Kids’ Chance of Pennsylvania (KCPA) was founded in 1997 and is part of similar, but unaffiliated organizations, throughout the United States. Each of the founders of KCPA had an affiliation with workers’ compensation in our state. They were attorneys, brokers, underwriters, self-insurers, rehabilitation specialists, nurses and others interested in helping young men and women who have been thrust into difficult circumstances as a result of a catastrophic work-related injury, illness or death.
Galfand Berger was instrumental in getting KCPA established, and the PA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation provided meeting space and administrative support. In the beginning, there was no need for a scholarship committee. During the first two or three ears, not many applications were submitted. In fact, during the first year, only one application was received. During this period, each application was reviewed by every member of the Board of Directors. The following members of the Board of Directors were very instrumental in reviewing the applications: Dave Manley, Jayne Lemon and Ed Jackson.
By the late 1990’s, the number of applications greatly increased, and the Board of Directors saw the need to have a separate Scholarship Committee to review the applications. During this period, Ed Jackson, Ed Case, Jeff Gelburd and Dan Schuckers were very helpful in contributing to the efforts of the Scholarship Committee and in trying to develop standards for the awarding of Kids’ Chance of PA scholarships. Of primary concern to the Scholarship Committee was the need to balance academic achievement and financial need. That balance has remained of paramount importance in reviewing applications.
In 2003, the Board realized the need for outside administrative support to help with fundraising and back-office support. They hired Vicki Burkhart and The Burkhart Group, and this addition helped change the whole trajectory of KCPA for the better. They were able to reach more donors and more students, and established an online presence with a new website.
Since 2005, Varo Duffins, a financial aid professional currently at Swarthmore College outside of Philadelphia, has chaired the Scholarship Committee. He has brought his knowledge of educational finance to Kids’ Chance and has continually sought to define and refine the standards used by the Scholarship Committee. Because of his efforts, the scholarship review process has become more streamlined and has resulted in a more rational approach to awarding scholarships. “Lead with Need” is his mantra.
In 2017, administrative support transitioned to Jane Barr Horstman & Associates. With the guidance of Jane and her team, KCPA has increased their fundraising event activity with the addition of a second golf outing in the Philadelphia area to supplement the longstanding Hershey golf outing, a car show, and online auctions to help keep things going during the Covid-19 pandemic. KCPA also ventured further into the social media world to continue to connect with past and present students and current supporters.
In 2020, KCPA streamlined the application process once more by moving to a third-party provider, Kaleidoscope, Inc., to enable applicants and reviewers alike the opportunity to quickly and easily upload and view documents. Reviewers were now able to focus more on the applicants than the process.
Now in 2022, as we look back on 25 years, Kids’ Chance of Pennsylvania continues to set the standard among other Kids’ Chance organizations around the country and has proudly made a significant difference in the lives of affected Pennsylvania families by providing scholarship support to help eligible students pursue and achieve their higher education goals. To date, KCPA has awarded more than 1,000 scholarships to roughly 360 students totaling over $2.6 million! KCPA is setting itself up for future growth with the establishment of Endowment Funds to ensure they will always be able to provide #moremoneyformorekids! On to the next 25 years!
Kids’ Chance is a non-profit organization. Scholarship funds come through fully tax-deductible donations from individuals, companies, foundations, the United Way and various organizations active in workers’ compensation matters. Annual fund-raising events raise additional scholarship funds.