PLATINUM2024

Ryan's Case For Smiles (Formerly ConKerr Cancer)

Feel Better to Heal Better

Wayne, PA   |  www.caseforsmiles.org

Mission

Ryan's Case for Smiles, with 120 chapters nationwide and deliveries to 363 hospitals, improves the quality of life of children and their families as they undergo treatment for life changing illnesses and injuries. We are dedicated to the mental health and well-being of the child and their family. Supporting the child's emotional needs can be as important as providing medical care. Kids need to feel better to heal better.
Ryan's Case for Smiles provides over 200,000 bright cheerful pillowcases to children in treatment that give an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness. We are developing one of the first initiatives to address pediatric medical post-traumatic stress and help children's entire families better cope and avoid long term emotional trauma.

Notes from the nonprofit

We need your help! Funding has been greatly reduced and we are concerned about providing support to our communities. Please join us by donating to our organization of volunteers who know that 'feeling better' makes one 'heal better' and that is what pillowcase smiles do. Thank you!

Ruling year info

2006

Founder

Cindy Kerr

Main address

295 Swedesford Road, #396

Wayne, PA 19087 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

ConKerr Cancer

EIN

86-1173750

NTEE code info

Patient Services - Entertainment, Recreation (E86)

Health Support Services (E60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A hospital experience can be terrifying and traumatic for both a child and their family. While others strive to find a cure, Ryan’s Case for Smiles helps with the stress and emotional impact of illness in the here and now. Our whimsical pillowcases give children an emotional boost, while resources and tools help families better understand and cope with the experience.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Ryan's Case for Smiles hospital sewing events

We host hospital sewing days to break up the monotony of treatment and allow the patients to have a little control over an environment where they have few choices.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

A hospital stay can be a terrifying experience for a child and his or her family. Emerging research has shown just how terrifying hospital stays can be: 49% of adolescents develop mild to severe Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS) following cancer treatment, while 30% of young patients develop PTSS following a serious illness. The stress affects families, too: 42% of mothers and 25% of siblings of cancer patients develop symptoms of PTS (Kazak, et al., 2015). This type of PTS is known as Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress (PMTS). The good news is trauma can be minimized and outcomes improved through experiences that reduce stress.

Recognizing that the negative effects of health-related stress continues long after treatment, CFS is partnering with the country’s leading researchers and clinicians at the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress (CPTS) to develop tools to help prevent long term emotional trauma. Each of the bright, child-friendly pillowcases we deliver is accompanied by an insert card that alerts parents to the risks of PTSD and directs them to resources for self-assessment, referrals and coping tools. We are also developing valuable web-based information designed for each member of the family’s unique experience.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Ryan's Case for Smiles provides over 200,000 bright cheerful pillowcases to children in treatment each year that give an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness. These pillowcases transform a sterile hospital room and instantly improve the child's experience. Many children collect them and look forward to receiving a new pillowcase with each treatment.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Dreamers to Doers Award 2007

Martha Stewart Omnimedia

Woman Of Worth Award 2008

LOreal Paris

Points of Light Award 2009

Points of Light

Eagles Community Quarterback Award 2011

Philadelphia Eagles and Teva Pharmaceuticals

Great Friend of Kids Award 2011

Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of products distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Sewing and Delivering Pillowcases

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Volunteers for Ryan's Case for Smiles sew and deliver pillowcases to pediatric wards and hospitals across the country.

Number of distribution outlets for products

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Sewing and Delivering Pillowcases

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We distribute our pillowcases to children's hospitals, pediatric wards, Ronald McDonald Houses, hospices and camps.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Ryan's Case For Smiles' (CFS) mission is to enable children with cancer and other life changing illnesses to cope with their illness today, while building resiliency to thrive in the future. In short, to feel better to heal better.

In the next 12 months our goals are to:
1) Develop informational resources in language that is easily understood and tailored to the particular challenges of pediatric patients and their families. Launch website to provide assessment, information and referral resources to families wherever they are, whenever they need it.
2) Deliver 200,000 pillowcases along with this information to 50,000 families in the calendar year.
3) Develop materials to train child life specialists to recognize and address post traumatic stress. Child life specialists are uniquely positioned to help combat PTSD, yet few are trained to recognize it. We will develop training materials to be delivered at conferences, in webinars and online. In the first year of this program we want to reach 50% of child life specialists and the rest in year two.
4) Develop and pilot materials to support siblings of patients through Sibshops - three hour long events that allow the siblings of children with a life changing illness or injury to socialize, share experiences, and learn coping techniques.

In the next 1-5 years we will:
1. Partner with the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress to evaluate the impact of PTS materials in helping families cope and build resilience following life changing illnesses and injuries.
2. Utilize feedback and evaluation results to improve the impact, quality and ease of use of these materials for families.
3. Continue to leverage growth in pillowcase deliveries to reach more families and help them cope and build resiliency.
4. Train every child life specialist in children's hospitals to recognize the risks of Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress, to empower them to help families and to refer them to CFS's resources.
5. Expand sibling support - both on-line and in person - to serve CFS' largest 20 chapters.
6. Build organizational capacity and financial resources to ensure long term sustainability of CFS' mission and work.

Ryan's Case for Smiles provides over 200,000 bright cheerful pillowcases to children in treatment each year that give an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness. These pillowcases transform a sterile hospital room and instantly improve the child's experience. Many children collect them and look forward to receiving a new pillowcase with each treatment. We also host hospital sewing days to break up the monotony of treatment and allow the patients to have a little control over an environment where they have few choices. Finally, each of the bright, child-friendly pillowcases we deliver is accompanied by an insert card that alerts parents to the risks of PTSD and directs them to resources for self-assessment, referrals and coping tools. These activities improve children's physical and mental health, resulting in better outcomes and minimizing the risk long term emotional trauma.

In the the long term, we hope to build a thriving community of support for children and their families as they undergo treatment. These results are achieved through education and support for these children and families. We create and distribute 200,000 cards annually along with our pillowcases that alert parents to the risks of PTSD and directs them to resources for self-assessment, referrals and coping tools. To ensure the highest quality care, we have partnered with leading researchers at the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress to develop valuable web-based information and tools designed for each member of the family's unique experience.

We are also creating a community of support where families can have questions answered and feel less alone. This is in the form of online communities and Sibshops, three hour long events that allow the siblings of children with a life changing illness or injury to socialize, share experiences, and learn coping techniques.

Our work over the last 14 years has built a network of hospital clinicians, volunteers and families which allows us to efficiently distribute information to those who need it most. Through 120 chapters nationwide, we deliver over 200,000 pillowcases each year, giving us 200,000 opportunities to supply the support these children and families so desperately need.

CFS' has also delivered consistent growth and demonstrated the ability to attract support from individual donors, foundations and corporate sponsors. Our deep volunteer base and low overhead structure enables 90% of funds raised to be invested directly into mission-related activities.

Finally, we have developed strong partnerships with the hospitals we serve and the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress.

Ryan's Case for Smiles has delivered over 1.3 million pillowcases to hospitalized children to date. We deliver 200,000 pillowcases and information cards to 50,000 families each year and are also building a community of volunteerism throughout our 120 chapters nationwide.

However, our greatest achievement is the thanks we receive from the children and families we serve. As one mother states, "My child was diagnosed with leukemia and the first time we received our pillowcase was the first time he smiled during his recovery from surgery. It's amazing how much one pillowcase can brighten a while life and a whole room. It tells us that others have shared in these difficult times. A little touch of love and color helps give you a little more strength to fight."

While seemingly simple, the impact on hospital staff and volunteers is equally tangible.
Child Life Specialist: "On behalf of the children at Levine Children's Hospital, I want to thank you for the pillowcases. I love your slogan "a case for smiles" because it is so true. The change in the children's rooms is just amazing! A smile sometimes is the best medicine possible so if anything can help beat this illness you all are on the right road."

Chapter Coordinator: “After my Gastric Bypass I found myself with extra free time on my hands. It is because of your loving support AND Case for Smiles that I have been able to channel some of my interests from snacking to helping others. Making pillowcases has drastically changed my focus and goals for the better. Now I have leaping bounds of energy and will be competing, with my volunteers, in my first 5K for the Loma Linda Children's Hospital. This will celebrate my year of change of over 100 pounds lost AND to promote Case for Smiles"

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Financials

Ryan's Case For Smiles (Formerly ConKerr Cancer)
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Ryan's Case For Smiles (Formerly ConKerr Cancer)

Board of directors
as of 01/23/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gavin Kerr

Gavin Kerr

Retired, Inglis Foundation

Steve Schoumer

Blank Rome

Ashley Feuer-Edwards

AFE Strategies

Cindy Kerr

Founder

Rebecca Peck

Gavin Krumenacker

Matt Piontkowski

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No