JESTER & PHARLEY PHUND

It's up to us to make a difference. It's up to us to care.©

Palos Verdes Estates, CA   |  www.thejester.org

Mission

We work to empower children with cancer and economically disadvantaged children facing major challenges by sharing the universal messages of hope, joy, laughter, resilience and perseverance in “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle." The award-winning children's book was written and illustrated by David Saltzman before his death from cancer at 22 in 1990. We are dedicated to helping all children – especially minority and low-income children – through literacy and medical programs inspired by “The Jester's" motto: “It's up to us to make a difference. It's up to us to care."© We envision all children improving their lives with these programs.

Ruling year info

2000

President

Ms. Barbara Saltzman

Executive Director

Ms. Amy Hastings

Main address

P.O. Box 817

Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

95-4785834

NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Cancer (G30)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We address two pressing needs: low spirits among kids with cancer and the high percentage of illiteracy among disadvantaged and minority children. Over 40,000 U.S. children receive treatment for cancer each year, with 15,700 diagnosed annually. Of the 88% expected to survive, 60% suffer serious late effects that can include depression, anxiety, poor cognitive development and other illnesses. As the Mayo Clinic notes, “When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered.” Illiteracy runs rampant. A recent lawsuit cited English-language proficiency as low as 4% at elementary schools serving primarily low-income Latino and Black children. Poverty levels determine academic achievement gaps, a 2019 study found. The percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals is the key determinant of student performance, researchers found. Experts warn that students will be at academic risk and fall further behind without intervention.

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?

Reading To Give™

The Reading To Give literacy program offers elementary-age students a means to gain valuable service learning experience while showing compassion for hospitalized or special-needs children in their neighborhood. By participating in our Read-A-Thon, schoolchildren and those who are members of religious groups, service clubs or simply participating as individuals read to give copies of "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle" and Jester & Pharley Dolls to a local hospital or special-needs facility.
David’s story about a Jester searching for laughter only to find it in the heart of a hospitalized little girl touches children deeply. They want to give the whimsical, uplifting book to local ill children to lift their spirits and help them laugh. In the process, students become stronger readers, kinder and more compassionate. Hospitals nationwide appreciate receiving “Jester” books and dolls from children in their community who participate in Jester Read-A-Thons to help ill and injured children in their neighborhood.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

We bring our award-winning, sponsor-underwritten RMD literacy and outreach program to low-income schools in Los Angeles and Orange Counties in Southern California.
Each classroom and all reading instructors receive a copy of the bilingual English/Spanish "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle/El Bufón ha perdido su gracia." Each classroom and reading instructors also receive three Jester Educator Enrichment Manuals that complement the Common Core. The manuals began from lesson ideas developed and submitted spontaneously by teachers nationwide wanting to find children's books that inspired students in multiple subject areas. Each page in the 72-page Curriculum Supplement includes numerous lesson ideas. The Educator's Guide provides detailed background on the book's history not available elsewhere, and The Jester & Pharley PhunBook offers fun activities built around the book's themes.
The RMD program begins with Motivational Introductory Assemblies for all grades, offering background about the author and creation of "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle." Each age-appropriate assembly includes a PowerPoint presentation showing how ideas for stories come from personal experience, how books are developed and researched, how everyone has an interesting and meaningful story to tell, how David Saltzman's personal experiences resulted in an entertaining and illuminating story that powerfully communicates his thoughts and ideas.
Students join The Jester & Pharley Read-A-Thon to donate copies of "The Jester" and The Jester & Pharley Doll to a hospital in their community. All gift books and dolls come with bookplates acknowledging the donor(s) and the school.
Students keep daily reading logs of their reading progress. Charts and posters track reading performances and build friendly competition. A school-wide Recognition Assembly after the three-week Read-A-Thon highlights not only the school's total pages read but also the top-reading classrooms and students at each grade level. Students make colorful Jester hats and stick figures to add excitement to the Recognition Assembly. Top-reading students and classrooms receive special Jester Jingle Certificates and surprise Jester items. All students joining the Read-A-Thon receive colorful participation certificates. Representatives from the program underwriter(s) and hospital receiving "Jester" books and dolls from the Read-A-Thon participate in this exciting pep rally for reading.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

This program is designed to provide a copy of David Saltzman's "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle" book and Jester & Pharley Doll to every child in the United States diagnosed with cancer upon diagnosis. These emotionally supportive materials help children and their families cope with cancer both during the rigors of treatment, the recovery process and in dealing with “late effects,” which affect 60% of children surviving cancer. "Jester" books and dolls are given to hospitals and medical centers providing primary protocols and medical treatment for the 15,700 children annually diagnosed with cancer in the United States. The books and dolls are given directly to young patients upon diagnosis, providing them with something to literally hold onto during this extremely challenging time.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with diseases and illnesses

The Jester & Pharley Smile Cart is a mobile activity center providing diversion and entertainment for young hospitalized patients as well as for children in other facilities helping special-needs youngsters. The Smile Cart comes with a TV; DVD player; radio/CD/tape unit; 150 copies of "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle", 150 Jester & Pharley Dolls; 150 Jester & Pharley Bookmarks; Jester & Pharley "PhunBooks" and teaching aids. Donors are acknowledged for their generosity with permanent plaques on the cart. Patients are given the book, doll and bookmark to keep, while the activity center remains in the hospital to provide ongoing wholesome and positive entertainment.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with diseases and illnesses

Where we work

Awards

Celebration of Community Award 2018

Kiwanis Club of Torrance

Philanthropic Gold Award 2014

Mom's Choice

Supervisor’s Community Service Award 2013

Long Beach Education Assn. & Long Beach Unified School District

Woman of Distinction Award (Barbara Saltzman) 2013

CA Assembly District 66

Best Picks Winner, Bilingual ‘Jester’ Book 2013

Dr. Toy

Best Product/Classic Product 2009

Dr. Toy

Seal of Excellence 2009

Creative Child Magazine

Circle of Love Education Award 2005

Pediatric Therapy Network

Celebrate Literacy Award 2000

International Reading Association

National Everyday Hero 1999

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

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 'Jester' Books Donated to Hospitals

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Smiles for Kids With Cancer

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our goal is to donate 16,000 books each year, but given limited storage space at medical centers, books are distributed on an ongoing basis throughout the year according to each hospital’s needs.

Number of Title I Elementary Schools Participating in Jester Literacy & Outreach Read-A-Thons

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Reading Makes A Difference™

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Elementary School Students Participating in Jester Literacy & Outreach Read-A-Thons

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Reading Makes A Difference™

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

We strive to bring children with cancer the hope, joy, laughter and love found in “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.” We also work to inspire struggling low-income, minority elementary students to become strong readers and develop compassion.

In David’s story, The Jester & Pharley set off on a quest to find laughter when banished for failing to make the King laugh. They ultimately discover it in the heart of a hospitalized little girl. The duo tell the King that they’ve learned that laughter isn’t dead, but hiding in us all: “So, when you’re feeling lonely or sad or bad or blue, remember where laughter’s hiding. It’s hiding inside of you!”©

“The message that we all harbor the potential to rediscover inner joy, no matter how bleak things may at first appear, is a positive and uplifting one,” said Dr. Gerald Koocher, former executive director of Harvard Medical School’s Linda Pollin Institute and past president of the American Psychological Assn. “I am looking forward to having this tool as a means of offering support, encouragement and hope to the children and families we care for.”

We hope to hook low-income elementary students on reading and inspire them to develop empathy. Our RMD program gives children struggling with literacy the motivation and tools they need to read and succeed in later life. If motivated at an early age to enjoy reading and to understand the importance of being a contributing member of their community, children will lead more productive and responsible adult lives.

A N.Y. Times report on an NEA study reinforces the importance of students reading for pleasure: “The data showed that students who read for fun nearly every day performed better on reading tests than those who reported reading never or hardly at all.” Said a 1st grade teacher at a low-income East L.A. elementary school, “The most effective aspect of the RMD program is having kids realize that reading is fun. It has opened up a whole new world.”

“Part of a school’s purpose is to create A-plus human beings, who get along and speak to each other in respectful ways,” USC Professor of Social Work & Education Ron Avi Astor told the L.A. Times. “If you are able to create a school that makes kids happy, where there’s a good school climate, it not only becomes fertile ground for creating civic, democratic and communal values but also for strong academic gains.” We work to help students develop empathy and respect for others, traits considered vital to social-emotional development.

Hospitals especially welcome “Jester” donations made via our RMD program. “The book has such a positive impact on everyone and it is a perfect fit to our literacy program,” said one Children’s Hospital Los Angeles executive. “It is really a pleasure to distribute this delightful book to the children because we hear the most wonderful comments from both the patients and their parents. They are often very surprised to learn that people outside our walls are thinking of them.”

Our strategy originates in the Saltzmans’ promise to David to give “The Jester” to every child in the U.S. diagnosed with cancer annually. They originally worked with 150 hospitals affiliated with national cancer support groups. Upon “The Jester’s” release in 1995, all 10,000 children diagnosed with cancer received David’s story.

Today, 43 children a day are told they have cancer, a total of 15,700 annually. We now donate “Jester” books & dolls to over 350 hospitals, regularly contacting them to fulfill their requests.

As Robert L. Pannoni, COO and president of the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, noted upon the book’s release. “We want to distribute copies of ‘The Jester Has Lost His Jingle’ and Jester & Pharley Dolls to every child who enters our hospitals for cancer treatment, to raise their spirits and offer them the hope for a cure.”

Our strategy to inspire disenfranchised children to read grows from their love for “The Jester” and their desire to bring its joy and laughter to local ill children. Our RMD program gives children struggling with challenges the motivation and tools they need to read and succeed in later life.

We bring our donor-funded RMD program to low-income schools where most students face obstacles that prevent them from discovering the personal joys of reading. A large number are learning English as a second language and need inspiration to read. The beauty of the program is that it allows students to give of themselves and develop a love of reading on their own, becoming charitable, independent readers.

Our program is designed to motivate K-3 students to read. Studies find that ongoing success in reading usually develops by age 9 and that parental involvement is a key factor. When students see that they can help other children simply by reading, they understand that they can give of themselves without having to donate money. It fills them with pride and satisfaction.

Students meet “The Jester” and its author in Introductory Assemblies, then embark on a 4-8 week Read-A-Thon to donate “Jester” books & dolls to local patients. Parents sign off on reading logs. Classes receive a copy of the English/Spanish “Jester” & a set of our 3 Educator Enrichment Manuals. A digital copy of the book is available online. The library receives a Jester & Pharley Doll. A Recognition Assembly celebrates top-reading students & classes with Jester Jingle certificates, bilingual “Jester” books, a personalized journal & other educational items.

“The RMD program has inspired all our students to want to read. It is beautifully interrelated with our curriculum for reading and social-emotional development,” says the principal of a Title I school, who has requested the program for 6 years. “It helps them develop self-esteem and empathy for others. It gets parents and kids talking about reading. It inspired our students to not only read more, but also to try harder, be positive and have compassion for others.”

For two decades, The Jester & Pharley Phund has successfully completed over 230 Reading Makes A Difference programs. Over 138,000 disadvantaged students have eagerly read in Jester Read-A-Thons to donate “The Jester” book and doll to local patients.

Our ability to build, grow and sustain this program stems from how Phund founder-president Barbara Saltzman developed it. Upon “The Jester’s” release, she was invited to speak about her late son’s book nationwide. She received hundreds of unsolicited letters from teachers, students and librarians with creative lesson ideas drawn from David’s story. She met students of all socio-economic levels, ethnicities, regions and backgrounds wanting to help sick kids with “The Jester.”

Barbara created a literacy program with the same determination she oversaw publication of the book. She consulted with educators, including her husband, Joe Saltzman, a nationally recognized professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Former editor of the L.A. Times daily entertainment section, Barbara knew how to organize and run an effective, motivational program.

In response to COVID-19, she now brings the same enthusiasm and expertise into reshaping the RMD project into an impactful remote program. “The RMD program is a wonderful way to elicit social-emotional learning tenets like social awareness and empathy in the K-5 grades,” said one principal requesting the virtual program for his low-income school.

Executive Director Amy Hastings has overseen the RMD program for 15 years as Program Director and 4 years as Executive Director. She coordinates all programs, evaluating their outcomes and building strong relationships with educators. She oversees donation of “Jester” books and dolls to over 350 hospitals. She conducts motivating assemblies and works closely with volunteers and staff to share her skills. Director of Development Nikie Hamilton works with both Amy and Program Director Connie Lopez in the expansion and development of our literacy and medical programs. Connie oversees myriad details to ensure that programs run smoothly and that all school and hospital needs are met.

Educators consistently praise the program’s ability to motivate children. “As I reflect on the variety of academic and enrichment programs that we have had in Magnolia School District, the Reading Makes A Difference Program has truly been one of the most rewarding and inspiring to students, staff and families in our community,” said Hanan Thornton, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, in Anaheim, CA. “The Kick-Off Assemblies at each school for kindergarten through 6th graders did a great job motivating both students and teachers. By the time the Recognition Assemblies took place, students had read hundreds of thousands of pages! Your RMD program has truly made a difference for our students and our community. We look forward to working with you again and hope to be able to continue this partnership for years to come.”

We see our progress in “The Jester’s” impact on every child David Saltzman's story touches ‒ both in hospitals and schools. Over 250,000 “Jester Has Lost His Jingle” books and Jester & Pharley Dolls have been donated to children with cancer and in support of student literacy since “The Jester’s” debut in 1995.

Release of the bilingual English/Spanish edition of “The Jester” in 2012 added an important resource to the programs. Enthusiasm for “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle/El Bufón ha perdido su gracia” has been so strong among Spanish-speaking families, hospitals and schools that in 2016 we released a second printing. We are now raising funds for a third printing.

“Half of the families I work with are Spanish speaking,” said one pediatric oncology social worker. “The children usually prefer to read in English but their parents only speak Spanish, so this book is perfect to bring smiles and unite parents and children. It is hard to put a value to anything that brings a smile to a child battling cancer. That’s why this book is invaluable. This book is perfect to bring smiles and unite parents and children under a special reading experience.”

In the last two decades, students in our RMD program have read over 45 million pages to donate “Jester” books and dolls to local hospitalized children. For some, reading had not been an important part of their lives. But when they realized that they could directly help a sick or injured child just by reading, their lives were transformed.

Vanessa U. is one such child. “Before I came to Jefferson, I hated reading. It wasn’t my thing,” Vanessa confided in a hand-written note to The Jester’s Mom (Barbara Saltzman). Things changed for the Compton, CA, fourth grader when The Phund brought our RMD program to her elementary school. “When I heard it would benefit kids in the hospital,” Vanessa wrote, she couldn’t stop reading. “Now I love to read! The Jester & Pharley Phund has inspired me.”

Her teachers and principal reported that her test scores had gone up, her comprehension and fluency also improved. They also saw her imagination fired up by “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle” ‒ both the story and its illustrations and the back story of its author-artist. “It’s been exciting to see Vanessa motivated to read more and to draw and create her own stories,” her teacher said. “She has been inspired to see how David himself found that drawing and illustrating ‘The Jester’ helped him cope with the challenges he faced.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the hundreds of hospitals eager to receive more copies of “The Jester” from our Read-A-Thons: “The children love receiving the book, and the smile it brings to their faces is priceless,” said one pediatric administrator. “We are delighted to give these copies to the children here at St. Jude. This is a delightful story, and one that brings many smiles to the patients and families.”

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • 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 inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • 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, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome,

Financials

JESTER & PHARLEY PHUND
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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JESTER & PHARLEY PHUND

Board of directors
as of 11/10/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Barbara Saltzman

The Jester & Pharley Phund

Term: 2000 - 2024


Board co-chair

Amy Forte

California State University

Term: 2018 - 2024

Beth Kleid

Community Advocate

Joe Saltzman

USC, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Mauricio Heilbron. MD

St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach, CA; Los Alamitos Medical Center

Jennifer Saltzman

Educator

Mark Wiedenmann

Chadwick School

Craig Fox

UCLA Anderson School of Business

Michael Saltzman

Film, TV Writer/Producer

Allan Jones, DDS

Allan C. Jones Dentistry

Mandaar Gokhale, MD

Mendocino Coast Hospital

Liz Mitchell

Former TV Journalist

James Vasquez

USC, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

David Odaka

Businessman/Entrepreneur

Deborah Zwelling

Health and Education Advocate

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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • 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? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Not applicable
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/19/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/20/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.