No matter what cause is closest to your heart, philanthropy is deeply personal. Philadelphians share the inspiring stories that led them to their charities of choice.
The founder of Helpusadopt.org helps people fulfill their dreams of parenthood through much-needed financial assistance.
Shy? Not Becky Fawcett. She’s the vivacious marketing and public relations executive who founded Helpusadopt.org in 2007, a national adoption grant organization that holds its splashy fashion fundraiser at Neiman Marcus each year. Without hesitation, Fawcett, who grew up in Villanova, tells the story of her journey to create a family through adoption after she and her husband spent almost $100,000 on in vitro fertilization and endured pregnancies that ended in miscarriages. (She’s appeared on Good Morning America, Today and The Steve Harvey Show.) The Fawcetts, who now live in New York City, were fortunate to have enough savings to adopt their two children, but were floored by its expense. (The average adoption cost is $40,000.) The Fawcetts’ foundation offers grants up to $15,000 and, to date, has given out approximately $2 million. “Our grants allow families to complete the cost of adoption and bring their children home,” says Fawcett.
HALLEE AND DAVID ADELMAN
From elementary education to educating o thers about tolerance, this Haverford couple is bound by a fierce determination to give back.
Haverford’s Hallee and David Adelman focus their giving on issues they’ve worked on for a lifetime. For Hallee, that’s been children and education and to causes such as Simon’s Fund, Please Touch Museum and Philadelphia School Partnership. As a children’s author with a doctorate from Drexel University’s school of education, she has donated time working at schools like Wissahickon Charter School. David is the CEO of Campus Apartments, which provides on- and o-campus student housing across 24 states. Like his wife, David has a myriad of causes he supports, including sitting on the board of the USC Shoah Foundation and serving as chair of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. “My grandfather’s rst wife and children were killed in the Holocaust,” says David. “He was sent to the extermination camp of Sobibór, and he was one of 50 people to escape.” David is raising money for the foundation to expand the 1964 Holocaust memorial on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. “We are working towards inspiring acceptance and tolerance for all citizens of our city and beyond,” he says.
LIZ AND JAY SCOTT
One cup of lemonade goes a long way.
In 1996, Liz and Jay Scott owned and ran a coffee shop in Connecticut. One year later, their baby daughter, Alex, received a diagnosis of neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood cancer. A few years into treatment, Alex ran her first lemonade stand to help find a cure for cancer. Soon after, the Scotts moved to Wynnewood to be near Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Despite her own battle with cancer, Alex continued to hold annual lemonade stands that drew national attention. And if you’ve ever wondered if one person can make a difference, consider this: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has become the largest private funder of pediatric cancer research in the country, having raised more than $150 million dollars and funded more than 800 pediatric cancer research projects. After Alex died at age 8 in 2004, Liz and Jay started the foundation the following year. Alex’s remarkable legacy continues to inspire children with (and without) cancer to hold lemonade stands around the country. Locally, there are events year-round, including the Lemon Ball on Jan. 13. Liz sums up their foundation’s accomplishments: “If Alex was diagnosed today, 21 years after her actual diagnosis, the doctors would know so much more about her cancer due to the funding we’ve provided.”
The CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region is paying it forward.
Marcus Allen, the charismatic CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, says that BBBS’s youth mentoring “isn’t just something nice to do. It’s a necessity.” Allen, who grew up fatherless in the projects of Thomson, Ga., and who was at times homeless and witness to violence in his community, can testify to this point. Allen received mentoring as a kid from a local police officer that made a world of difference. “Had it not been for him to plant the idea for college, I would not be in this position today,” says Allen. “My background allows me to understand the effects of poverty on people.” His organization matches volunteers (“Bigs”) with children (“Littles”), and serves 4,000 youth “facing adversity” from ages 6 through 18. Though the time a volunteer commits isn’t huge (twice a month for a year), the payoffs can be spectacular. “The most effective ‘Bigs’ are those who come open and willing to learn about the kids,” notes Allen. The friendships typically thrive beyond the one-year minimum. “There was an alumni event, and in walked a 93-year-old ‘Big’ with his 76-year-old ‘Little.’”
MOLLY ROUSE TERLEVICH AND TANNER ROUSE
Two siblings carry on their father’s legacy by championing countless Philadelphia causes.
Real estate developer Willard Rouse III died 14 years ago at the age of 60, and it’s hard to think of anyone who has had a greater impact on Philadelphia’s appearance. Rouse’s eight kids, ranging in age from late 20s to late 40s, serve as trustees of the foundation he created in the last years of his life, e Rouse Family Charitable Trust. e trust gives money to a variety of causes including the arts, education and animal conservation. “My dad told us to take care of the community where you come from and to do it in a way where you have the capacity to do it well,” says Molly Rouse Terlevich. She’s put her fundraising skills to work for e Pennsylvania Ballet and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Molly was also a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts under President Obama, and served on Obama’s national nance committee. Molly’s younger brother, Tanner, recently announced his run for state senate in the 26th District after resigning his position as assistant district attorney in Philadelphia. “My work as a public servant was informed by the legacy of my father to give back,” says the Democratic hopeful. Because of his work in the district attorney’s oce, he also supports the Police Survivors Fund and the Center City Victim Services.