Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is transforming pediatric health care one fundraiser at a time

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has a busy schedule of fundraisers, and volunteers are welcome

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is transforming pediatric health care one fundraiser at a time.Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is campaigning to "transform pediatric healthcare for the next 100 years.".The annual "John Smoltz Braves Celebrity-Am" gold tournament kicks off Sunday, Aug. 6."Braves Kids Mystery Baseball Fundraiser" begins Monday, Aug. 14."Southern Sizzle" starts Thursday, Sept. 14

According to health care ranking authority U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the eighth best hospital in the country for pediatric cancer. It’s the 12th best in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. From urology to orthopedics to neurology, the Georgia-based health care system is a perennial contender among the country’s top pediatric medical centers.

That award-winning health care doesn’t happen by accident however. It takes an entire community of donors and volunteers to keep the proverbial wheels turning.

Raising $1 billion for Atlanta’s children

For over a century, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has functioned with a single motivation in mind — “making kids better today and healthier tomorrow.” In April 2022, the hospital launched Never Settle: A Campaign for Kids. The five-year campaign is dedicated to transforming the next 100 years of pediatric health care for the hospital, and to raising $1 billion to make it happen.

Paired with $2.4 billion in investments from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Never Settle project will usher in the largest health care project in Georgia history through the creation of the Arthur M. Blank Hospital.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Alex Faas, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s what our team talks about a lot. It’s not every day you build a hospital from the ground up. So to be able to be a part of the Never Settle campaign has truly been remarkable. I think that’s what is so important. The past couple years we just all went through. I think that it’s more important now than ever to make sure that as the City of Atlanta grows, we are growing to keep up capacity with it.”

Never Settle: A Campaign for Kids is just one of the many ways Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is raising funds to improve the quality of pediatric care in the Atlanta area. The health care system keeps a busy schedule of various fundraising events that aid ailing children in unique ways.

Brushing shoulders with celebs to make a difference

This weekend — Sunday, Aug. 6, through Monday, Aug. 7, the hospital is hosting its 31st annual John Smoltz Braves Celebrity-Am. Dedicated to raising money for pediatric cancer research at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, the golf tournament offers participants an opportunity to brush shoulders with high-profile athletes and local celebrities alike.

“It is sold out,” she said. “It sells out every year, and not just one golf course. It’s taking place at three separate locations all at the same time. We have all different types of celebrities that are coming into play, whether it’s the NFL, NBA or MLB.”

The golf tournament will take place across the Atlanta National Golf Club, White Columns Country Club, and Hawks Ridge Golf Club.

“We have some local Atlanta celebrities too,” Fass said. “Our golf events are super fun. It lets us get outdoors. It lets us engage a larger group of people, which is also really great because we get to expand across three different locations. But again, this event has raised over $4 million for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center.”

Win a signed baseball from Atlanta’s World Series champs

For those that can’t make tee time this weekend, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has plenty more in store. From Aug. 14 through Aug. 16, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation is partnering with the Braves Foundation and Bally Sports South to raise money for its Brave Kids Mystery Baseball Fundraiser. For fans of Atlanta’s World Series champs, it’s a great opportunity to win some signed swag while making a difference in local children’s lives.

“Brave Kids was an amazing initiative started two years ago,” Fass explained. “We partner with the Braves Foundation to get current and former (Atlanta) Braves players to sign baseballs. And so if you make a donation of $125, we mail you a baseball. You’re not gonna know what you’re gonna get. But there are some great names on that list that are participating. That event’s only in its third year and has raised over $300,000. So it raises about $150,000 every year. We partner with Bally Sports to announce it during the broadcast and that is actually one of our quickest fundraisers to sell out.”

Braves fans interested in participating better order quick if they wish to land a signed ball of their own.

“It usually sells out within the first two or three days, and luckily our Braves have been doing really well, so we are expecting another early sellout year,” Faas said.

Cocktails for camp, a mighty good cause

Thursday, Sept. 14, at Westside’s Summerour Studio, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is hosting Southern Sizzle for those looking to cool off with a stiff cocktail.

“Southern Sizzle actually is a blend of a really long standing event called Summer Sizzle, and then we had a winter event called Southern Chill,” Faas said. “It’s a very traditional cocktail party, which is really fun for us too. It allows everyone to get up, get excited and get dressed up. But the cool thing about that is what it benefits changes every year. So we have what we call friends groups. It’s like neighborhood volunteer groups.

“There’s a Brookwood Hills friends group. There’s a Brookhaven friends group, and this is the one event where all of our friends groups come together and support one main event.”

This year, Southern Sizzle is raising money for the hospital’s Camp for Kids program.

“And it’s something that we’ve been really passionate about this year because... a lot of our patients don’t necessarily get a traditional summer camp experience — whether it’s because they need to be in the clinic every week, or they need special medicine or they need specialized care,” Faas said. “And so these camps allow our campers to go to camp with other patients that are going through similar experiences with them.”

“It’s really amazing to hear patients go, ‘oh my gosh, I had that doctor,’ or, ‘I see that nurse,’” she later added. “And they really get to bond with each other. But again, none of that would happen without donor support. So that’s why things like Southern Sizzle are so important and then getting to play along with that.”

How to donate, volunteer and find an event perfect for you

John Smoltz Braves Celebrity-Am, Brave Kids Mystery Baseball Fundraiser and Southern Sizzle are just a handful of the fundraising events Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is brewing up this year. From October’s Butterfly Run to November’s Jeff Francoeur Home Run Derby, there are numerous events each and every month where interested locals can donate, participate and volunteer.

“We have plenty of events every year where we’re looking for volunteers, whether it is passing out t-shirts at our Superhero Sprint, which is the 5k we do every summer at Piedmont Park,” Faas said. “We do a great Swim Across America event at Lake Lanier that we’re always looking for volunteers for.”

Currently, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is looking for volunteers to sign up for its upcoming Mailbox Brigade, Buy a Boo, Superhero Sprint and Swim Across America events. Those interested in finding an event that suits them best to participate in can find the hospital’s fundraising event schedule here. Those interested in learning more about volunteering opportunities can do so here. Donations to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta can be made here.

“I get to see the little miracles happen every day, and I realize that I have a very unique perspective of what we’re doing, but I think why it’s important is... this is really gonna be the people that are building the city of Atlanta for many years to come,” Faas said, when asked about the importance of raising funds for Atlanta’s children. “So we need to be able to make sure that we can care for every child that walks through our doors, whether it’s a broken bone, whether it’s cancer. There’s so much work that our amazing physicians are doing, and I know that there’s so much more that they want to do. We just need the resources to be able to make that possible.

“So I would say that the reason why it’s important to give to Children’s is everyone knows someone. Everyone is someone that has been through our hospital doors. We have touched most of the families within the City of Atlanta, and I know that I feel really lucky, that when I have kids one day, I live in a city that has a top pediatric hospital and I have somewhere to take them because not everyone has that luxury or has that opportunity.”