Inspired by an American tourist in London, one birthday club gives new meaning to the word unselfish.
Julia Hart was in Europe on her birthday in the 1980s visiting the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children when she decided to create the Peter Pan Birthday Club where children celebrating their special day have guests bring money for sick kids instead of presents.
“On my tenth birthday I visited the Great Ormond Street Hospital where James Barrie willed the rights to the Peter Pan story. On that day my grandmother had taken me shopping for a birthday present even though I expected the whole store,” said Hart. “I asked myself ‘What if every child gave up one birthday, just one? How many kids could we help?’ After my trip to London I asked friends to make a donation to a Children’s Hospital instead of buying me birthday presents.”
Children can register with the Peter Pan Children’s Fund (PPCF) to receive a packet of ideas for decorations, goodie bag, games, and lots more. The website is peterpanchildrensfund.org.
Hart said the club open to kids under 12 raised a lot of money in the first year.
You can select a children’s hospital that will benefit from your birthday party if you’re a child then send out invites to friends and family telling them that you have signed up for the club. Donor envelopes are included in invitations which the club sends to those who sign up.
And the birthday kid still gets to have birthday cake.
After the party the club is notified of the total amount in monetary birthday gifts and a matching gift application is filed.
Then the birthday child makes a date to present the children’s hospital with their birthday check. The child can choose how they would like their gift to help other children. Thank you notes are sent to friends of the person celebrating and the club and hospital get a list from the child’s family of party guests and addresses for thank you notes to be sent on their behalf.
The birthday child will receive a certificate and surprise Peter Pan gifts.
The club is based in Pound Ridge, NY and has raised over $250,000 so far for children’s hospitals throughout the country and in matching funds.
The Order of Pan is the off-shoot of the club for teenage parties and school fundraisers. Children’s hospitals are different in many ways, among them presenting prevention programs teaching children how to keep from getting sick.
Those involved with The Order of Pan visit children’s hospitals and learn about them.
James Barrie, author of Peter Pan was said to be a generous man who received the Order of Merit by the King of England.
Adults can become a philanthropic mentor through the club by being involved in the Matching Gift Program which adds up to $500 for qualifying parties or fundraisers for a children’s hospital. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible.
From Seattle, Washington to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth numerous hospitals have benefited from the club, a 501Ã?Â© 3 organization.