfect gifts. Check out the video on Twitter!
The team not only shopped for the children on the list, they also purchased gift cards for the caregivers. The gifts and gift cards will be delivered to the families this weekend. Thank you so much to our UNC Basketball family for supporting the families of Me Fine this holiday season.
It’s #GivingTuesday 2019! Give the gift of gas this holiday season. Transportation is the number one barrier to children receiving the medical treatment they need. Help us meet this critical need by donating gas cards today! Purchase your gas cards online and send them to the address below! BP, Exxon, Sheetz, and Shell are just a few gas stations that have options to purchase gas cards online.
Please mail gas cards to:
Me Fine Foundation, Inc.
318 Blackwell St. Suite 130
Durham, NC 27701
Stories of Hope: Jeremy & Ashley F.
We at the Me Fine Foundation feel incredible gratitude and privilege to provide a platform for families to share their stories of hope during their child’s medical crisis.
Thank you to Ashley and Jeremy F. for offering us a glimpse of their family’s experience during their 7-year-old son’s treatment for very high risk ALL Leukemia.
On February 5, 2019, our world was turned upside down. Our oldest child, Mason, was admitted to UNC and by the morning of February 6, 2019, we had a diagnosis of leukemia. As a military family without family close by, we had to scramble to find help for our other two children, Emma (3 years old) and William (then 8 weeks old), who were not allowed to be at the hospital. Treatment started immediately and somehow now we are already 7 months in. We have had several scheduled and several unplanned admissions along with countless ER & clinic visits. I (Ashley) had to quit my job as a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse at UNC as a result of Mason’s diagnosis, so finances have definitely changed.
Foundations like Me Fine have helped us more than we can ever put into words. We had just built a home and had a new baby and then to add a cancer diagnosis for one of our children, life seemed so overwhelming. But, with help, the impossible has been made possible and we are so thankful! With a cancer diagnosis, there are so many unknowns and you truly have to live just one day at a time so it is hard to know how to ask for help. When foundations like Me Fine step in, it truly takes a load off the entire family.
As Ashley shared, a child’s medical crisis is an overwhelming journey that affects every aspect of family life, from child care to finances to daily schedules. Yet the helping hand of a friend, a neighbor, or a community organization like Me Fine can ease those burdens.
This holiday season, we’re grateful to our supporters, who have allowed Me Fine to serve families like Ashley’s for over 15 years. Thank you for partnering with us to bring hope to families when they need it most.
Event supports Me Fine Foundation’s mission to provide financial assistance, emotional support
Durham: Nearly 400 attendees filled the Cotton Room in Durham’s Golden Belt on Saturday, October 26, 2019, to raise more than $264,000 for children and families who are facing medical crisis in local children’s hospitals. Me Fine’s annual Gala, sponsored by Centrifuge Media, generates almost a quarter of the organization’s revenues and continues to bolster the organizations it grows.
For the 12th time, funding from this year’s Gala will provide financial assistance and emotional support to families with children receiving treatment at WakeMed, UNC, or Duke Children’s Hospitals. Me Fine assists with expenses incurred after a child’s diagnosis which can accumulate throughout the duration of treatment: hospital parking, gas, and meals. Additionally, the organization assists families with ongoing major life expenses where a lack of payment may put a family at risk for eviction, food insecurity, or utility disconnection. Furthermore, Me Fine funds vital psycho-social support programs for families and pediatric patients to help navigate their treatment journey.
“As we’ve continued to grow and expand our scope to meet the needs of our community, the Me Fine Gala remains a consistent source of excitement and revenue,” said Joey Powell, Me Fine’s Executive Director. “No matter where we take the event or what our goals are, our supporters repeatedly rise to the challenge to make the Gala a success.”
Katie Haynes received the 2019 “Hero For Life” Award, Me Fine’s highest honor. The award recognizes those who go above and beyond to help critically ill kids and families in ways that run parallel with Me Fine’s mission. Jess Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope, author, and public speaker served as keynote for the event and moved the crowd to do more for their community.
“This year’s event showed just how much success can be had when everyone plays their part,” said Jaclyn Starritt, gala Chair and board member. “Our donors understand what we do and why it is so important, and we’re so thankful for the sponsors, volunteers, and attendees who played a role in such a powerful evening.
Changing Lives sponsors included The Adam Dickinson Realty Group and Carolina Wealth Partners. Cisco supported the event at the Building Communities level. A complete list of sponsors can be found at mefinegala.com.
Me Fine Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring families whose children face a devastating medical crisis are able to receive financial assistance, emotional support and other necessary resources to sustain the loss of income due to the dramatic change in lifestyle while undergoing treatment at Duke, UNC, or WakeMed Children’s Hospitals. For more information, please call (919) 202-0086 or visit mefinefoundation.org.
Stories of Hope: Art S.
We at the Me Fine Foundation feel incredible gratitude and privilege to provide a platform for families to share their stories of hope during their child’s medical crisis.
Me Fine Foundation thanks Art S. for graciously offering us a glimpse into his family’s experiences during his daughter’s treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma at UNC Children’s Hospital.
“Four months ago, [my daughter] was saying she wanted to go to school at UNC Chapel Hill. She said she wanted to study pediatric oncology nursing. This was all before she was ever diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. Once she was diagnosed, she really wanted to go through chemotherapy because she wanted to have the experience to share with other people.
“Life is crazy since we found out about [her] cancer. We’ve learned to be extremely flexible in our schedule, where before all this started, our calendar was planned four months in advance. Now, we go week to week. We have all sorts of extra medication, shower chairs, wheelchairs, crutches, a “go” bag, etc.
“We wish people knew two specific things [about having] children with cancer. First, there are so many caring people praying and giving to kids in need. Our first hospital visit we left home with 3 bags, one for each of us. We came home with twelve bags from all the foundations and donations we received. Second, this is a journey. We hope in the day we finish and we’ve beaten cancer, but we learn and grow through the whole process.
“Additional costs for us come mostly at home & travel, things like grabbing a quick meal on the road or buying a new removable shower head. Those little things tend to add up. Our insurance has covered everything so far. We’ve been fortunate to have a church and people around us to help support us. Another thing we wish people knew is they are not alone. We’ve had more people who have been through childhood cancer journeys give us advice and point us in the right direction.”
As Art described, life can change quickly with a child’s diagnosis. That’s why Me Fine provides an emergency safety net for families year-round with our financial assistance program — and why we’ve customized our Hope for the Holidays program to support families in the midst of a medical crisis during the holiday season.
We call our family adoption team the Dream Team because of their willingness to be “on call” to provide gifts for a family experiencing a new diagnosis or sudden hospitalization this holiday season. Learn more about the Dream Team and how you can get involved with Hope for the Holidays here: mefinefoundation.org/holidays.
As the 2019 Me Fine Gala grows closer and closer (get your tickets at www.mefinegala.com!), we’ve had an outpouring of support from local fashion and food bloggers who want to help you choose the right outfit and eat the best snacks.
Still undecided on what to wear? Let Jordan and Ashley of JordAsh guide you to a 20’s inspired look via their blog. Natalie and Ashley of The Polished Pineapple (@the.polished.pineapple) also highlighted the event and is highlighting tons of gorgeous 2019 fashion finds on Instagram.
Raleigh boutique Charlotte’s also highlighted it’s gorgeous jewelry and accessories that can add ‘20s inspired – or just bling inspired – flavor to your outfit on Instagram. We can’t wait to see what everyone is wearing the night of the Gala. The fashion doesn’t end at the end of the night, though, because this year’s silent auction is packed full of jewelry and accessories – including a gorgeous handbag from The Avenue. Check out @LyndseyZorich on Instagram to see all of The Avenue’s gorgeous offerings.
Once you’re on Insta – be sure to check out the feed for @HouseofLandor – our own board member Claudia Cadet (@tallclauds) got to play dress up in vintage clothes and will give you great inspiration!
In it for the food? Check out www.bitesofbullcity.com for all the best places to eat in and around Durham. Amber, the genius behind that blog, also gave the Gala a shout out on Instagram for all the food and food-related auction items that will be delighting taste buds on Saturday.
Finally – because we’ve got something for everyone – if you’re a sports fan you may have heard our pal Will Brinson on 99.9 the Fan telling his listeners to check out the Gala. That’s because this year’s auction is sports packed – we’ve got 4 great seats to a Panthers game, an exclusive Carolina Hurricanes Experience, a Durham Bulls package that includes your own batting practice, 2 front row Champions Club NCSU basketball tickets, Duke basketball tickets and so much more.
There’s something for everyone at this year’s Me Fine Gala and the area’s influencers are spreading the word. Visit www.MeFineGala.com to get your tickets now!
Me Fine Foundation
Request for Proposals – Agency of Record
Introduction and Executive Summary
One in three families with children experiences significant financial burden at some point due to medical care costs, and roughly three out of every five personal bankruptcies are byproducts of insurmountable medical debt. Since 2004, Me Fine Foundation, Inc. (Me Fine) has addressed this overwhelming need by providing both financial and emotional support to more than 2,000 families with one or more child who is experiencing a medical crisis. We work with families whose children are being treated by Duke Children’s Medical Center, UNC Children’s Hospital, or WakeMed Children’s Hospital.
We are seeking a communications partner to help us with an overall communications strategy and monthly implementation on earned and owned media. The purpose of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to solicit information and offers for these services from partners interested in working with Me Fine.
Request for Proposal Timeline and Protocol
If you plan to participate in this RFP, please email Joey Powell (joey.powell at mefinefoundation dot org) with a copy to Laura Brewer (laura.brewer at mefinefoundation dot org) no later than the Non-Mandatory Notice of Intent to Participate due date shown below. Please submit all your questions in one email to the same email addresses. All questions will be answered in writing. Please submit questions by the RFP Written Questions due date shown below. Responses will be shared with all companies involved in this RFP. Please be aware that Me Fine is not committed to any course of action as a result of its issuance of this RFP and its receipt of a proposal from you or any other company.
Distribute RFP September 30
Non-Mandatory Notice of due October 7 Intent to Participate
RFP Written Questions due by 5:00 pm EST October 11
Me Fine written Responses to October 18 questions to Interested Partners
RFP Proposals due by 5:00 pm EST October 25
Me Fine to complete review November 4
Me Fine Overview
Me Fine believes:
1) Children and families come first.
2) Family dignity must be preserved and stories must be honored.
3) Inclusivity is paramount in delivering our mission.
Our Mission: to provide hope through emotional support and financial assistance to families whose children are receiving care at North Carolina partner hospitals.
Our Vision: to build and sustain partnerships to eliminate barriers so families can focus on their children.
Me Fine has four full-time staff members that include an executive director, director of development, program director, and general manager of the Second Hope Shop, a thrift store that helps cover operating costs. We also have an active volunteer board of directors with 16 members.
More information is available at www.mefinefoundation.org
At a recent board retreat, increasing brand awareness was identified as a top priority for a majority of staff and volunteers. Our organization is looking for a professional partner to help us spread the word about the great work Me Fine does in our community to increase our donor base, attendance at our fundraising events, and support network.
We anticipate working with a partner on a monthly retainer basis, with an increased spend during months preceding major events (March and September). The partner should help with the development of an annual communications plan, ongoing recommendations and implementation, and social media support and implementation. The partner should plan to work with Me Fine’s executive director, Joey Powell, as its main point of contact. Others within the organization, including staff and board members, may also attend meetings, approve content, etc.
-Immersion session or kickoff
-A communications plan that includes earned and owned media ideas, including specific pitches and social media moments.
-Monthly earned media implementation support.
-Monthly social media support.
-Other support as mutually agreed upon based on partner ideas and recommendations and Me Fine’s available funding.
Please provide a proposal in electronic form by the RFP Response Due date shown above to Joey Powell (joey.powell at mefinefoundation dot org) with a copy to Laura Brewer (laura.brewer at mefinefoundation dot org). The proposal should be in PDF format.
In your proposal, please outline how you would approach the project and a few of your ideas. Full spec work isn’t required, but please briefly describe how you’d approach overall strategy, message development, insight-driven creative work that will speak to our audiences, and distribution on channels that will reach them. Messages should be positive and engaging and, if they highlight the families we serve, respectful.
Please also share information about your organization, your history, your processes, and your mission. References and information about why you’re interested in this project also are preferred. Please also provide up to three work samples, especially any related to previous non-profit work.
The willing bidder, if any, will be selected solely in the judgment of Me Fine’s executive director with the input of Me Fine’s staff and board or directors.
Me Fine’s annual budget is $15,000. We recognize that this may be lower than other private sector clients and we are willing to work with our partner on sponsorship and other publicity opportunities to offset cost differentials.
We also recognize that this entire scope may not be possible within our budget, and we welcome partners’ feedback and recommendations. Please tell us what, in your opinion, we should prioritize to increase our brand awareness and grow funding support in the Triangle.
Despite the emotional upheaval of their child’s treatment, parents and caregivers graciously offer a glimpse into their families’ experiences at one of the Me Fine Foundation’s partner hospitals. Here, we highlight the story of 7-year-old Bristol K. and her mom, Jenny K.
We at Me Fine feel incredible gratitude and privilege to be able to provide a platform for families who are undergoing incredibly difficult moments. Each time you give of your resources and time to the Me Fine Foundation, we encourage you to bring their words to mind. Your compassion makes a difference, as Jenny K. bravely attests in her family’s Story of Hope:
“Before our daughter received her cancer diagnosis life was busy, but normal in every sense of the word. School, dance, church, family time and repeat. Life was full and chaotic at times, but it was still complete with enjoyable day to day moments. After getting Bristol’s cancer diagnosis life has been so different. It is still full, but now it’s full of doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy, lab draws, scheduled medications at home, and always wondering if today will be a good day or not. Cancer takes away the normalcy of life that we tend to take for granted and replaces it with so many questions, fears, and uncertainties. So far we have completed 8 weeks of chemotherapy out of a total planned 67 weeks. It’s a long journey just to work to get to “cancer free” status, then will follow repeat scans and tests every 3-4 months for years. Having a kid with cancer steals a family’s normality. It steals their peace of mind. It replaces moments that used to feel routine, like going to church or dance, with thoughts of: “should we take her today”, “will it make her too tired”, or “I don’t know if anyone there might be sick”. It makes us think so much more cautiously. Additionally, having a sick child almost forces me to be a stay at home mom in spite of having a job. You can’t preplan well enough of when to pick up shifts because you never know what the next day will hold. It adds strain and worry with how to pay the bills and puts more weight on my husband’s shoulders to be at work full time to help try to make ends meet. This results in him missing out on the majority of her medical appointments and chemotherapies each week. To even further the difficulties that come along with cancer, we have a son that needs us too. He is 5 and he needs his parents’ (and sister’s) time and attention as well. We are daily working to keep life as balanced as possible for them both. They both deserve equal amounts of time and love shown to them. We are so diligent in trying to ensure neither feels less love or attention, which sometimes results in pretty tired parents at the end of the day.
Ever since Bristol was diagnosed, we have had people ask what they can do to help. This is such a loaded question. We don’t want to ask for help. Both my husband and I have always been so independent, worked hard at our jobs, and we have been able to support each other and our family well; however, cancer takes freedom away. It makes us need help when we are not accustomed to asking for it. Every bit of help makes a huge difference in our lives now. Food, travel expenses, mounting hospital bills, miles of travel each week to the clinic, and missed work all affect us directly and our finances. Support such as the gas cards and Walmart cards from Me Fine help so significantly. As simple as it may seem, it helps us breathe a little easier. Another week covered; another grocery bill handled… among all the worries and stressors that we cannot control, having some of that burden removed is indescribably helpful.”
Annual financial sponsorship would serve as a dedicated funding stream to provide financial assistance for requests related specifically to utility payment needs.
Durham, N.C. (July 26th, 2019)- The Me Fine Foundation is proud to announce that Raleigh-based Envirolink has agreed to serve as a sponsor for a utility assistance payment program. The $10,000 annual financial sponsorship from Envirolink would serve as a dedicated funding stream to provide financial assistance for requests related specifically to utility payment needs of families at Duke, UNC, and WakeMed Children’s Hospitals.
Me Fine Foundation is a local nonprofit committed to ensuring families whose children face a devastating medical crisis are able to receive financial assistance, emotional support and other necessary resources to sustain the loss of income due to the dramatic change in lifestyle. In 2018, Me Fine provided more than $22,000 for utility-related expenses. As the local population increases on top of unseasonably extreme temperatures, they anticipate this need to continue to rise.
“As Me Fine Foundation looks to grow and serve more families, we need strong partners. Utility payments are a significant part of the financial assistance we provide, so we cannot thank Envirolink enough for this alignment. We applaud the dedication to community and couldn’t be happier to have them join our mission,” said Matt Phillips, Me Fine Foundation’s Board Development Chair.
Envirolink has specialized in the management of water, wastewater, and public works services for governmental, industrial and private clients across North Carolina since 1997. Their timely contribution to Me Fine demonstrates their corporate philosophy of enhancing the sustainability of the communities they serve.
“We’re flattered to have identified Envirolink as our next partner in strengthening the community. They’ve chosen to empower Me Fine’s support of the families that need us, showing a real commitment to a more vibrant region. We’re so excited for this partnership and can’t wait to see it help us do more for families’ utility needs during their child’s treatment,” said Joey Powell, Executive Director of the Me Fine Foundation.
By Dr. Jaclyn Starritt, Ph.D., PLLC
Program Committee Chair & Gala Committee Chair
Me Fine Foundation Board of Directors
As a psychologist who specializes in working with children and adolescents, families are often coming to see me at a time of darkness; when they have a child who is acting out, emotionally fragile or contemplating taking their own life. I see if every day. I also hear the heartbreaking stories of families struggling to understand “why.”
I spent several years of my training working in our partner hospitals and witnessing first hand the helplessness and deep sorrow parents feel when they are not able to help their child. However, what I have also learned through my training and my work is children are the most resilient, they fight, they look for the good and they persevere. They teach me valuable lessons every day.
I often seeing parents having to make difficult choices, choices no parent should ever have to make. The families Me Fine serves are literally faced with life and death and the last thing that should be a worry is how to keep the lights on or getting themselves to and from the hospital so they can be where they belong.
As a psychologist, I am particularly passionate about the emotional support programs Me Fine offers. I started out many years ago having the honor of serving on the Striving for More board, which merged with Me Fine. I worked with the founder of that organization to honor the memory of her daughter, Colleen, and ensure that children were being taken care of beyond the medicine.
Hospital life can be isolating. Children are often finding themselves cut off from friends, activities and school for their own good but at a time where their life is primarily composed of these worlds. Helping normalize their journey, giving them a way to tell their story, a way to be heard is critical. I am so very honored to be part of making that happen and privileged to be working alongside a group of individuals who care as much as I do about these families in their darkest hours.
This is why I do what I do, to bring hope to families and let them know that they are not alone.