Ever since my mother passed away on September 11th, I've been wanting to set up a foundation and/or charity in her name. Not really knowing a lot about the appropriate laws and financial regulations, this is something that has been on the back burner, but never too far from my thoughts. I thought that I'd write up some of my thoughts on my idea and see what good advice I get on how I can move forward with this. I would like to at least get this kicked off with some phase running before September 11, 2011 (the 10th Anniversary of her death). What follows is very high level and I would certainly welcome help in filling the details.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent chemotheraphy and radiation treatment and even had a Mastectomy, but the cancer returned and spread. She died in her home in the Las Vegas area sometime between when the first and second planes struck the World Trade Center, so my mother's death will always be tied to September Eleventh. She was only 55 when she passed away.
Given the nature of her death, you can understand that I would like to raise money for cancer research and to be able to wipe out Breast cancer. But my mother was so much more that the cancer and that is why I wanted to also make the foundation/charity multi-faceted to reflect more of the person that she was and remains in my memory and in the memories of those that knew and loved her.
Because my mother died of Cancer (and her mother as well), I'd like to see money raised for research, hospice care, and treatment. Giving donations to the Race for the Cure, American Cancer Society, and other possible Cancer organization. We had a very good experience with a hospice organization in the Las Vegas area and I believe that dealing with Cancer is hard enough for family and loved ones and would like to see more done to alleviate the pain and suffering that they go through as a result of dealing with terminal situations. Even when it isn't terminal, it still is a lot of stress and not easy to deal with.
My mother was always fogetting where she put things and we found out that she had early Alzheimer's Disease. If the Cancer hadn't gotten her, is is likely that her memory would have further detteriorated. I'd like to see donations made for research, care, treatment of Alzeheimers
My mother was a nurse and she loved working in the NICU (Neo-natial Intensive Care Unit), taking care of the babies that were born prematurely. She worked in several doctors offices and practices before she finally got her first nursing degree. She started studying to be a nurse at time in her life when most people already had established careers and most peple wouldn't dare to start another profession. Looking back this was really an extension fo what she had done much of her working life and was a lifelong goal. I'd like to see donations made for NICU research and care as well as a scholarship program for people studying nursing at the University of Michigan and Hurley Medical School (she received degrees from both institutions). I'd further like to see money applied for the betterment of nursing as a profession and for those working in nursing.
My mother loved kids and babies. You'd see her face just brighten up when she held a baby or when she was talking to little kids. She had a special talent or quality in this area. I'd like to see some money raised for orphanages and foster care, so that more kids can get a better start in life and have a family that loves them.
Anyone that knew my mother, knew what an animal lover she was. I just have to chuckle when I think of all the pets she talked my dad into having, when I know that he felt tied down with all the responsiblitly that goes along with taking care of a lot of pets. He always gave in because he loved her that much and she was so determined. I'd like to see some money raised to go to animal shelters and promoting the adoption of animals. I'd also like to see that money goes to ensuing the ethical treatment of animals.
I can imagine having a website where people can make donations, primarily through Paypal and possibly credit cards. I'd like to see a Nobel Prise style endowment, so that the Foundation can continue long after I'm gone. Because I'm living in Germany, while much of my family lives in America, I see the need for some sort of international set-up. I'd like to make is possible for people to be able to give no matter where they are.
I want to keep administrative cost as low as possible. At the moment I'm not a rich man, nor do most of my family have a lot of money buring a hole in any of our pockets, so I'd like to set up something that gives as much bang for the buck as possible. I'm also raising my family and need to be able to have time for them and to earn a living substancial enough to be able to support them, so I want to keep the financial administration and time required as low as possible.
In talking to a fanancial advisor a few months ago, he suggested linking to other charities and foundations as a way of leveraging what they've already put into place and so that I didn't need to build everything from scratch. There are some charites that I respect and would like to work with them to help realize my dream of setting this up and making it successful. At the end of the day I want to raise money for causes that were close to my mom's heart and help to perserve her memory along the way.
Do you have any ideas on how I can pull this off or do you know of someone that I can get in contact with about this? Feel free to put your comments after the article or you can write me at systems.overload.timeATgooglemail.com.
Photo Credit: A glowing Nannette Heron with grandchildren, Caitlin, Jakob, and Dallas taken in 1999.