- How does USCMAF collaborate with similar organizations on a local, regional or national level?
2. What are the main obstacles that inhibit the fulfillment of USCMAF’s mission and how do we plan to overcome them?
As with any not-for-profit organization, our first top priority is to raise funds that will allow us to fulfill our mission of obtaining medical treatment for qualified children in need. In addition to more traditional methods of fundraising, USCMAF has a Shop On-Line from which 100% of all profits go to USCMAF. We work with volunteers and have no paid personnel, our office space and professional services are donated and in the short time we have been active we have received generous donations from our supporters.
Our second top priority is locating children who suffer from disfigurements such as facial scars and birthmarks, cross eyes, club foot or who are missing limbs. These conditions often trigger embarrassment for family members as well as the children and there is reluctance to come forward and ask for help. In school-aged children emotional issues may have begun to arise from teasing and bullying, giving rise to depression and isolation from peers.
Our third top priority is partnering with medical personnel, hospitals, prosthetic specialists and therapists who will donate a portion, if not all, of the expense of the required treatment.
The main obstacle to fulfilling our mission is lack of awareness of USCMAF and how we can help children who are suffering from disfigurements. We are utilizing social media, press releases, flyers, personal mailings and college campus fraternal service organizations to promote USCMAF. The need to reach potential donors, children in need and medical personnel present opportunities for USCMAF to make our mission known, interact and coordinate with other agencies focused on children in the U.S. and work within the medical system. We view this as an opportunity to expand our network and deepen our relationships with those who are like-minded with similar goals.
3. What are your annual goals, needs and results? How do they compare to similar organizations in your community?
USCMAF began as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation in June 2011. We received our 501 (c) (3) status in October of the same year. Our goal for 2012 is to identify children we can work with to obtain treatment for a life altering disfigurement. Our efforts have been understandably focused in 2011 on raising funds and reaching out to various organizations with connection to low to moderate income families who may have disfigured children. Our goal for 2013 will be to obtain medical treatment for the children we have identified as qualifying for assistance. Based upon estimates, we anticipate a need to raise $40-50,000 during 2012. We focus our efforts on U.S. children. While we advocate for all children world-wide, there are many agencies and organizations that primarily work globally. There are disfigured children in the U.S. who are desperately in need of assistance and whose families cannot afford treatment of non-life threatening disfigurements. In this regard we are dissimilar to other organizations in our community and the length of time we have been in operation makes USCMAF unique as compared to other local organizations.
4. What is the level of volunteers attracted to USCMAF?
In addition to our board of directors who are all volunteers, we have been fortunate to work with a very talented volunteer who has helped launch us into the sphere of social media. We also have attracted students on several college campuses who donate their time and energy in promoting the mission of USCMAF. These talented young people have creative ideas and visions that will be invaluable to USCMAF as we move forward and their many hours of dedication to the development of USCMAF and its mission is the heart-beat that drives us.
5. How efficiently is your organization run? To what degree have you assigned day-to-day management responsibilities to a tightly run executive committee instead of relying upon your full board?
Given the size of USCMAF, we are not burdened with numerous committees and we have little internal red-tape. Developing relationships with medical personnel and agencies in the Cleveland, Ohio community is the responsibility of our founder and president; and our Shop On-Line and relationship building with Chicago-area agencies and medical personnel is under the aegis of our director. Our secretary/director handles all government reporting and filing requirements, our founder authorizes all purchases and expenses and our treasurer approves all payments, creating a segregation of duties within the organization without crippling our flow of action.
6. Who are your main competitors?
USCMAF’s main competitors are other organizations that work with issues affecting children, i.e. hunger, education, homelessness and medical conditions. However, we have not found organizations that work solely with children with disfigurements in the U.S. The reason USCMAF focuses on disfigurements in children up to age 18 is we believe a child who is teased, bullied, withdrawn and isolated becomes a primary candidate for school drop-out, suicide, drug use, gang affiliation and a general burden upon society. By treating the cause of a child’s feeling of not belonging due to appearance, that child will have the chance to develop to his or her potential, thereby becoming a contributing member of society. The next Albert Einstein or Bill Gates, Rosa Parks or Dolores Huerta may at this moment be sitting in a dark room, withdrawn and depressed because a disfigurement prevents him or her from ‘fitting in’ with or being accepted by his or her peers. The potential loss not only to that child but to future generations is immeasurable but we believe we can change that. one child and one step at a time.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming it.” ~ Helen Keller