WORKING AT WOOLPERT
Nonprofit Organization Created by Woolpert Leader Experiences Successful First Year
Joshua’s Great Things, a nonprofit partner of Woolpert’s, created and headed by a Woolpert employee to help battle pediatric brain cancer, has experienced an amazing first full year of operation, raising more than $34,000.
Created in 2013 by Woolpert project director, Doug Brown, and his wife, Rhonda, Joshua’s Great Things has not only established a unique identity, but has also developed into a fully operational nonprofit organization.
“We’ve been working on all fronts to grow this,” Brown said.
To expand, the leaders of the organization, including Brown and family, developed and hosted several organized events in 2014. With unique, family-oriented themes including the Doll and Me Picnic for children and parents, a 5K and Fun Run with over 200 runners, and a Fall Family Festival with more than 250 attendees, the organization found incredible success. Each event brought in a portion of the $34K total.
“We want to start traditions that families will want to attend year after year,” said Brown.
Local organizations, including Woolpert, have joined to help Brown’s effort, sponsoring events to help raise money.
Woolpert’s Jeans Week raised $3,500 for the organization, and Party Tyme Cruzers, a classic car club, helped raise nearly $4,000 during its various car shows throughout the year.
When discussing lessons learned from Joshua’s Great Things’ first year of operation, Brown had two main insights.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for volunteers, sponsors and helpers. What we are doing is important. We were amazed by the positive response from businesses and friends. Also, don’t underestimate the details and the amount of work required for an event. Plan ahead to get more people involved.”
Where Donations Are Going
According to its website, Joshua’s Great Things donates all money raised to the following organizations:
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF)
Joshua’s Great Things Foundation gave $4,000 to PBTF at the August 2014 Ride for Kids in St. Louis. PBTF is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of childhood brain tumor research.
Joshua’s Great Things has committed to supporting pediatric brain tumor research at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In September 2014, the organization gave $10,000 to the pediatric oncology research lab. This support helps fund a study led by Dr. Karen Gauvain. Gauvain is investigating why only some brain tumors respond to Avastin therapy. Avastin is currently the first choice of treatment for many children with relapsed brain tumors. The identification of biomarkers in those children who are not likely to respond could save those children precious time and unnecessary treatment while advancing the understanding of how Avastin works. The funding helps support a researcher, biostatistician and materials used in the research.
The Cause Behind the Fight
In 2003, Brown’s two-month-old son, Joshua, was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of brain cancer: Desmoplastic Infantile Ganglioglioma. When his tumors recurred in early 2004, Joshua underwent chemotherapy. His tumors remained stable until March 2012 when they returned as the higher-grade glioblastoma multiforme. At that time, he started radiation and chemotherapy.
Amid great despair, Joshua passed away in June 2013. Brown and his wife created Joshua’s Great Things Foundation with the mission to find a cure for childhood brain cancers through aggressive research and to provide support for the children and families dealing with this disease.