At DEFENDERS, service to others is near and dear to our hearts. It doesn’t just inform how we do business, it’s part of our personality. In addition to helping with our core charities, we encourage our team members to find a cause that resonates with them personally and then we support them in their campaigns. So that’s what Adam Axthelm did—he chose to help Together We Rise.
Adam realized there was a tremendous need for children in foster care. There are approximately 1,200 kids going into the foster care system every day in the US. Foster parent need is at an all-time high. To help with the need, Adam organized a campaign to support Together We Rise and we have just wrapped up our third successful year!
Together We Rise is an organization that supports children in foster care. Traditionally, when children enter the foster care system, they are handed a trash bag to fill with their belongings. When Adam discovered this, he worried at the message we are sending to children in the foster care system: “Thinking of kids being given trash bags really struck a chord with me.” He decided to enlist the help of DEFENDERS.
To assist Together We Rise, DEFENDERS helps raise money for two of their programs:
Sweet Cases: These cases are provided to younger children in place of the traditional trash bag. They are filled with items to help ease the transition into foster care or to a new home. DEFENDERS raised money to purchase needed items and team members help assemble the cases and fill them.
Bicycle Builds: Together We Rise offers a Build-A-Bike program. DEFENDERS team members used the proceeds from fundraisers to buy and construct bicycles for children in foster care.
Twenty-five internal volunteers gathered at each event to assemble these items for local foster kids. But, the program received even more attention when the Indianapolis Indians became involved. To help support these efforts, the team auctioned off limited edition jerseys and used the proceeds as part of the Build-A-Bike program. The Bike Build event was held at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis.
As a result of the combined efforts of DEFENDERS and the Indianapolis Indians, we were able to donate approximately $10,000 to be used toward the Sweet Case and Bike Build program. This campaign remains a cause that matters to Adam and to DEFENDERS. Adam said, “I have had tremendous support from my peers, my manager, the director and VP, all the way up to Jim [CEO of DEFENDERS].”