CC’s Wish List is a program of the Lavin Family Foundation.
The Lavin Family Foundation was created over 50 years ago by the family that founded the Alberto Culver Company to fund groups working in health care, education and programs designed to better family life. Today the Foundation, directed by the second and third family generations under the banner of “Innovative Philanthropy at Work”, has continued and deepened that focus while creating new, entrepreneurial initiatives that extend its passion and reach beyond traditional funding channels. Other examples of their innovative practices are exemplified through the CAST Water Safety Foundation and Enchanted Backpack.
The CAST Water Safety Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission of creating safer swimmers sooner. So many people do not know that drowning is the leading cause of death for kids ages 1-4 and CAST is dedicated to empowering families through education, increasing awareness of this nation-wide issue and safeguarding children with self-rescue swim skills. CAST has supported the training of over a dozen Chicago-area self-rescue instructors who together have taught over thousands of children to swim, float, and self-rescue. CAST provides self-rescue swim lesson scholarships to children of nurses, teachers, first responders, the military, social workers, children with physical disabilities and special needs, families with income-based needs and more. Free water safety educational resources are available here.
Enchanted Backpack is a nonprofit organization serving under-resourced elementary and middle schools with student populations of 50% or greater who qualify for Federal Free and Reduced Lunch programs. Enchanted Backpack’s magical, mystical vans deliver a year’s worth of materials to each school it serves. With an average retail value of $40,000, each delivery includes a year’s worth of brand-new school supplies for every student, plus books, art and athletic equipment, winter coats and much more, all at an Enchanted Backpack cost of only $10,000 thanks to its savvy buying. Annually, 20,000 students and 1,200 teachers are supported through its Mobile Van Delivery program. In addition, through partnerships with outstanding teachers and administrators, Enchanted Backpack provides deeper community impact to qualifying schools through its Adopt-A-School, Teacher Appreciation, and Washer/Dryer programs. To-date, Enchanted Backpack has supported over 140,000 students in 200+ schools across ten counties in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana.