Friday, July 24, 2015

National Convention in Orlando

The Dream Factory's 2015 National Convention will be in Orlando, Fla., in just two months! It'll be hosted at the Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista on Sept. 24-27.

Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista
Registration opens on Thursday, Sept. 24. The following day will be the Executive Committee meeting, dinner with a few of our dream families at the always-wonderful Give Kids The World village, culminating with our awards program. Part of Friday will also be spent at the Sunshine Foundation village and at the MCO airport, where we'll welcome Dream Factory families arriving as part of mAAgic Flight. Then, on Saturday, our Board of Directors meeting will start at 9 a.m., followed by meetings throughout the day, highlighted by a picnic and party at GKTW.

We're super excited for all of our volunteers to gather to share ideas and plan for the year ahead during a packed weekend of activities.

Give Kids The World

Sunshine Foundation

Friday, July 17, 2015

'Best day ever'

Those were the words from recent dream recipient John after he traveled to California from Portland, Maine June 22-27. Following the trip, John's mother reported that he had an awesome experience. John's highlights were:

1. Backstage tour of the studios and to see the many props used in a lot of his favorite shows thanks to the VIP passes.

2. Being able to walk to the front of the line ahead of everyone else. He felt like a real VIP at Universal Studios.

3. Flying! The last time John flew he was a small boy so he couldn't wait to fly.

4. A gorgeous room at the Millennium Biltmore and he loved the valet parking and his door being opened for him every time. "It's nice to be the rich boy," John said.

5. "Drooling" over the houses on Sunset Blvd, along with the many other streets.

6. Walking the Hollywood Walk, trying on hats and taking many pictures with the hands and footprints from celebrities with signatures.

7. Stopping by a cool antique car dealership.

8. Eating at some awesome restaurants.

9. Driving in CRAZY traffic.

10. Riding in a jet ski in the ocean WITH SHARKS for over two hours. The family did not know they could do such a thing!

"I thank you for ALL of this," John's mother said. "Thank you for the wonderful opportunity you gave my son and the wonderful memories we will have forever. Thank you Dream Factory for all that you do for the children and their dreams!"

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ask Alfred Campaign

Summer Program Features Complimentary Breakfast and “I © Alfred” Placemat Contest

NEW YORK (June 30, 2015) – More than ever, kids are taking a larger role in planning family vacations, and Millennium Hotels and Resorts North America fuels these young guests’ wanderlust wishes with the award-winning Ask Alfred children’s program. Since its launch on July 10 - National Teddy Bear Picnic Day - last year, the program’s star namesake Alfred the bear has brought smiles to youngsters’ faces across the country.  From July 10 through September 30, 2015, Ask Alfred’s first birthday will be celebrated at each of the brand’s 14 hotels with a complimentary kids’ breakfast menu and “I © Alfred” coloring contest featuring the chance to win a two-night hotel stay for the entire family, airfare included.

Alfred the bear is part of a $15 custom-designed child’s amenity kit in partnership with leading toy company Melissa & Doug® and organic candy maker Surf Sweets®.  Families staying at any of the hotels can surprise little ones with an exclusive cinch bag featuring a cuddly Alfred Teddy Bear, Surf Sweets® Gummy Bears, a crayon activity set by Melissa & Doug®, Alfred’s Lovable Stickables and a dozen collectible Color Me postcards.

This summer, Millennium Hotels continues its commitment to The Dream Factory, the second largest wish-granting organization in the United States, which grants the dreams of critically and chronically ill children.  Millennium will donate $2 from each amenity sold, with the mission to match all proceeds to the organization at summer’s end. This pledge follows a $5,000 donation to The Dream Factory earlier this year.

For young guests aged 12 and under, Millennium’s complimentary breakfast menu offers a selection of favorites including Scrambled Eggs and French Toast with Maple Syrup. While dining, kids are invited to decorate their placemat depicting Alfred celebrating his first birthday and are also encouraged to continue their role as “vacation planner” by drawing their favorite summer activity. Families can submit the completed drawing to the hotel for a chance to win a return stay to Millennium in 2016.

Guests can take advantage of Ask Alfred by adding it on to the Summer FREEdom package, available through September 7, with 15 percent off accommodations, up to $50 food and beverage credit, and complimentary Internet.

No purchase necessary for contest. Runs from July 10 through 12:00 PM ET September 30. Winners will be selected via a random drawing, taking place at or about 2:00 PM Eastern Time October 30, 2015 from all eligible entries received.  Limit one prize per person.  Winners will be notified by phone and/or email. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Watch Dalton Cyr's new show on Amazon!

Dream Factory National Ambassador Dalton Cyr's new show, A History of Radness, has premiered on Amazon and is currently available to view for free! Make sure to watch it, rate it, comment and take the survey, and please SHARE with others.

Click HERE to watch and help support our National Ambassador and The Dream Factory.

Friday, June 26, 2015

'Your organization is truly making a difference'

From Abby's mother, Jan, following Abby's dream: 
"The trip was fantastic and went off as smoothly as it could have gone! It was so awesome to have everything down to the last detail taken care of for us! We were totally overwhelmed from the start; but the extras that Stacie (volunteer from the Louisville Chapter) brought by the night before we left were the icing on the cake! We wore our Dream Factory shirts and our buttons and pins a lot and helped spread the word about your fantastic organization.

"I can't tell you what an amazing thing you are doing for children like Abby and families like ours.  While Abby certainly suffers the most from her disease, it is so nice that you all remember that her diagnosis affects each and every member of the family. From the thousands and thousands of dollars for her medication and hospital visits that Michael and I deal with to the simple fact that for the last three years, Matthew has had to sometimes take a 'backseat' when Abby was ill and her needs just had to come first. Life with a chronic illness is so hard in so many ways. What you all are doing is fantastic because it gives the sick child as well as the rest of the family the opportunity to put all that aside, if only for a few days, and focus on fun family time together. 

"I heard Abby say more than once on our trip: 'You know, we wouldn't be on this trip if it weren't for me!' It was so nice for her to be the center of attention for the 'right' reasons! She is one of the strongest children I know and is definitely my hero. It is unbelievable to me the grace with which she handles what she must endure.

"Please know how much we appreciate what you did for Abby and our family. Your organization is truly making a difference in the lives of children who deserve to have something positive be centered around them. We are so very humbled by what all you did for us and sincerely thank you again from the bottom of our hearts."

Friday, June 5, 2015

Message from our National Director and President

The following is a message from Dream Factory National Director Todd Fairbanks and President Daniel Forrest as it appears on page 2 of our 2014 Annual Report. Click here to view the entire Annual Report.

It is a privilege to write this letter as the new National Director/CEO of The Dream Factory, Inc. I started my relationship with The Dream Factory’s group of wonderful volunteers in 2009 when I was Executive Director of Something mAAgic Foundation, a nonprofit foundation made up of American Airlines employees. Ten Dream Factory chapters participated in “mAAgicflight”, the marquee event of the foundation in which 10 seriously ill children and their families each experienced an unforgettable vacation in Orlando, Florida. Over the following number of years, I learned about the hard work and dedication the volunteers at our chapter level invest daily to fulfill the dreams of children with critical and chronic illnesses.

When I found out that Anne Bunger, past National Director/CEO, announced her retirement, I was able to pursue a dream of my own - to be associated with a national organization that does great things for seriously ill children and their families.

The last seven months have been a whirlwind of activities. I have been able to meet some great people with huge hearts and look forward to working with them as we move The Dream Factory into its next phase of development.
Thank you for your interest in this wonderful organization and please stay tuned as we grow this organization so we may help more children with critical and chronic illnesses.
I am excited about the future of the Dream Factory, and I hope you are as well.

Best regards,

Todd Fairbanks, National Director/CEO

This has been a remarkable year and I would like to share what an honor it is to serve as the President of the Board for the Dream Factory, Inc.  We are the preeminent, all-volunteer powered, dream granting organization in the world.  As we move from one fiscal year to another we do so with a huge milestone of transitioning our National Director.  After 25 years of service, our previous National Director, Anne Bunger, retired - but not before assisting us in recruiting our new National Director, Todd Fairbanks.  We are very fortunate to have Todd join our team after a detailed national search. He comes as no stranger.  During the past 6 years, The Dream Factory has been privileged to be part of “mAAgic Flight” and get to know Todd in his roll with the Something mAAgic Foundation.  We welcome Todd to our Dream Factory family.

In 2014 we celebrate several major accomplishments.  We established a great partnership with Millennium Hotels and Resorts.  The partnership is part of the award winning Ask Alfred children’s program launched last summer across 14 Millennium Hotels and Resorts properties in North America.  Since last year, we have increased our revenue by 13% allowing us to increase our total dreams by 12% (272 dreams).  We saw a large boost in our social media footprint by almost 40%.  For the third consecutive year we have maintained our excellent 4-star rating with Charity Navigator, the largest evaluator of charities in North America.   Last, but certainly not least, in September 2014 we saw the formation of The Dream Factory Foundation, Inc., a public foundation, established exclusively for the purpose of supporting the programs and mission of The Dream Factory and its local chapters.   While they are a separate 501(c)3 organization, we look forward to partnering with them as we take our strategic planning to the next level.

We greet the coming year with a great sense of optimism, as we continue the life changing work of granting dreams to critically and chronically ill children across the US.  We look forward to the formation of new chapters, recruitment of new volunteers and continuing to serve our children and their families.

Respectfully yours,

Daniel Forrest, President

Monday, May 18, 2015