Direct Financial Assistance
We provide assistance with out-of-pocket expenses not covered by insurance, such as
- utility and phone bills
- car payments
- transportation costs
- disability needs
- air conditioners for children with severe pulmonary, cardiac, dermatologic, liver, and kidney diseases
- medically necessary dietary supplements, special foods, and formulas
- child care
- funeral expenses
Help & Hope Program
This new program aims to assist families that are experiencing especially severe difficulties. Through the program, bills for uninsured necessities—like utilities, rent, groceries, or transportation costs—of up to $1,000 per family are paid directly to creditors (to avoid misappropriation of funds). Every dollar raised for the Help & Hope Program goes directly to help families in need.
Nancy and David Ward Adaptive Assistance Program
This program focuses on the special needs of children with serious physical and mental disabilities. Financial assistance is provided for items like hearing aids, wheelchair adaptations, adaptive learning materials, computers, toys, and handicap-accessible renovations for homes. We also provide assistance for uninsured therapies like horseback riding and swim/water therapy classes, as well as special disease- or disability-related camps.
Financial Management Educational Video
Financial Management During Crisis is a 24-minute empowerment tool that educates parents about available hospital services and the importance of understanding insurance benefits and claims. The video also provides tips on personal family budgeting and medical record keeping. It stresses the importance of good communication and negotiation skills with creditors and addresses the "pride" issue in asking for help. The video is also a valuable sensitivity and educational tool for those new to the healthcare field, whether medical, nursing, or social work students, because it highlights the "other side" of medicine—the effects of serious illness on the family. View the video here.
Family Fun Days: Spirit of Philadelphia and Longwood Gardens
Our Family Fun Days provide a day of respite for families caring for seriously ill or disabled children. Families are referred for these programs by social workers at the major pediatric hospitals and agencies of the greater Philadelphia area. On our Spirit of Philadelphia cruise, made possible through the generosity of Entertainment Cruises, Inc., more than 400 parents, patients, and siblings interact and enjoy each others' company while the caring Spirit of Philadelphia crew members volunteer their time to assure a memorable experience for all. Clowns, DJs, Miss Philadelphia, and various entertainment groups add to the fun. On our Longwood Gardens fun day, sponsored by Longwood Gardens and the Rotary Club of Kennett at Longwood, families receive free admission to beautiful Longwood Gardens as well as luncheon and special family programs.
Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program
Families in crisis experience the true "spirit" of the holiday season through the generosity of our donors. Church groups, families, individuals, and businesses receive families' wish lists and provide gifts that may include clothes, toys, art supplies, bicycles, computer games, and gift certificates to supermarkets, department stores, and major drugstores.
We gratefully accept donations of a variety of items needed by families we serve:
- gift cards for grocery stores, department stores, and major drugstores
- baby supplies
These donations allow us to increase the amount of assistance we can give a family in crisis. Usually families who are unable to make these direct purchases are also having difficulty paying their bills. We can use non-cash donations to supply such items, and also offer our help in paying an overdue bill.
Education and Advocacy
The Fund advocates on behalf of families with seriously ill children, serving as a voice for change, understanding, and compassion to creditors, policymakers, insurance companies, and the media. We make direct presentations to businesses, community organizations, schools, and churches highlighting the Fund's mission and the needs of families who care for children with severe illnesses, injuries, or disabilities in order to educate and to initiate partnerships. This activity increases financial support, which ultimately serves the families referred to us for assistance.
To provide additional assistance not available through our organization, we often inform parents and healthcare professionals about other local and national resources, networking and sharing contacts built over more than three decades.