Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms Local Nonprofit Spotlight Series!
As a kick off to this important series, we are thrilled to introduce to you a local nonprofit making generational waves: Gratitude Generation (a.k.a. g2). Gratitude Generation’s mission is,”to create a platform where children receive an education about the social needs of the world at large down to our local community by providing an opportunity to serve and improve the lives of at-risk populations.” You’ll never guess who sparked this big idea…. Loving, but spoiling grandparents, and a mom who wanted to do something powerful to show her loving three-year-old girl how good it feels to give – and not only receive! Today g2 partners with over 30 national nonprofits! G2 organizes ‘pay it forward’ events/civil service projects like organizing school supplies, beach clean up, lunch kits for homeless shelters and much more! Here is our exclusive interview with Erin Kerpel of g2!
What is your nonprofit called and how long have you been established?
Gratitude Generation. We just celebrated our one year anniversary!
What is your mission?
Our mission is to instill gratitude in future generations through education and service.
Who does Gratitude Generation serve?
Most of our volunteers are from the North Shore, and we have created “friendships” with over 30 nonprofits who we have supported in various ways! We have provided meals for families in need, school supplies for kids in need (based on their actual school supply lists), as well as cleanup and other restorative projects to help the environment. We have also developed an adopt-a-senior program where kids meet with seniors on a monthly basis to really allow them to develop a relationship.
What was a recent project you worked on? How did it come to fruition?
We recently had a drop-in event at Heinen’s in Bannockburn for families to complete simple service projects in support of 3 other nonprofits. We learned about a few nonprofits that are all doing amazing things to support children and families. We developed this event that allowed people to learn about the nonprofits and it also provided them with an opportunity to give back. Children and families decorated journals for kids who have experienced loss, and created care packs for children with cancer, as well as other chronic illnesses. The families also had the option of creating a gratitude jar to help them incorporate gratitude into their everyday lives!
What was the inspiration behind the formation of your business or nonprofit?
Lisa Sanders created a Facebook post in a private Facebook group, stating that she would like to set up an event where her 3-year-old daughter could give her toys to families in need. Over 400 people responded to her post, so she planned a brainstorming meeting for anyone who was interested in attending. We ended up incorporating a version of that idea into our launch party, which took place last April at the Highwood Rec Center. About 350 people of all ages attended, and many brought new or gently used toys which were then donated to several organizations. We had a DJ, Minute to Win it games with FSA, a face painter, cupcake decorating, and a silent auction. Families also had the opportunity to assemble Gratitude Gifts (aka birthday bags). We raised $5,000, which went to Gratitude Generation so that we could continue to develop programming for families to participate in. From that original Facebook post, Gratitude Generation was formed!
What’s on the horizon (with respect to your endeavor; future plans or goals)?
We have been working with the Chicago Wolves to plan service events for each of their home games next season, we launched a Mitzvah Project Program to assist kids in planning and executing their mitzvah projects, we will soon be choosing the kids to form our next kids’ board and we are working on completing the curriculum that we are currently developing so that it can be piloted for the 2019-2020 school year.
Excellent! I’m sure we have some readers out there who would like to get involved! What speaker topics/experts are you looking for? Who can our readers contact if they want to volunteer their expertise? Do you have specific milestones/dates you can share with us (ie. gratitude clubs)?
We are working on developing a plan for speakers, as well as continuing to develop our own programming. Readers can contact us at [email protected]. Everything on the horizon is still being developed. We are constantly updating our website and Facebook page. We would love for the readers to attend our service events and become an active part of our organization!
We also have amazing kids on our kids’ board who have worked hard to create their own meaningful programming! Kids’ Board applications for the 2019-2020 school year will be available May 1st and are due May 28th.
Kids’ Board, that is a great idea! A great way to introduce leadership responsibilities. What is an example of “their own meaningful programming?” If our readers have children who want to get involved in your board is that possible and how?
Our Kids’ Board plans their own programming. For example, this past Thanksgiving they created a program where they found families to sponsor 55 military families for Thanksgiving! They created a list of nonperishable items for families to shop for, and then planned a an event where all of the food items would be delivered. At this event, they had a pumpkin pie contest, face painting, a few games and a bake sale. They raised nearly $1000 at the bake sale, and used that money to purchase turkeys for all of the families. They then went to the military base and the families came to pick up all of the food that the kids had collected for them. They are currently planning a fun run to raise money to purchase a service dog for a 5th grade Deerfield boy with a rare form of cancer. It will be a fun family event with a bake sale, a crafts, family games, and a large silent auction/raffle. More information can be found on our website gratitudegeneration.org. Readers can also email us at [email protected] if they have a child who would like to be involved!
What are additional ways in which our readers can contribute or volunteer their time?
Please join us for one of the many volunteer opportunities! Check out and sign up for our events on our Facebook page or the Gratitude Generation calendar! Some upcoming events:
- Friday, April 26 3:30-5:30pm: Help the Northern IL Food Bank, Highwood
- Sunday, April 28 12:45-4pm: Participate or donate: Fun Run/Walk & Family Activity to help fund a service dog for a local 5th grader with a rare form of cancer @ Deer Path Middle School, Lake Forest
- Saturday, May 4 10:30am-2:30pm: Ronald McDonald House Lunch Volunteers, Chicago
- More events click here!
And finally, who are these amazing super mamas that make Gratitude Generation?
None of this would be possible without the generous support and time of our fearless leaders. They are (in no particular order):
Lisa Sanders – brings with her her incredible passion for Gratitude Generation. She is also busy creating a curriculum for teachers to use in their classrooms
Nicki Sutherland – brings incredible commitment to exploring and learning all things that are involved — from sludging through government documents on how to establish a nonprofit to becoming Webmaster
Jill Rivkin – is Gratitude Generation’s secretary, communications director and social media extraordinaire.
Allison Silver – is our amazing treasurer who is always able approach situations rationally and with the most positive perspective
Erin Kerpel – brings the mission of our organization to life by planning engaging service events that allow that participants to feel the glow of giving.
Reach out to Gratitude Generation and get your ball rolling towards your local communities!