Riley Children's Foundation Awards $10,000 to Blessings in a Backpack - July 13, 2009

Record Number: 5224
Displayed from: Jul 13, 2009 , until: Aug 13, 2009

The Blessings in a Backpack weekend food program offered in Fort Wayne Community Schools was chosen to receive a gift of $10,000 from Riley Children's Foundation, Indianapolis, Indiana. Blessings in a Backpack was selected in part because Fort Wayne Community Schools' students actively raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children through the Kids Caring and Sharing program, a special project of the Indiana Association of School Principals. In 2008, FWCS students and staff raised $31,738, making it the largest "Miracle Corporation" ever. This year FWCS raised $29,155. "Blessings in a Backpack meets an important community need and also represents the close relationship between Riley and the Fort Wayne Community School system," said Stephen Bariteau, Vice President of Development for Riley Children's Foundation. "Ultimately, our relationships in Indiana communities will allow us to expand expert medical care, breakthrough pediatric research, leading facilities, community education and advocacy programs for children." Riley Children's Foundation initiated a Statewide Strategic Plan in 2007 to educate and build awareness throughout the state about Riley Hospital. The Northeast Indiana Leadership Team, which chose Blessings in a Backpack to receive this gift, is composed of individuals representing grateful patient families, donors and local businesses. "The Riley contribution will feed 125 children for a full school year," said Mike Gouloff, Chairman of the Board for Blessings in a Backpack. "The need to provide food for children in Fort Wayne is greater than most people think, with more than 20,000 children qualifying for free or reduced price lunches in Fort Wayne Community Schools." Blessings in a Backpack is a non-profit organization that provides food to children and families in need. Food is distributed through a network of volunteers and school officials on Fridays before children leave for the weekend. It began in Indiana in 2007 with one school in Fort Wayne and now serves three schools Adams Elementary, Fairfield Elementary and South Wayne Elementary. Riley Children's Foundation is dedicated to the health and well-being of Indiana's children through its philanthropic leadership in support of Riley Hospital, Camp Riley and the Riley Museum Home. As Indiana's only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of children, Riley Hospital has provided compassionate care and comfort to children and their families since 1924. Children from all 92 Indiana counties visit Riley Hospital and its regional clinics throughout the state more than 220,000 times each year. Riley Hospital's partnership with Clarian Health and its strong affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine make Riley Hospital for Children the leader in pediatric care in the state and the region.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.