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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Compass to Care, The Mike & Sandy Ernsdorff Childhood Cancer Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Human Services, Patient & Family Support, Transportation Assistance

Mission: Compass to Care is dedicated to ensuring that under-served families can access life-saving cancer treatment for their children. We carry out this mission by scheduling and paying for cancer-related travel necessities so families can get their children from their homes to the medical center where they are being treated.

Results: Compass to Care alleviates the financial burden of childhood cancer-related travel costs so that families can focus on what’s most important: the health of their child. 2010 through 2012 served as the foundational years for Compass to Care. Over the past two years, we have strengthened our organization by: • Establishing strategic partnerships • Diversifying our revenue stream • Improving our cash flow • Enhancing our processes and procedures • Creating an internship program • Aligning a team committed to our future As a result, we are facing tremendous growth. In 2010, our inaugural year, we supported 5 children on 27 journeys. WE WERE ECSTATIC!! In 2011, we grew to support 17 children on 114 trips. This year, we have already supported 40 children on 318 trips to the hospital for treatment. And we keep growing!

Target demographics: Children under the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with cancer, are currently in an active treatment regimen, must travel at least 60 miles to get to the medical center for care and whose families demonstrate a financial need for assistance.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 50

Programs: We have one program, to be a cancer travel navigator for children who have cancer and their families so they can get to the hospital for treatment that can save their lives.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jen_56

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compass To Care has become very near my heart in the affect it has made on families struggling to keep their child alive through an awful time. I love involving my daughter in the reason we help this organization as she has had a classmate fight through leukemia and is winning that fight.

Donor

Rating: 5

Compass to Care is one of my most favorite places to contribute my giving dollars. First of all, they are a lean, well run organization. So I know that a huge percentage of my money is going straight to the kids and families who need it. I also LOVE the fact that I can give money throughout the year if fairly small chunks and know the exact difference I can make. If I give a hundred dollars, I know exactly how many tanks of gas that's going to buy. It feels good to know that whatever I give starts making a difference in that very moment.

AgathaK

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became involved with Compass to Care almost two years ago and have been on its Associate Board ever since. Since the first time I attended a Compass to Care event, I've been so moved by the passionate work this organization carries out.

I'm most impressed by the organization's focused mission to help kids with cancer travel for treatment. It's such a practical and necessary need, and this organization's funding fills an important gap in support for cancer patients and their families.

Furthermore, I've had the chance to work closely with founder Michelle Ernsdorff, and I don't think I've met a more dedicated and passionate person in my life. She's so committed to this organization and speaks so genuinely about the families Compass to Care works with. I truly admire her unwavering focus on telling these children's stories and raising awareness for the need to help families traveling for treatment.

I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding nonprofit organization!

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a mother of a childhood cancer survivor I know first hand the hardships families are faced with in traveling to get care for their child. I am proud to be on the Board of Directors of Compass to Care to help other families like ours who need help with traveling expenses. The families are so thankful for our help as it is one thing they do not have to worry about and can focus on a cure for their child.

Daiyun Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During the last 6 months, I was an accounting intern in a Non-profit organization named Compass to Care, The Mike & Sandy Ernsdorff Childhood Cancer Foundation. It is a charitable organization that is dedicated to ensuring under-served families can access life-saving cancer treatment for their children. I helped to summarize current financial data by collecting and documenting information and prepare financial report. The most creative part of the internship was to analyze the operating activities. Based on the donation income and expense, I gave some advises on the charity events and future operation goals. Moreover, I helped to arrange some charity events of the organization. Every time we achieve the donation goal, I feel like helping more and more families. All my efforts would pay off.

Paul111

Board Member

Rating: 5

I write this review on the day I am celebrating my 26th year as a cancer survivor. Through the great work of Compass to Care, I am able to give back - give children the same opportunity I had as a kid with cancer to have a chance at life.

As a child I was lucky to live close enough to a hospital that was capable of treating my rare form of cancer. Most children aren't as lucky, but they deserve the same opportunity and chance to beat the disease as I did. Compass to Care provides that opportunity. They help children and their families with the means to get to the hospital deemed necessary to save their life. I am honored to be part of this amazing organization. I am honored to do my part to support children with their family on the life-saving journey.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We feel so fortunate to have gotten in contact with Michelle Ernsdorff and Compass to Care! Our son, Van was diagnosed last October with Brain Cancer; Van underwent a 13 1/2 hour craniotomy to resect his tumor. Following recovery from surgery Van's treatment plan would consist of 6 weeks Proton Therapy and 14 months Chemotherapy. We were extremely overwhelmed with our son's diagnosis and had no idea how we were ever going to be able to afford the travel costs and care! Chemotherapy was an hour drive each visit and Radiation was 2 hours away. We were able to find Lodging near the Proton Treatment Center that was for patients and would cut our travel time in half, however it still would cost money. Compass to Care enabled us to stay near the treatment center, with their help we were able to primarily focus on the care of our son with that financial burden lifted. We are forever grateful !!

Lisa304

Donor

Rating: 5

I am the Principal of Neil Armstrong Elementary School. The students at my school love to participate in charitable giving and activities and I suggested Compass to Care. The students held a car wash last year and again this year to help other children fighting cancer. It was amazing to see how Michelle took the time to personally visit our school, meet the students, explain about the work of Compass to Care, and give the students information and materials to promote the work of the organization. It was one of the few times that I think the students actually understood first-hand how their actions and giving were going to make a difference in someone else's life. The students understand how it cost money for gas, for restaurant food, for parking, etc. and they knew their donations would make a difference. We plan to help Michelle's organization every year!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Michelle and Compass to Care were such a great help to our family with the expense of transportation for my daughter to receive treatment for childhood cancer over 2 hours away. Without their help we would have been burdened with such a financial hardship under already difficult circumstances. Michelle was always in touch with us through out treatment and I cannot express how thankful and grateful I am for the help of Compass to Care.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This charity aims to help children with cancer, via enabling them to attain treatment. Compass to Care provides financial assistance, transportation, etc. to the families, so that their children can get the specific type of treatment they need. These children live very far away from the specialists who can treat their specific type of cancer. This makes Compass to Care so very much important for these children, and their families.

Working alongside the staff, I can confirm that they are very optimistic, perhaps because they know that positivity is what drives an organization, such as this, forward. We are goal-oriented, and we are always looking for more ways to help more children and their families and recruit more people willing to carry out our mission with us.

It is an honor to work for Compass to Care, for their mission is noble; I have read the gratitude of those who directly benefited from the actions of Compass to Care, and it only aims to multiply this sentiment as more children are treated as the days pass by.

Review from Guidestar

Advisor

Rating: 5

Compass to Care is a life-changing organization for children with cancer and their families. I have been associated with Compass to Care for over a year and during that time, I have been continually impressed with the assistance, love, and support that Compass to Care provides for their families. And they truly are THEIR families. Michelle Ernsdorff, the CEO, personally gets to know each of the fifty or more families they have already helped or are currently helping. Michelle is providing the leadership to make this a successful charity for years to come. Michelle not only brings solid business acumen to the organization, but she brings a love and passion that is second to none for Compass to Care and her cause. In addition to Michelle, the Board of Directors and other volunteers of Compass to Care are extremely passionate and helpful to making Compass to Care the best it can be. Compass to Care is doing great things and I expect to see Compass to Care as a leader in childhood cancer organizations for many many years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I initially found Compass to Care through Idealist.org, and later met with Michelle Ernsdorff, CEO of Compass to Care. Upon meeting Michelle, I was immediately impressed with her strategic vision and contagious passion. What this nonprofit has accomplished in 2 1/2 years is, by all standards, outstanding. I greatly admire C2C and Michelle's tireless work to help alleviate families afflicted by childhood cancer of the psychological, emotional & financial burdens that can come with traveling to access life-saving treatment for their child. I am confident C2C's future rapid growth as it expands to meet the great need for its services.

Giorgi C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got to know about the cause of an organization earlier this year, and when I pictured what the compass to care was doing I realized the importance and helpfulness of it. By volunteering as an accountant I got to take a detailed look of efforts the organization has taken to support families in the need of financial support. These numbers have increased over the last year and I hope it is only going to continue in this trend due to increasing donations that is going to flow in to support families in the need of financial assistance. No matter how much the organization will grow, there always will be a demand for the assistance and there is always going to be a need for donations, therefore it is always going to be important to be donating for compass to care because this is the main way to support families in the need of help. I would like to say couple of words about the founder and CEO, Michelle Ernsdroff, who has put a tremendous effort and set aside her personal life in order to truly dedicate all her time to compass to care. I am sure that her passion and drive will continue to bring success for the organization and therefore give a little relief to the families who have kids with a cancer. Thanks

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of Directors for Compass to Care as the Treasurer since inception. When I first was told of the idea of Compass To Care, I had no idea the magnitude of the financial problems these families face trying to cure their child of cancer. The founder, Michelle, had a dream to give back to families that are going through the same devastation her family went through when she had cancer as a very young child. Although I was around as our family was traveling back and foth to Mayo Clinic, I was too young to really understand the magnitude of how it affected us financially. Michelle took her idea of Compass to Care and ran with it. Within months she had received her 501(c)3 and left Corporate America. Michelle has done such a tremendous job of forming a connection with each and every family. Not only does she make sure the family is paid in time for their next trip, she has taken a direct interest in each and every child. I have never seen someone take on a project like Compass To Care with such determination and passion. Sometimes it seems not only is the foundation a means to making travel plans met for these struggling families, but also an individual cheering squad for each child. I am proud to be a part of Compass To Care.

shawn_dunn

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met founder and CEO, Michelle in first grade and our friendship continues today. While I can tell you all of the great things about my friend, I am enthused to speak about Compass to Care and all of the great things they are doing to help children and their families who are battling cancer. When you hear the stories of the families who need money to travel to save their child's life, when their focus should be on curing their child; it is heartbreaking. I find that Compass to Care is able to ease the financial burden of travel expenses, so the parent's main priority can be their child and not how they are going to afford the next trip to the hospital. I have found my time volunteering with Compass to Care very rewarding personally and it is definitely on my top-rated nonprofit list!

Missy L.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I met Compass to Care recently through a professional connection and have been thoroughly impressed. I have been working with nonprofits professionally since 1999 and can say without hesitation that Compass to Care should be on the Top-Rated Nonprofits List. With a lean staff and many volunteers, Compass to Care is able to provide a desperately needed service (funding for transportation to children's cancer treatment) to those who most need it. As someone who understands the inner workings of organizations, I can say without hesitation that Compass to Care is a well-run, well organized, efficient, and mission focused organization through and through.

Chris83

Donor

Rating: 5

I discovered Compass to Care about 2 years ago when I met the founder, Michelle Ernsdorff, at a community event. I heard her story and the story of the children and families C2C serves. I was moved by the impact Michelle and C2C are having on the lives of these families. I have attended several Compass to Care events and I've met the children and families that Michelle and her team are serving. The families are truly inspirational. I haven't been able to give nearly as much as I wish I could. But even the amounts I do give have an impact. It makes me feel great knowing that even a hundred dollars can make a huge impact on the journey of a single family. My hundred dollars can help pay for several tanks of gas or a couple nights in a hotel room or a few meals along the way. Over the past two years of being a part of C2C - and I do very much feel like I AM a part of C2C - I have felt like I have been able to help Michelle and her team make an important difference in the lives of these amazing families. There are lots of great reasons to give to a charity. I give to C2C because of the mission, because of the incredible challenges that these families face, because of C2C's commitment, and because Michelle makes me feel like my role, modest though it is, has an impact on these families. We all want to make a difference in the world. In supporting C2C I KNOW I'm making a difference.

Patricia Y.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I truly believe without this organization, our family would be suffering from financial hardship. Since our grandson was diagnosed with spitzoid melanoma, the Balentyne family has traveled to MD Anderson, 1000 miles, several times since March 2012 and will still be traveling every 3 mos. until May 2013. Without Compass to Care support, it would be financially stressful for all of us. As a family, we would do anything for our children and grandchildren, no matter what, but Compass to Care has helped with the burden of traveling. Their help took some of the stress away from this whole experience. It was comforting to talk to a person whenever there was a concern with traveling and issues were immediately resolved. We could not have done it without this wonderful organization. Thank you very, very much. The Balentyne family

Client Served

Rating: 5

Michelle at compass to care made it possible to take my son to MD Anderson in Texas so he could get the best care possible for his rare cancer. We couldn't have done it without them! They are a true blessing!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently attended a fundraiser for Compass to Care and decided to become a volunteer. I was overwhelmed by the much needed work being done by this organization. I had never heard of an organization addressing the needs of families who need help getting treatment for their child who has been diagnosed with cancer. We don't realize the challenges this might present. Often the best treatment needed, is away from the home area. If a family does not have enough money...how will they afford the transportation, lodging and food to save their child? This is where "Compass" comes to the rescue.They access financial need, then go to work providing everything needed to help that child and family. The founder, Michelle Ernsdorff, was such a child whose family needed the help to save her life. They had quite a struggle helping their daughter. Michelle and her family now want to make sure that no other family has to go through what they endured. This is a cause that we should all embrace!