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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Starlight Children's Foundation - Global Office

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Patient & Family Support

Mission: Starlight Children's Foundation partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world.

Target demographics: improve the life and health of kids and families.

Direct beneficiaries per year: millions of children and their families

Geographic areas served: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Israel

Programs: Starbright World® online community (SBW) - The first-ever social network for teens with chronic and life-threatening medical conditions, and their siblings. Members connect globally with others experiencing similar medical journeys to create a vibrant, supportive community. Starlight Wish Lists - The world’s first technology platform of its kind links donors to healthcare facilities to fund unmet needs and improve pediatric care. Hospitals, clinics and hospices publish their Wish Lists on starlight.org and donors grant wishes for their facility of choice. Starlight Fun Center® mobile entertainment units - Equipped with the latest gaming system that rolls bedside in hospitals, Fun Center units provide distractive entertainment and the healing power of play to pediatric patients. Starlight Tablets - A critical resource for healthcare professionals to support the ongoing needs of kids while in the hospital, Starlight Tablets connect directly to the Starbright World community.

Community Stories

118 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

"We are proud to support Starlight Children's Foundation," said Todd Mulvahill, President of Papa Murphy's Seattle Co-Op. "Making a difference in our local community is important to Papa Murphy's and we look forward to continuing our support of children and families in the greater Seattle area."

Client Served

Rating: 5

“Starlight is so much more than just toys and games,” says Tanya Ybarra, M.S., C.C.L.S., a child life specialist at California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles. “Where you see a can of Play-Doh, I see a tool to help my pediatric patients understand how cancer cells form a tumor, and how we treat it to help them get better.”

1

Donor

Rating: 5

“Niagara cares deeply about children and their families and through our corporate giving we aim to support those who face insurmountable challenges,” said Kristen Venick, Director of Niagara Cares. “By partnering with Starlight Children's Foundation we are able to bring some fun and comfort to a child's hospital stay and distract them from the often daunting care they are receiving. We are proud to support this program in all of our Niagara communities.”

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Connecting with nature helps children heal. Whether they are learning to cope with a catastrophic injury or a life-changing diagnosis, medically-supervised camp experiences support and empower kids and teens as they gain independence and self-confidence and develop social/emotional, communication, and leadership skills. Specialty programs include those for burn survivors; children who require respiratory assistance; and children living with craniofacial abnormalities, cancer, kidney and liver disease, and other diagnoses. Help bring the joy of camp to kids in your community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

You have the power to stimulate creativity and help kids in your community heal. Art, music, and pet therapy can transform a child’s healing journey and improve health outcomes. Specialized therapists play an important role in a patient’s overall treatment plan, reducing pain and anxiety; improving motor skills and speech and language; enhancing self-esteem and confidence; encouraging self-expression; preparing patients for procedures; and teaching coping strategies that can help children recover from trauma, both emotionally and physically.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Because of the need for specialized treatments and equipment, caring for a pediatric patient can cost four times as much as caring for an adult with the same ailment. This creates a tremendous burden for the communities that financially and emotionally support these children and their families.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Kansas City Royals and New York Mets teamed up with Major League Baseball and Starlight Children’s Foundation during the 2015 World Series to support kids and families in local communities. The teams and the league donated two Starlight Fun Center mobile entertainment units to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York. Former team members and MLB executives joined with Starlight and hospital staff to unveil the new units to the delight of pediatric patients at each facility.

Client Served

Rating: 5

“Advocate Children’s Hospital is thankful for this generous donation from Astellas USA Foundation and Starlight Children’s Foundation. On behalf of the teens and children we care for throughout the Chicagoland area, we want to thank you,” said Mike Farrell, President, Advocate Children’s Hospital. “At Advocate Children’s Hospital, we focus on making our care environments safe, sustainable and engaging. This generous gift allows us to enhance our teen lounge and provide technology and design elements important to teens and their families.”

Client Served

Rating: 5

“At The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, our priority is our patients and providing them the highest quality care,” said Jon Hayes, CEO of The Children’s Hospital. “This means focusing on the healing of the whole child, and we’re grateful to Astellas USA Foundation and Starlight Children’s Foundation for embracing this goal with us by helping enhance and beautify the dialysis unit.”

Donor

Rating: 5

“Starlight Children’s Foundation and Astellas USA Foundation share a commitment to improving quality of life for patients and their families,” said Jeff Winton, president of Astellas USA Foundation. “We’re proud to play a supporting role in enhancing the healing experience for kids right in our backyard at Advocate Children’s Hospital.”

6

Client Served

Rating: 1

A little over a month ago, I would have given Starlight Children’s Foundation a 5-star review. Allow me to explain why this is no longer the case. For twenty years, Starlight had a program called Starbright World, which was a social networking site for sick kids. When I joined Starbright World earlier this year, I was very alone, having lost most of my friends due to my illness and disability. I couldn’t relate to any of my peers; I’d never even spoken to another person my age who used a wheelchair, much less someone who had my incredibly rare disease. I had no one to talk to about my intense and emotional experience with chronic illness. Everything changed when I joined Starbright World. I met wonderful, caring, supportive people who understood what I was going through and were happy to welcome me into their community. It was a place where I could share my experience, from devastating diagnoses to painful procedures to frustrating doctor’s appointments, without fear of judgment. It was the first time since I’d been sick that I didn’t feel alone. Whenever I needed support, I came onto the chat room, which was monitored by wonderful hosts and full of kids just like me. I made true friends, the likes of which I didn’t have in real life. Starbright World was the first place I would go whenever something wonderful or terrible happened. It was the only beautiful, innocent place I’d ever seen on the internet, and the only safe place I had in my life. I know I’m not the only one who felt this way. There were hundreds of kids like me who depended upon Starbright World for an outlet and a support system.

That was before this August, when Starlight announced that they would be shutting down Starbright World. They fired all of the incredible, giving, loving hosts without warning and gave us only three days notice before the site went dark. Sick, vulnerable, isolated kids, some of whom had been with Starbright World since the beginning, had their support system ripped away in less than a week. The effect was devastating. I was up until 4am three nights in a row, bawling my eyes out. One of my friends had a relapse of her illness from the stress. As kids with chronic illnesses, we already have enough stress and uncertainty in our lives! We weren’t even given an explanation; we were only told that there was no longer a need for Starbright World. We users banded together and desperately tried to save the site, proving that there was a need for Starbright World, but nobody listened. I sent emails and called Starlight Children’s Foundation, but I never got a response from either. They didn’t even send out emails to users, so those who didn’t log in during those three days didn’t find out until after the site was gone. We were completely abandoned and told that we should simply connect on Facebook. There are several reasons why this doesn’t work: 1) Facebook does not provide the anonymity and safety of a closed, monitored community, 2) many of the kids on Starbright World weren’t even allowed to make Facebook accounts, and 3) there is no chatroom where the kids can discuss about their experiences, and 4) it will not connect sick kids to each other in the future. The end of Starbright World was a travesty that hurt the very people it was designed to help. I am once again surrounded by people who don’t understand and can’t relate to me, and I feel more alone than ever. I can’t help but feel that Starlight Children’s Foundation doesn’t really care about sick children at all.

6

Client Served

Rating: 1

While Starlight Children's Foundation has a good overall message they do not have the best interest for the teenagers involved in their social media website "Starbright World." Starbright World is a Facebook-like website for teenagers with chronic illnesses and the administration decided to shut down the website without warning to its members. Members had to put together other means of contact within three days before the site was to shutdown. It was a sudden notice that many were take aback by. Several members didn't even know the website was shutdown until after it was already done. Teenagers with chronic illnesses need the support of others to understand they are not alone and find a safe place to confide in others with their feelings. Instead of giving us support they destroyed the community we once had. Starlight Children's Foundation chose not to support those most vulnerable who needed them the most.

6 Jocelyn N.

Client Served

Rating: 1

Starlight Global advertise an incredible mission to 'empower donors and strengthen communities by supporting the physical and emotional health of children and their families where they live, work and play'. If only they stuck by this.

Over the years, Starlight has had an incredible and positive impact in my life. I live in Australia, so I first came involved with Starlight through Starlight Australia, (which I will note is separate to Starlight Global), through the incredible Starlight Express Room at my paediatric hospital. Going to the Starlight Express Room was an incredible escape from my reality of what seemed like endless admissions, treatments and procedures and therapies. For a moment I could just forget about my reality, I could just go and joke around with the Starlight captains, chat about the things people my age usually would, play some games, do some art and just enjoy myself. It was incredible!

It was here I was introduced to Livewire Online, which is Starlight Australia's great online social network for kids and young adults living a chronic or serious illness or disability, supporting them both in hospital and at home. At the time, this program was joined in a chat room with Starlight Global's similar program, Starbright World.

I loved Starbright World right from day one. It was incredible. The impact it had on my life was even more incredible. When I joined Starbright World, I was not in a great place. Stuck in a hospital, far from home, after having had my life as I had known it, turned upside down and torn apart, I was incredibly withdrawn and isolated and felt misunderstood by those around me and felt I had little purpose in life.

Starbright World changed that. It was like a chosen family right from the first time I logged on. For the first time ever, I felt as though someone understood what I was going through. I realised I was not alone in the challenges I faced. I could log in at any time and chat to people who had faced similar challenges and experiences, people I could relate to and gain invaluable advice and support from. But it was so much more than that as well, it was not all about the medical challenges we were facing, it was just like we were actual friends, talking about everything else that was happening in people's lives. How school or sport or art classes were going, the latest and greatest TV show, movie or music, celebrity gossip and whatever else came to mind. We played games, we watched movies together, we did everything. The distance between us was irrelevant!

There was even more than this too though. During my years on Starbright World, I grew so much as an individual. Members and moderators shared their experiences of how they did not let their diagnoses and prognosis define what they achieved in life. It was the first time I realised, 'well, yes I have been told I will not be able to do much anymore, such as returning to education and sport, but why should that stop me at least trying?'. It made me realise that the world was still my oyster, anything was possible if I wanted it and put my mind to it. The support I received from everyone was incredible. They were there to help navigate and support me through the tough times, and celebrate with me during the great times. I was given incredible opportunities within the community, both in leadership and general skills that helped me gain and build on skills. I became a lot of confident and self motivated, and this helped build up my life outside of Starbright World too.

I can safely say, that there is absolutely no way I would be where I am in life today, achieving what I am, without Starbright World. Because of Starbright World, I am living my life to the fullest. I am at university, studying medical research, I am heavily involved within my community, mentoring youth with disabilities, running seminars, am part of a youth disability advisory and advocacy board, am president of Sailability, an organisation aimed at getting people of all abilities on the water sailing and so much more. Because of Starbright World, I know that my diagnoses or prognosis's do not have to and now will not ever define what I can not do.

Recently, Starlight Global made the incredibly sad decision to end this program, a program that was having an incredible impact of many people's lives. Now, I understand that there comes a time for all things to come to an end, and I also understand there sometimes comes a time when things are not longer viable, but Starlight Global tore this community apart in the worst possible way. They used foolish statistics, that showed how out of reach with the program they were, to notify the members of the community that there was no longer a need for the program and it would close in 72 hours. They had little care for this incredible community. They tore the communities home or landing place away from us without even notifying all of the members, some of whom had been members for years on end. To this day, they have still failed to notify all of the members. They just removed the site and all proof of its existence, which as a member of the site for years, find truly disappointing.

Once again, Starlight Global claims to strengthen communities by supporting the physical and emotional health of children and their families where they live, work and play. They did everything but this.

Very disappointed with Starlight Global, and I definitely think people should think twice about supporting this foundation in the future.


Although the names may be misleading, Starlight Australia, and other Starlight counterparts, who are not part of the running of Starlight Global, around the world continue to have incredible impact on the lives of those living with chronic and serious illnesses and disabilities, through their amazing programs. Support should definitely continue of these organisations.

5

Client Served

Rating: 1

A great organization however I believe they care to much about statistics. I was apart of a website the organization hosted called starbright world. This was a very useful website that I loved and would be on whenever I had spare time. But then when I logged on one time I saw they were closing the website down. They took everything I loved away in just three days. They did this because they said the need wasn't being fulfilled anymore. but they were wrong the need was definitely there I am sure lots of people would agree. we became a family. we needed each other to help cope with everything that was going on in our lives and a lot of us went through a lot and the people in charge of starbright just stopped it dead in its tracks fortunately we were able to stay connected through other means of social media but it just isn't the same. I wish we still had that outlet to just talk with other people that understood what we were going through...

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I think that Starlight has a very good idea and foundation. They are trying to bring teens with chronic illnesses together --like me-- they gave us a chat room and a "pulse" (looks a little like Facebook.) and it was the first time in all my life that I had friends that understood me and what I'm going though. It was the first time I've ever met someone with my medical condition.
Starlight decided to take that all away from us. They notified us that Starbright world was closing. The pulse and the chat room, our connections and support systems. They told us all but three or four days before the website was to go dark. We scrambled to get each others face books and phone numbers. But there was nothing like Starbright world. It was my safe space to vent and be scared about hospital stays and health tests.
Starlight took that away, with no notice, took it away with no consideration about what it was going to do to the community they were pulling apart.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Starlight Children's Foundation is the epitome of a "mission driven" organization. Each employee whom I have interfaced with has shown how passionate they are to "improve the life and health of kids and families around the world". The campaigns they run, the partnerships they foster and the inspiring messages they share have created this community that pulls you in whether you are a patient, a family member or just a member of the general public. They raise awareness and it inspires you to help. My organization participated in the Play in May event and you could see the surge of light that the Starlight team gave our employees by making them feel they could be a part of this mission. They are energetic, inclusive, supportive and hands down our favorite non-profit!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Starlight is a breath of fresh air- it heartwarming to see an organization who truly cares. Their work is inspiring and they are literally changing lives, one child at a time. The compassion and dedication they show to these children and their families is commendable. It is comforting to know that organizations such as theirs still exist. Great job Starlight, keep up the exceptional work!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Starlight is a champion for kids. They get it. They have an incredible vision and understand how to successfully serve those in need of their help. I am a very proud to be a supporter for Starlight Children s Foundation and will remain so.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The leadership and compassion coming from the CEO, Jacqueline Hart-Ibrahim, can be seen throughout the entire organization which continues to far exceed my expectations. It is very clear to me that Starlight is continuing on an extraordinary path of growth to partner "with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world." By uniting Starlight chapters under the global office, creating a revolutionary platform for hospitals to speak to donors directly, and much more, the Starlight Global Office is leading the charge in making sure children and families will always be the number one priority.

1 Christina90

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Starlight has shown to be an exceptional organization with every interaction that I have... the staff is passionate, the dedication to the mission is evident and the work they do is inspirational. When I look at the nonprofit's I support, Starlight is my favorite:-)