JEFFERSON — In its 23rd year, Tomorrow’s Hope is continuing its tradition in supporting the local health care system with the goal of bettering outcomes for people with life-limiting disease.
Over its two-decade-plus existence in the greater Jefferson County area, Tomorrow’s Hope has granted more than $4.2 million to boost health care outcomes for people in the local area.
Keeping the funding mechanisms going for that effort has been a challenge for the past two years, as the pandemic has wiped Tomorrow’s Hope’s major fundraiser and community event off the calendar.
To bolster the non-profit’s funding base and allow it to carry on its mission in a new era, Tomorrow’s Hope has set a Giving Tuesday campaign, with a new T-shirt in the offering for local supporters.
“When we had to cancel Hope Fest for the second year in a row, we talked to a handful of people who wanted to see a 2021 Tomorrow’s Hope T-shirt to fill out their collection,” said Todd Wiedenhoeft, executive director of Tomorrow’s Hope.
Last year, we did a 2020 T-shirt that was very well-received,” Wiedenhoeft said.
Last year’s T-shirts were priced fairly high, to raise the maximum amount for the charity. This year, Wiedenhoeft said, planners decided to make them more affordable so that everyone who wanted one could get one.
“Our goal is to sell another 100 T-shirts this year,” the Tomorrow’s Hope director said. “The income won’t be huge, but it will give us something to move forward with, while allowing us to thank the people who have supported us all this time.
The shirts were designed by Tomorrow’s Hope board member Kevin Ryan, who owns the Johnson Creek-based business 2kre8.com.
The slogan on the shirt reflects Tomorrow’s Hope’s goal to “move forward” despite all of the challenges of the pandemic.
It reads: “Moving Forward: I am, you are, we all are Tomorrow’s Hope,” with the year 2021.
“There’s nothing more true than that,” Wiedenhoeft said. “It’s up to us to create a better tomorrow.”
With an eye to the community’s needs through and beyond the pandemic, Tomorrow’s Hope has retooled its efforts over the past couple of years.
The nonprofit will continue to give grants to area health care organizations, institutions and services for the purposes of research, treatment, care and education/prevention efforts regarding life-limiting disease.
These grants, which formerly comprised the entirety of Tomorrow’s Hope’s efforts, have been renamed Barb Endl grants in honor of the organization’s first president/director, who led Tomorrow’s Hope for its first two decades.
The grants that the nonprofit has provided in the past, have gone to the Fort Atkinson and Watertown hospitals, Rainbow Hospice Care based in Johnson Creek, the Watertown and Jefferson County free clinics, the Alzheimer’s Association regional office, and the National Niemann Pick Disease Foundation Inc., based in Fort Atkinson.
Tomorrow’s Hope has also funded cancer research through the Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Care Center at University Hospital in Madison and has funded programming at major children’s hospitals in the region.
In addition to supporting these traditional grants, as it moves forward into the new era, Tomorrow’s Hope will be doing more targeted programs, such as the current scalp cooling program aimed to minimizing hair loss among cancer patients receiving treatment at the Johnson Creek Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We’ll still be doing our traditional grants, but we’re moving into a more program-based model in the future,” Wiedenhoeft said.
To support Tomorrow’s Hope on Giving Tuesday and beyond, people can purchase a T-shirt or donate directly to the nonprofit.
T-shirts can be ordered online via the organization’s website, tomorrowshope.org and pay by credit card. The Giving Tuesday campaign should be front and center on the website.
For those who don’t have access to the internet or prefer to use a personal check, the Tomorrow’s Hope office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 30. People can stop in at the office, located at 144 W. Garland St., Jefferson, or call the organization at 920-674-8967.
In the meantime, the overarching Tomorrow’s Hope organization is working with the Tomorrow’s Hope club from Jefferson High School to schedule a few additional fundraisers and awareness-raising activities in the coming months.
“Between the high school group and our board, we are looking at doing seven or eight activities in the coming months, with tentative dates in February, June and October,” Wiedenhoeft said.