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 focused on water safety education and expanding access to high-quality swim lessons that teach infants and young children the skills and confidence they need to float, swim and self-rescue. CAST's mission is to prevent childhood drowning and to create safer swimmers sooner. As part of its advocacy, the CAST team seeks to increase the awareness of safe and effective self-rescue swim lessons and helps to empower families to create strong water safety strategies. CAST opened its own swim facility and foundation office in Forest Park, Illinois in 2020 and it works in conjunction with trained self-rescue swim instructors in cities across the United States. From offering safety resources to scholarship opportunities that help offset the cost of self-rescue swim lessons, CAST is changing the conversation around how swim time is viewed and practiced. To-date, ten self-rescue instructors have been trained through support from CAST. Together this team has reached almost 1,000 children who have been taught to swim, float, and self-rescue through CAST supported lessons with over 300 of these children receiving scholarship assistance.
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 100,000 students in 200+ schools across ten counties in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana.