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Nonprofit Profile , Conner’s Cause for Children



Carol Del Signore, executive director

Mission of organization: The mission of Conner’s Cause for Children is to ease the burden for families of children with life-threatening diseases.

Telephone: (760) 487-1592.

Web site: www.connerscause.org.

Founded: 1995.

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Milestone: Last year, we helped a record number of 312 families, of which more than 180 were new applicants , the highest number in our history.

Annual income: For the past few years, we have averaged $200,000 in annual revenue.

Expense allocation: Approximately 88 percent of our annual income goes to program services.

Corporate support: We receive much of our corporate support through sponsorships associated with our annual gala and golf tournament. We also receive donations from the corporate community, including in-kind donations in the form of goods and services.

Corporate supporters: In 2007, some of our corporate sponsors included Arden Realty, Buechler Capital, Smart Storage of San Diego, Lehman Bros., Merrill Lynch, Resmed Inc., Capstone Headwear, Claritas, Puronyx, Neyenesch Printing and Henry’s Farmer’s Markets.

Board chair: Our chairman is John Champ, Conner’s father, and our treasurer is Ray Gliner.

Board members: Currently, we have six board members, including a pediatric oncologist.

Employees: One full-time employee.

Volunteers: 60 adult, 20 teenage volunteers.

Events: This year, our 12th Annual Golf Classic is scheduled for April 28 at La Costa Resort and Spa. Our 2008 Annual Gala will take place Oct. 11 at the Birch Aquarium.

Wish list: A choir of corporate angels who can help us build and sustain our capacity to meet the ever-increasing need for our services and an endowment to ensure the continuation of Conner’s Cause.


OFFICE ISSUES

Recent challenge: The number of new applications and requests for assistance doubled in 2007, but our revenue did not.

Measures of success: We measure success one family at a time, so for every gas or grocery card we send out, or bill we pay, one family has one less thing to worry.

Smartest move: We recently began to more actively engage our longtime supporters as volunteers to help with our fund-raising events, as well as to help us locate more in-kind resources that we can provide to our families.

Missed opportunity: If I miss one a week, that’s not bad.

Misconception: Because we provide services to families of very sick children, we must often correct the misperception that we receive public funding or support from the government or much larger institutions.


PROFESSIONAL INSIGHTS

Personal path to nonprofit work: Shortly after my daughter was born, a friend offered me a part-time job at a community organization in Brooklyn, New York. I thought it would be a temporary break from practicing law. Fourteen years later, when I reluctantly moved to San Diego, I was one of the directors.

Toughest aspect: Trying to keep all of the balls in the air.

Most surprising aspect: Nonprofit work is addictive.

Biggest pain: Nonprofit work is addictive.

Greatest pleasure: No matter how hectic or frustrating, I know that what I did today brought some comfort or hope or knowledge to someone less fortunate than me.


INTROSPECTIONS

Best recent moment: When one of our long-time donors stepped forward to donate a used car to one of our families.

Worst recent moment: When we issued six checks in one week to families to help pay for end-of-life expenses.

Dream for another life: Coming back as a Tuscan villa-based, philanthropic fairy godmother.

Downtime: Music, cooking, travel, movies, reading and trying to find time to exercise.

Causes: Comprehensive health care reform, human rights and sustainable agriculture.

Most like to meet: The presidential candidates, plus George Clooney and Bette Midler.


Send Nonprofit Profile candidates to Tom York at

tyork@sdbj.com

. Profiles are selected and published on a space available basis.

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