Simmons Hanly Conroy is proud to announce that the Simmons Employee Foundation (SEF) has raised $25,000 to support two area charities that help young adult cancer patients and children of workers harmed by serious work-related accidents, respectively. The money was raised during the SEF’s 11th Annual Golf Tournament on June 12 at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton.
SEF board members presented the checks June 25 to the recipient charities, 3 Little Birds 4 Life, based in Collinsville, Ill., and Alton-based Kids’ Chance of Illinois. Each charity received $12,500.
“This year’s tournament was an all-round wonderful event thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, employees and volunteers,” said SEF President Amy Fair. “Because of everyone’s generosity, these two charities will continue to be a credit to our local communities.”
Kids’ Chance of Illinois awards college scholarships to children whose parents have either been killed or seriously injured in work-related accidents. David Galanti, Kids’ Chance of Illinois board member and fundraising chair, said the foundation’s donation will fund five $2,500 need-based college scholarships for Illinois students.
“While workers’ compensation pays the family’s bills, the families are not in the same financial situation as before the serious injury or loss of a loved one,” he said. “We are grateful for the support of Simmons Hanly Conroy employees because it does make a difference, especially when the family has multiple kids in college.”
Kids’ Chance of Illinois was started three years ago as a chapter of the national organization Kids’ Chance of America. Galanti, a workers’ compensation attorney, said he hopes the charity will soon rival Kids’ Chance of Missouri, which awards approximately $100,000 annually in scholarships. Nationwide, the charity has given out over $5 million in need-based scholarships to more than 2,000 students since 1988.
Ashley Swip, founder of 3 Little Birds 4 Life, said she expects the foundation’s donation to fund eight to nine wishes for young adult cancer patients ages 18 to 40. Since 2010, the charity has granted over 70 wishes in 15 different states for 25 different types of cancer.
Upcoming wishes the group plans to grant include a trip to the ESPN ESPY Awards, a family camping trip, installing a fence, and throwing a “thank you” party for the hospital staff that cared for one cancer patient.
“Every wish is 100 percent different,” Swip said. “Thanks to the support of the Simmons Employee Foundation, we are going to be able to make a big difference in the lives of cancer patients around the country.”
Swip, a Collinsville resident and Granite City high school teacher, started 3 Little Birds 4 Life in 2010 after her brother Guy “Tyler” Gifford passed away from malignant melanoma at the age of 28. She worked with the St. Louis Cardinal’s to grant Tyler’s wish to attend a game and sit in the press box after she learned he was too old to qualify for Make-A-Wish’s services.
“We are the only organization in the country that grants wishes for young adult cancer patients,” Swip explained while telling a story about a recent call she received from an Omaha, Neb., hospital on behalf of a cancer patient there. Hospital staff told Swipe they were referred to 3 Little Birds by Make-A-Wish.
“SEF board members were impressed by both these two charities because of how much they currently do to help others,” Fair said. “As a law firm that helps both workers and cancer patients, supporting their work was something the SEF board felt strongly about.”
About Simmons Employee Foundation
In late 2004, the employees of Simmons Hanly Conroy, a national law firm headquartered in Alton, Ill., came together to create a single, streamlined way for them to give back to the communities they are so proud to call home. As a result of the employees’ creativity and heartfelt commitment, the Simmons Employee Foundation (SEF) has provided over $1 million of financial support and countless volunteer hours to local charitable organizations around the country.