Last fall, StyleBlueprint Louisville held its second annual $5,000 Charity Giveaway, where readers voted for their favorite charity in our city. After four weeks of voting and narrowing down the field from more than 50 charities to 12, then to six, then three, and finally to one, write-in candidate Frazier Rehab Ironman Housing Fund emerged as the winner. It was an exciting four weeks, with the final votes being very close. Charities worked hard mobilizing their troops to get the word out to vote.
We wanted to recognize the efforts of the hardworking people behind these charities, so we recently gathered representatives from the top 12 charities for a photo shoot, which turned out to be a relaxing day of beauty, fashion, food and camaraderie. We met at the posh studio of photographer Adele Reding, which is located on a bustling stretch of Frankfort Avenue. Talented hair and makeup artists from Primp Style Lounge were there at the ready to make our guests look their best. We gathered throughout the day, enjoying food from Wild Eggs and The Cheddar Box. Clothing and accessories were provided by J. McLaughlin, Apricot Lane, Collections, Boutique Serendipity, Liv Boutique, Peacock Boutique, Clay & Cotton, cale & cole and Clater Jewelers.
This was not a harried or hurried photo shoot. In fact, it was relaxed and enjoyable, many of our guests already familiar with one another from being in similar lines of work. Everyone has a story to tell, and we were so thankful to listen to all of these people’s stories — we left feeling inspired and proud of everyone. These Louisvillians deserve to be celebrated for their dedication, compassion and commitment to our community.
Founder, Frazier Rehab Ironman Housing Fund
In 2012, Jason Dierking’s friend and Ironman training buddy Tom Morris was riding his bike by himself in Indiana when he flipped over the handlebars and laid on the ground paralyzed for three hours before being found. Tom ended up at Frazier Rehab, but struggled to find local housing and transportation so that he could complete his treatment. Knowing how critical the first year is for any treatment of this nature, Jason set out to raise money to cover the housing costs and, in the process, created the Frazier Rehab Ironman Housing Fund. Jason set a lofty goal of $100,000 and almost met it the first year. Now, more than four years in, Jason still works tirelessly to raise money for this charity, all while working at his full-time job as a student athlete strength and conditioning coach at the University of Louisville. Jason also finds time to train for Ironman races himself and is a youth mentor at Christ Church United Methodist. For all you dreamers out there, this charity was a write-in candidate, that made it all the way to the top. At the awards ceremony, Jason graciously gave $100 to each of the other top five charities, in thanks for their hard work.
Founder, Twisted Pink
After a devastating Stage III breast cancer diagnosis in 2013, Caroline Johnson successfully battled through her treatment. When she came out on the other side, she started Twisted Pink in 2014, with the mission to fund metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer research. Just to put things in perspective, Caroline told us that “the average survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is two to three years. In the United States, approximately 40,000 people a year die of metastatic breast cancer, and despite early detection, this statistic has not changed in more than 30 years.” Twisted Pink is run entirely by volunteers and just successfully hosted its second annual Twisted Pink Masquerade Ball to a sellout crowd.
Louisville Board President, 3 Little Birds 4 Life
3 Little Birds 4 Life was a write-in candidate, as well, and we were unfamiliar with its mission prior to the contest. They had many, many fans, though, and ended up finishing third in the charity voting. Turns out this charity is all over the Midwest, started by Kristi’s friend in St. Louis and solely run by volunteers. They help young adults ages 18 to 40 who have cancer, a group which she says has a big gap in resources, as they are too old for children’s charities and too young for elderly help. This charity helps fulfill the hopes of cancer patients, which is a very practically driven mission. Everything from helping with paying bills, home repairs, car repairs and child care — they do anything they can to “relieve stress” in these people’s lives.
Board Member, Kentucky Harvest
Tara Lewis has spent 15 years on the board of Kentucky Harvest, a charity near and dear to her heart. She said it was one of the first boards she ever joined because it was an organization about food, not just about raising money. Kentucky Harvest is one of the only food charities that deals with perishable food and getting it to people in need while it is still fresh. Director Marc Curtis, who prefers to stay in the background, was quick to recommend Tara for the photo shoot, and we immediately saw why. Tara’s dedication and common sense approach are an asset to any board. She told us that with as many people as Kentucky Harvest services, they only have one full-time and one part-time employee; the rest of the workload is entirely supported by volunteers like her. That’s impressive!
Chief Marketing Officer, Blessings in a Backpack
Nikki Grizzle has worked at Blessings in a Backpack since 2012, and she started her job the week that People magazine published a story about the organization. Needless to say, she hit the ground running and has never looked back. What many people may not realize is that the national headquarters of Blessings is in a strip center in St. Matthews, where it all started. This humble organization, which can feed one child for $100 a year, serves more than 87,000 children in 47 states and provides a backpack of food for the weekends for children in need.
Chief Development Officer, Kosair Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Foundation
This busy mother of three is not only the chief development officer for Kosair Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital Foundation, but she is also running for Metro Council this year. Lynnie was a nurse at Kosair Children’s Hospital for years, so she is passionate about her field and about making a difference. Kosair Children’s Hospital is the only hospital of its kind in the entire state of Kentucky that is dedicated to providing the best medical care and services for children only. This hospital serves more than 170,000 children a year, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation helps raise funds for Kosair Children’s Hospital.
President and CEO, Maryhurst
Maryhurst, started 172 years ago by the Sisters of Good Shepherd, is a multiservice facility that treats and houses the most traumatized children in the state, mainly girls. Judy Lambeth started as a student intern at Maryhurst, a campus for teen girls, 41 years ago, when it was located at 22nd and Bank in West Louisville. She later became a social worker, a therapist and finally an administrator there, having served as the CEO for the last 26 years. Many years ago, Judy herself adopted an adult woman that she met at Maryhurst when she was a teenager; she now has three grandchildren and could not be more proud of her family. Judy’s dedication and leadership are legendary here in Louisville, with many of our guests introducing themselves to her over the course of our day.
Abbreial “Abby” Drane
President and CEO, Uspiritus
Abbreial “Abby” Drane is the president and CEO of Uspiritus, a nonprofit that provides a “full range of programs for abused and neglected children and young adults, each designed to help every young person reach permanent self-sufficiency.” Having held this position for more than a year, Abby brings unique perspective to the role, having changed homes 14 times over the course of her childhood. She persevered and finds her role at Uspiritus to be a perfect fit.
Executive Director, Dreams with Wings
As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, Jenifer Frommeyer has firsthand knowledge of services needed for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dreams with Wings was started in 2000 by a group of people looking to expand the residential options for this group, as well as people with autism. They now support 225 people in 14 residential homes and 22 apartment buildings, while offering an impressive menu of programs including an adult day program, summer camps, behavioral support and a variety of therapies, just to name a few. Dreams with Wings placed second in our giveaway contest and had a fervent list of supporters throughout the venture.
Activities Director, St. Joseph Children’s Home
St. Joseph Children’s Home, open since 1849, has a mission of “giving children a home” and offers housing, schooling and programming for youth. Joann Childers, the activities director at St. Joseph’s, claims she has the most fun job of anyone getting to plan and provide activities and fun for the children at St. Joe’s. She’s been at the home for 10 years. Having grown up in a tough home environment, she believes sports saved her, playing volleyball and basketball in college, and that makes her work even more personal. On average, children who come to St. Joseph’s, many with nothing — no pictures, no possessions, usually stay there a year before they are placed with a family.
Director of Community Health Support, Cedar Lake Lodge
Cedar Lake Lodge, started in 1970 by a group of Louisville parents of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is like a second home to Troy Tingle. In fact, he calls himself a “lodge brat,” having grown up there, in a manner of speaking, since his mother, Sherian Tingle, is a longtime employee of the lodge. After joining the Marines and later working as an acute care nurse at Baptist East, Troy returned to Cedar Lake Lodge and is now the director of community health support there, work that fulfills what has always felt like a calling. Cedar Lake Lodge currently provides support and residential housing to more than 260 people.
Development Director, Kentucky Humane Society
Alisa Gray has always loved animals. So much so that when she was in college at the University of Kentucky, she interned for more than a year at the Lexington Humane Society. She ended up with a degree in social work and did work for a spell as a social worker. She missed the animals too much, though, and returned to the Lexington Humane Society and eventually moved back to her hometown of Louisville to work for the Kentucky Humane Society, which is the largest no-kill animal shelter in the state. With their 10 adoption centers in the Louisville area, they have adoptable animals within 15 minutes of wherever in Louisville you live. And another fun fact from Alisa: “Most people know us because of dog and cat adoptions, but KHS was founded in 1884 to provide water troughs to carriage horses. Last year, we brought horses back into our mission programs, and we are now helping Kentucky’s at-risk companion or recreational horses.”
Thank you to these 12 inspiring Louisvillians who show us how to really make a difference in this great community. While we are on the topic of charities and making a difference, don’t forget that the mayor will host the Fifth Annual Give a Day from April 16 to 24, where he asks everyone to “give an hour, a day, donate blood, give food, clothing or simply help a neighbor.” We you’ll keep these charities in mind for your Give a Day service plans!
A huge thank you to Adele Reding for letting us spend the day at her studio while we worked and played. The pictures are gorgeous!
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