The nonprofit organization Claire’s Place Foundation, founded by a 17-year-old cystic fibrosis patient (CF), was recently awarded “Small Nonprofit Organization of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. The recognition was attributed to the positive the impact that the organization named after Claire Wineland has had on children and families affected by the disease.
The foundation received the award in the small organization category as part of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s fourth annual Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards are meant to distinguish both individuals and organizations that have made an outstanding impact in the community. One of the main features valued is the capacity of pursuing non-profitable goals, even under financial constraints. More than 100 nominees were honored at the event, and Claire herself received the award.
“I was just about speechless when they called my name to accept the award,” said Claire. “We are so very lucky to live in a world where when we see a need in a community of people we can make a difference. I am just so honored to be in the company of all of these organizations making the world a better place.”
With the mission of providing support to children and families affected by CF, Claire’s Place has found new ways to spread their message, including educating the population about the disease, assisting children and families with hospital expenses, and organizing original fundraising events, such as “flash mobs” or poker games. On the foundation website, ht is also possible to make tax-deductible donations.
In only one year, the foundation was awarded three grants, including $10,000 in funding from the California Community Foundation (CCF) to help patients dealing with extended hospital stays. In 2013, the foundation had already been awarded with $5,000 in grants by the same foundation. Claire’s Place also added two new board members.
Claire Wineland, 17 years old, was born with CF and was submitted to dozens of surgeries during her childhood and adolescence. However, she has always tried to fight the disease and pursue becoming a singer, artist, composer, and comedian. In 2010, after one of her surgeries, her lungs suffered a failure and she was induced into a coma for two weeks while turned into an oscillator vent.
During this time, her family always felt the support from other people in the hospital as well as unknowns. Her journey was published on her Facebook page and inspired so many people that when she woke up, she decided to create the foundation. Claire and her family wanted other families to experience the kind of support that they received, which can make the difference for other children and teens with cystic fibrosis.