Dawn Wilcox is vice president, corporate partnerships at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She conceived the Make March Matter fundraising campaign, which is now in its fourth year.
The annual campaign supports Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), which is the No. 1 ranked children’s hospital on the West Coast, dedicated to offering more than 350 specialty programs and services to help the health of children.
Uken Report (UR): What is Make March Matter?
Wilcox: “Make March Matter is a campaign we created in 2016 to engage our local community to help us raise money to put towards critical health care services we provide to our pediatric patients. Each year our goal is to raise $1 million in the month of March.”
UR: When did this effort start?
Wilcox: “This campaign was launched in 2016 and last year Children’s National Medical System in Washington, D.C. joined the campaign as a licensed partner.”
UR: What was the pivotal moment, incident, that prompted it?
Wilcox: “When I joined Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2013 I began meeting with companies who had not yet ever supported CHLA. Many of them asked “what is your time of year?” and “what is your ‘pink ribbon’ type of month?” That’s when I realized that there wasn’t a time of year dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s health more broadly and children’s hospitals specifically.”
UR: This will be the third year Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has partnered with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center (BSCC) in Rancho Mirage. How did that partnership materialize and why is the BSCC so critical in this fundraising effort?
Wilcox: “Yes, this is the third year of partnering with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. One of CHLA’s incredible physicians, Dr. Karen Imagawa (who oversees CHLA’s Audrey Hepburn CARES center focusing on children who’ve been abused), brought to our attention the work she was doing with the BSCC and concurrently we’ve been building relationships over the years with a number of patient families (parents and grandparents) who live in the Coachella Valley and bring their children to CHLA for treatment. It was the perfect time to showcase the work of Dr. Imagawa seeing patients who are being treated at BSCC while also talking about the many families in the Desert that CHLA serves.”
UR: What has been one of the biggest benefits of the partnership?
Wilcox: “While this campaign has been a fundraising success – raising more than $5 million since it first started – one of the biggest benefits has been seeing the number of people who have a connection to CHLA and/or BSCC and who also have a business or know someone who owns a business, jump in and want to participate in a meaningful way. It’s also been very special to see social media posts from patient families who stop by one of their favorite businesses and learn in that moment that they are also supporting the place that saved their child’s life.”
UR: What will be new and different this year?
Wilcox: “This year we’re honored to receive a ‘challenge grant’ of $100,000 from the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation. For every dollar we raise up to $100,000, they will match it. We also have a number of new and returning partners in the Coachella Valley including Shottenkirk Desert Lexus, KMIR-TV, Maracas, JT’s Diner, The Slice, Renova Energy, World Gym, UNOde50 and many others who will be running special promotions and making donations throughout the month of March.”
UR: How much has been raised since this effort started – and how specifically has it been used?
Wilcox: “We’ve raised more than $5 million total and more than $400,000 in the Coachella Valley. The funds raised in the Coachella Valley specifically go to support the work of Dr. Imagawa in seeing and treating patients at BSCC.”
UR: How many children do you estimate will be helped with the money raised in this effort?
Wilcox: “It’s hard to estimate the number of children helped by these funds given the significant number of children we treat each year. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is the only top 10 children’s hospital in the country that is also a ‘safety net’ hospital. That means that more than 70 percent of the patients we treat are on Medi-Cal or have no insurance at all. Therefore, we rely on the generosity of the community and all the businesses and individuals that participate in Make March Matter to help us bridge that gap and allow us to continue treating every child that walks through our doors regardless of their family’s financial status.”
UR: What is the best way for an individual to contribute to this fundraiser?
Wilcox: “People can contribute by making a purchase or by attending an event with one of our campaign partners that support CHLA and BSCC. They can also make a donation at www.makemarchmatter.org, which is also where a full list of our partners can be found. We also encourage people to share on social media how they are participating in the campaign and use the #MakeMarchMatter.”
UR: Why March?
Wilcox: “Because March is the beginning of spring, new beginnings and hope. And that’s what Make March Matter is all about. Providing hope to thousands of children and their families.”
UR: Where can people learn more?
Wilcox: Click here to learn more. And please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @makemarchmatter.
- Hero-Dawn-Wilcox–1200×852-v1: Children's Hospital Los Angeles