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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Cancer Research, Family Services, Health, Human Services

Mission: Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation is a national organization dedicated to elimintate pediatric cancer and to provide hope and support to those who are touched by it.

Target demographics: Children 0-19 battling cancer and their immediate families

Geographic areas served: Local and National

Programs: Bear Hugs. A Bear Hug is a customized experience that brightens the life of a child going through cancer. The Bear Hugs Program also provides immediate family support for financial burden and essential needs. The Bear Discoveries Program awards medical research grants nationwide primarily to junior investigative researchers who make meaningful advancements and discoveries towards finding a cure and therapies for various types of pediatric cancer.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Hanna W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been on the Auxiliary Board for 2 years and a volunteer prior to that helping in the office and with off site events. What I love most about this organization is the ability to interact with the families that we serve.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to work with Bear Necessities on multiple events and every time they have been amazing and leave me anticipating the next one.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Worked as a volunteer this year. Loved the office, very close knit and cooperative. Everyone is so passionate about the organization and creatively trying to make a difference every day for these children. So much time and dedication from just the few employees alone, and even more from the volunteers and families connected… very inspiring to see!

Anne104

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Bear Necessities for over 4 years. Originally I volunteered because I believed in the organization's cause. I have continued volunteering with Bear Necessities because I know how dedicated and driven they are to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and to help those who have been touched by it. The foundation staff are hard working for the kids/families they serve and are gracious for all of the generous donations. Nothing at Bear Necessities is taken for granted. It's amazing that 80% of funds raised go to directly help the families and to help fund research to eliminate pediatric cancer!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everything they do comes from the HEART, with passion! Children should not die from cancer and BNPCF is doing all they can to that end...but help is needed from many people to keep on fighting for cures for pediatric cancer. Yes, it does/and will take a village to do this. Let's get more people on board. Every one we have introduced to this organization loves it has supported it in some way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very Meaningful event and organization. Many lovely people and volunteer working together.

Jane61

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for 6 years and hope to return next year. This group of people and especially Kathleen are 100% devoted to these amazing children. The things they have done and the things I was lucky enough to be a part of brought so much joy to the children. And as we know their is no greater joy then seeing a sick child smile and have some joy. Great organization and great leadership

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Bear Necessities for the past four months. Seeing the staff and volunteers work each day, it is undeniable that their dedication and passion is what separates them from the rest. The staff and volunteers never lose sight of their end goal, finding a cure for pediatric cancer. To say volunteering with Bear Necessities has been a great experience would be an understatement. Volunteering with Bear Necessities has been life changing. Kathleen went through an extremely traumatic experience and now dedicates all of her time and energy into this unique and special organization. What she does everyday is truly inspiring. I am honored to be a member of the Bear Necessities family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for nearly 7 years now. I can't say enough wonderful things about the organization. Even as a new volunteer, years ago, I knew that this foundation was special and unique. As I worked more with the foundation, I started to understand why. Bear Necessities is a family. It is run by a family and helps families. Everyone who works at BN, and volunteers for BN, is dedicated and passionate and it radiates through their work. I've been a volunteer, served on the Auxiliary Board for years, and now continue to be involved at events and fundraising. Knowing that I could walk into the office at any time and visit and catch up with Kathleen or Courtney was always special and made me feel like a part of this wonderful family they have built. Obviously the work they do is honorable and wonderful, but the way they do it is what makes Bear Necessities truly special.

Previous Stories
15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation for about three years and only have truly positive things to say. Two years ago I joined the Auxiliary Board and still serve on it today. The Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cancer through funding research, but also provides so many needed services to those who suffer through it daily - patients and their families. I can't think of an organization I would rather devote my time and energy to and seeing what this group can do is inspiring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bear Necessities is a great organization! I currently volunteer here and the people I work with are amazing. Everyone is passionate about their work and I would recommend Bear necessities to anyone who is looking for a volunteer opportunity.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is making a huge impact in so many young children's (and their family's) lives. Bear Necessities is filling gaps in 3 different areas on its mission to eliminate pediatric cancer and provide hope and support to those affected by it. It raises money to fund research. The grants are for researchers specifically looking into the causes and treatments of many of the most common pediatric cancers. It also funds hospital subsidy programs. The hospitals let the Foundation know their needs, and we help fill them. Finally Bear Necessities gives "Small Miracles" to the kids in an effort to help them forget they are sick for a day and treat them to a special day. The organization has sent many children to the American Girl Place and many of the Chicago area sporting events. The also give families gas cards and other necessities that make the traveling to hospital treatments easier. Katherine Casey has taken Bear's dream of helping children with cancer to the next level. Bear Necessities is truely a FANTASTIC charity!

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bear Necessities is a fantastic organization! I've had the opportunity to volunteer for events, work with the children and families, fundraise, and plan social functions to raise awareness/funds. This experience has been much more than I initially set out for. I have gotten so much experience from the opportunities at BN, but I've also made some wonderful friends along the way. This organization is far-reaching, but still small enough that it feels like a family. I can't say enough great things, and encourage everyone I know to become involved in one way or another.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bear Necessities is an outstanding charitable organization that provides valuable resources to children afflicted with pediatric cancer and their families while raising much needed funds and awareness for cancer research. For the past 5-6 years as a volunteer, auxiliary board member and serving on the development committee, I have been fortunate enough to witness firsthand the incredible work done by the foundation. While raising funds and awareness is critical to accomplishing the mission of eradicating pediatric cancer, BNPCF also realizes how important it is to be there for the children and their families. Whether it is through the fantastic Small Miracle program or simply being there as a friend to listen, the exceptional staff and volunteers of Bear Necessities provide a ray of hope for those in need. The multi-faceted approach of being there for the children and their families while providing funding for cancer research truly sets Bear Necessities apart as a truly unique organization that works tirelessly day after day working towards fulfilling its mission.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bear Necessities is a very special organization dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer. The members of the organization work tirelessly to fulfill a twofold mission: eliminate pediatric cancer by raising funds for the benefit of scientific research and providing hope and support to the children and families affected by pediatric cancer. One of the key programs is the Small Miracles program, whereby donors can help brighten the life of a child by making their dreams and wishes come true, whether it's a brand new special toy or concerts to see a favorite team or performer. The volunteers, staff and board members of Bear Necessities are extremely dedicated and committed to making a difference not only in the effort to eliminate pediatric cancer, but also in enriching the lives of the children and their families.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with the entire staff, and have yet to meet a more dedicated team or a more positive group of employees. Everyone shares in the same goal, bringing joy to those less fortunate.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bear Necessities is a unique organization in which it directly helps children and families affected by Pediatric Cancer as well as raise funds for cancer research programs. By utilizing this twofold approach they are able to not only help the families but also work towards a cure. The Small Miracle program grants children a wish ranging from a limo ride downtown, a princess bed to a Rihanna concert and meet and greet. Big or small the idea is to provide patients a memorable and fun experience when they can forget about being a child with cancer and concentrate on just being a child. The research grants allow Physicians throughout the country to work towards the common goal of treating and ultimately finding a cure for Pediatric Cancer. Not only does Bear Necessities raise money for this disease, they truly understand and work closely with the medical community. As a volunteer for Bear Necessities I have seen first hand the amazing work this organization does. The staff is truly committed and have personal ties to the devastation of Pediatric Cancer. They act as supporters, advocates and family to the little lives they are fighting so passionately for.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a volunteer with Bear Necessities shortly after moving to Chicago. In the past 3 years, I have never ceased to be amazed at the dedication and passion of the staff and volunteers. I have been lucky enough to volunteer at several events which allowed me to meet children who are currently facing cancer; their appreciation for the Small Miracles and group activities is incredibly heartwarming. This organization was started by a family and it continues to operate as one-making every volunteer, staff member, and child feel connected and valued.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to this charity virtually at it's inception by a friend. My love for children is why I do any type of charity work, especially those fighting life threatening illnesses such as cancer. Reading the note from Barrett "Bear" Krupa about this foundation for the first time made it "REAL" for me. At that moment I knew this child was special, and then I realized his family, friends and supporters were special, too! Selfless giving is a trait too few people understand in this world. This year my teenage son joined me at one of the largest fundraiser events, the Bear Tie Ball. He was moved the the experience and will be supporting another event later this month with me. Whenever I get the opportunity to share the beautiful story of how this foundation began, I do!

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became aware of Bear Necessities and its multitude of services in December of 2004, soon after I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia during my freshman year of high school. Knowing firsthand the devastating impact that this one disease can have on a child, I feel as though I can offer a unique perspective, especially considering the fact that I have seen both sides of this organization—both as a child served through its “Small Miracle” Program and, more recently, as a volunteer intern during this past summer. As mentioned by previous reviewers and as mentioned on its website, Bear Necessities strives to serve the immediate needs of children and families affected by pediatric cancers while also searching for a cure that will provide for a brighter cancer-free future. While undergoing nearly three years of grueling chemotherapy treatments, the small miracle that Bear Necessities worked in my life helped me through the most difficult ordeal I have ever experienced. Indeed, with the years of seemingly endless hospital visits, nausea, and pain, dealing with cancer became less of a task and more of a lifestyle. Yet, with the small gift that Bear Necessities was able to offer, I was able to break the cycle—even if only momentarily—of chemotherapy treatments, spinal taps, and radiation. That, more than any monetary token, is what inspired me to give back to this organization that already gives so much to the community. In working with non-profit organizations within the public service sector, I feel as though one thing above all else stands as a critical element in one’s gratification and success, and that is, put simply, agreeing with the organization’s mission. While any non-profit can publicize and promote a cause, what’s unique about Bear Necessities is that its staff and volunteers exude and live for the cause. Each day, I am inspired and touched by the motivation I see around me. And what is particularly beautiful about this foundation is that it accepts volunteers and members from various backgrounds and of various skill levels. No matter what you feel you can contribute to this organization, you can (and will) have a say if you feel that you personally agree with Bear’s mission. As a local but quickly growing foundation, there is definitely a lot you can offer. Again, the organization has a beautiful mission, and its members make every effort possible to make that mission a reality.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a summer 2009 intern at Bear Necessities, I can speak firsthand about the dedication, passion, and excellence that embodies this incredible organization. By working directly with families to provide "Small Miracles" & Family Support Services, they provide hope "where hope is hard to find." Additionally, they host regular hospital meals, where volunteers and staff can interact directly with the parents and children they have helped. Distributing over $400,000 nationally (and in Canada and Germany!) in grant funding this past year, Bear Necessities continues to prove that it is a non-profit that will continue to thrive as the years go by. The staff at Bear Necessities are second to none. Everyone is here because they want to be here; everyone works at this organization because they truly want to make a difference. It is this passionate dedication that fuels the greatness of Bear Necessities. If you are looking to make a difference in the lives of thousands, millions of children challenged by cancer, there is no better place to offer your time than with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.