Thursday, June 20, 2024

Chicks for Charity Hosts Kickoff Event

Chicks for Charity will be celebrating its return at The Awesome Kickoff & Awards party on Thursday, May 30 from 6 pm to 8 pm. The event will be held inside the KeyBank Discovery Theater at Imagination Station. 

All are invited to join the Chicks for Charity celebration. The evening will include a short program where they announce the chosen charity, HOPE Toledo, two guest speaker presentations, including HOPE Toledo President John C. Jones and Christina Rodriguez, executive director of Mom’s House of Toledo, one of the Chicks’ past charities, the “Awesome Awards” and of course, in “Chick” fashion, ice cream, cookies, sandwiches and wine. Milk and water will also be provided for children.

Who’re the Chicks?

Chicks for Charities is a philanthropic organization dedicated to giving back to “small, under-the-radar charities” in Toledo. The organization is composed of women and young women that have a giving mindset. The organization chooses a local organization and charity that will receive all funds raised throughout the year. One hundred percent of the money raised goes to the chosen organization. 

The Chicks first began their philanthropic organization in 2006, when founder and trustee of Chicks, Martha Vetter’s PR marketing company was brainstorming how to raise money for a local nonprofit. One of the employees, who was at the time a young, 20-something art director, said “I don’t really have very much money to give. And besides, nobody ever asked me to give,” and the idea for Chicks was born. 

“That was like the lightning bolt moment,” Vetter said. “That’s what we should do. We should start talking to those people that want to give back but may not be able to write a $1,000 check or that $500 check or even $100 check. If we could all do something to give back then we put that money together and we could really make a difference, especially for small under the radar charities.

Just a few days later, around 250 women RSVP’d to attend the first Chicks luncheon, where the Chicks met for the first time to discuss and plan their philanthropy. A “happy accident” childcare mixup brought the first Junior Chicks to the luncheon, a pair of twins. 

The Chicks today

Both Chicks and Junior Chicks continued to help local charities for 10 years, until 2017 when Vetter sold her PR marketing company that was in charge of much of the work behind the organization. The Chicks took a hiatus until the summer of 2023, when Vetter decided to bring the organization back as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization after hearing firsthand the impact the Chicks made on local charities as well as the women and young women involved. 

When the idea of bringing the Chicks back was first being kicked around, HOPE Toledo was the first charity to come to mind.

“They do such amazing work and they do a lot of work with kids and helping to end generational poverty in our community, and we need it so bad that it became an easy thing to pick, for the first time,” Vetter said.

HOPE Toledo will receive all of the funds raised by the Chicks for the next three years.

HOPE Toledo

HOPE Toledo, the Chicks’ chosen nonprofit, has a mission of supporting and ensuring high-quality education “from birth to career” in Toledo, according to president and CEO, John C. Jones.

The nonprofit has two programs working to provide high-quality education to Glass City residents, including HOPE Toledo Pre-K and HOPE Toledo Promise.

HOPE Toledo Pre-K provides financial assistance and sliding scale tuition to Lucas County families and ensures Lucas County 4 year olds receive high-quality education. Twenty preschool providers around Lucas County are enrolled to offer these services. The HOPE Toledo Promise program offers free attendance to university, community college or trade school, including tuition, room and board, books and fees to Toledo scholars through the Promise scholarship program. Over 200 parents and students are currently enrolled in this program and 24 institutions participate in providing postsecondary education opportunies to students. 


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Both programs have seen substantial success. Currently 289 students have been served and 30.2% of these children are at the highest demonstrating category of kindergarten readiness assessment. Twenty scholars have completed post secondary programs, including Wakeso Peterson, the first four-year college graduate to receive a degree in the program. Peterson received his degree in architecture and environmental design from BGSU in April. 

“It means, one, promises made, promises kept. So we’ve made a promise,” Jones told WTOL11. “Our HOPE Toledo promise was a promise to these kids that they could graduate debt-free and then pursue what they wanted to do.”

Becoming a Chick

Becoming a Chick is easy, with no membership fee and few meetings, any woman or young woman in the Toledo area interested in philanthropy are invited to join. Chicks are only asked to commit to doing something fun to raise money, whether that is a small lemonade stand or a thoroughly planned fundraising event. 

“The purpose of chicks is not so much to support our charities. It’s really to engage young women and girls and women of all ages to participate and be philanthropic. Our whole goal is to help educate people on how it’s easy to be philanthropic and give back,” Vetter said. “Then, because we don’t want to keep that money, we always choose a charity to give it to, and we always choose one that we think is really benefiting our community. But the goal of Chicks for Charity is to help girls and women of all ages and backgrounds to learn the joy and dignity of being philanthropic.”

Tickets and more information are available at chicksforcharity.com/events/awesome-kickoff.

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