Big things happen when communities band together.
At the end of last year, Howard Hanna agents from across northeast Ohio joined Howard “Hoby” Hanna, president of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, at Akron Children’s Hospital to kick off the Howard Hanna Choo Choo Chow Chow fundraising events.
The annual initiative brings together real estate agents, clients, friends and family to have a good time while raising money for the Howard Hanna Children’s Free Care Fund, a program that benefits children’s hospitals in communities where the organization has a presence – including Akron Children’s.
The hospital and fund’s goals are one and the same: to ensure that every child gets the care they deserve, regardless of their ability to pay.
Raising funds while having fun
How do Chow Chows work? Each office hosts an event – anything from potlucks and themed dinners to wine tastings and bingo nights. In 2018, Howard Hanna offices in Ohio raised $434,927 – all of which stayed in the state.
Last year, the Children’s Free Care Fund chose to support Akron Children’s Together in the Community (T.I.C.) Night Out, an event for children with a tic disorder or Tourette syndrome. Because the conditions can be socially isolating, the T.I.C. Night Out is especially important for patient families. It’s a chance for their children to spend an evening in the community without experiencing the anxiety they may have going out.
Katrina Lindsay, PhD, NCSP, pediatric psychologist and director of the school success clinic and Tic and Tourette service at Akron Children’s, provided an overview of the event that welcomed more than 250 kids and their parents.
“By coming together as a community, our kids are able to feel normal for one night – thank you!” she said to the attendees.
“Home Happens Here”
Debbie Donahue, executive director of the Howard Hanna Children’s Free Care Fund, said Chow Chow events are so important because they reflect the company’s philanthropic culture.
In 1988, Howard Hanna chairman Hoddy Hanna was invited to join a newsboy campaign, which began in Pittsburgh and started with a simple jar on the front desk of Howard Hanna real estate offices.
It soon transformed into office potlucks, and, 32 years later, the program is its own nonprofit charity that has raised more than $1 million since 2012. Today, Chow Chows take place in nine states and involve more than 300 Howard Hanna offices. In total, the Children’s Free Care Fund has raised and donated more than $16 million in support of several children’s hospitals in the company’s market areas.
The program has a motto of “Home Happens Here.” Donahue said that while Howard Hanna is in the business of homes, this program is making sure that children have access to high-quality medical care close to home.
“Thank you, Howard Hanna, for your support of Akron Children’s and helping the children in our community have a place to go for nationally renowned health care,” said Machelle Syx, director of corporate alliance and special events at Akron Children’s.