In an effort to help shine some light on charities and causes close to the hearts and minds of Napzok Files listeners, we present this list of charities, organizations, and campaigns as selected by listeners on the Patreon page and Discord Server as well as some close friends and colleagues of Ken. Some of the listed charities and causes are local and small in scale and some are larger in scope, but all of them have personal meaning to those that nominated them.
CALIFORNIA FIRE FOUNDATION
What is it:The California Fire Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect. Your tax-deductible donation will help them commemorate fallen heroes, offer scholarships to children of fallen firefighters, and provide aid to victims of fire or other natural disaster, ensuring that firefighters and their loved ones are forever cared for, as well as those they shelter from disaster.
How you can help: Donate through their website with a one-time donation, recurring donation, donation in honor or memory of someone, or become a partner.
What is it: Be The Match is the name of the National Bone Marrow Donor program. More information is available on the website, but, in short, Be The Match is a great way to match people in need of bone marrow to help fight life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma with a national registry of bone marrow donors. Bone Marrow donors can absolutely save lives and are needed every day.
How you can help: Consider signing up to be a bone marrow donor. The process is tremendously simple! Despite over 19 million volunteers in the registry, it can still prove to be difficult to find life saving matches.
Nominated by: Ken Napzok, "A few years ago I became a donor as part of a bone marrow drive put on by a friend of a friend who's daughter had a leukemia. Sadly the little girl passed away at two years of age because they could not find a bone marrow donor match in time. It impressed on me the important of gathering even more donors. A few years later I was a match for someone. Sadly, before I completed the donor process, the situation of the person I matched with changed and my marrow was no longer needed. I hope one day it can. Consider signing up today HERE!"
What is it: The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is an organization that raises funds to specifically support childhood cancer research. Their support helps to fund clinical trials, helps to share research findings, and helps to ensure that there are enough trained pediatric oncologists to treat every child that is diagnosed with cancer. More information can be found on the website.
How can you help: There are many ways to get involved. You can simply make a tax deductible donation. The foundation can help you to set up your own fundraising event. They also can assist you in setting up a fund in someone’s name if there is someone special you would like to honor or memorialize. They are most well known for their shaving events. At these events you can “go bald for a cause” and have your head shaved to raise funds and awareness.
Nominated by: Patreon member Jeff Saunders (scribbler1974), “As a pediatric hematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplant nurse, I am constantly reminded of the need for more research. No one should have to go through what these brave little gals, guys, and their families endure. St. Baldrick’s does make a difference. The research that it funds helps to create better treatments for the various childhood cancers. The research also helps to improve the outcomes for bone marrow transplants. Participating in the head shaving events each Spring is something I look forward to all year. And the kids love it when I come into work with the same haircut as them.”
What is it: In the spring of 2018, Ken announced that he was "adopting" an engineering class taught by his cousin Michelle Cox at Garehime Elementary in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can read more about it HERE.
How you can help: The class takes donations and in return you get a handmade 3D printed keychain or design. One hundred percent of the money raised goes directly to the class as the engineers of tomorrow are groomed. Funds help provide much needed supplies and equipment like 3D printers. While this is for a specific class, we hope it helps raises awareness for the needs of schools and classes everywhere. If donating to this specific class doesn't work for you, we encourage you to find a way to support a school or class near you!
Nominated by: Ken Napzok, "I was inspired by my cousin's career switch to teaching and intrigued by the "mini-city" approach to education from the school. I was then troubled by the struggle of teachers to simply have the tools to get the supplies and equipment to teach the class. While I had always heard of the growing issues, this time it was in my face. The class sent me a Star Wars keychain because they knew I was a fan. I then became a bigger fan of them."
What is it: The three-fold mission of The PEACE Fund is to protect, educate, and aid children that are in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Initiatives range from bringing clean water to villages in Niger to donations of tablets to students in Los Angeles. There is also the Helping Hands initiative where supporters focus each month on a specific child that has been nominated. There are countless ways to help children in need.
How you can help: The easiest way is to simply make a donation at thepeacefund.org/donate. The PEACE Fund is also partnered with Amazon Smile and iGive.com, so a portion of your online purchases through those sites will go to the charity. At times, there are also special conventions and celebrity events you can participate in. More info can be found on The PEACE Fund website. Nominated by: Khai Thach (@Khaivien), “I first became aware of The PEACE Fund through a celebrity event at a paintball field I regularly visit in Oceanside, California. Participants in this event were given the opportunity to play paintball with celebrities and professional players. On that day, I got to meet actor Adrian Paul, founder of The PEACE Fund, and hear him talk about his personal passion for helping children that are living in dire circumstances. It has become something that has grown dear to my heart and I’m glad to have found ways to contribute through The PEACE Fund.”
What is it: Hope for the Warriors is a group founded by U.S. combat veterans and their families with the goal to help all that are affected by military service, particularly during the difficult transitions into civilian life. It provides support to service members, veterans, and their families through grants for severely injured soldiers, career transitioning programs, and scholarships for higher education.
How you can help: You can use the Volunteer Hub on the Hope for the Warriors website to find opportunities near you. There are also Virtual Volunteer opportunities available. Donations can also be made online at hopeforthewarriors.org
Nominated by: Khai Thach (@khaivien), “Through a charity paintball event, I got to meet a number of people involved with Hope for the Warriors. It was a great experience to meet some of those that had received help from the charity. Many had never played paintball before that day, but they seemed more at ease being in an environment that was somewhat familiar to their military experience. I was touched to hear from these people that admittedly had some struggles, but were extremely grateful for the help they had received to make their transition into civilian life a little bit easier.”
What is it: The CRISIS 22 Project stands with the men and women that have served our country and to bring awareness to the alarming rate of suicides among those heroes. They exist to bring their plight into the forefront to their families and friends so that they can recognize the warning signs of suicidal thoughts and self-harm. They exist to stand by our heroes in times where they may or may not be showing signs that they are possibly thinking of bringing a close to the chapters of their lives. They stand to assist First Responders, and our community as well and will provide for our Veterans and heroes by leading them to viable alternatives for assistance in managing the psychological aspects of possible self-harm.
How you can help: Visit the Crisis 22 website for ways to help and donate. Spreading the word of this and other groups like this to those who need it is a great way to help. Find your local crisis support, veterans help, and other mental health resources and support them any way you can. Help spread the awareness, not just of Veterans mental health, but of the mental health crisis in America.
Nominated by: David Ham (Owner of Temporal Radio, Patreon member, DJ Snaxx on Discord) "A fantastic group of folks heavily involved in the Mental Health community. Primarily to bring awareness to the Veterans suicide epidemic, Criss 22 Project also works with the first responders as well. I work with this group, as an associate member, at events all over the Phoenix area. This one is personal for me; not only am I a Veteran, I am an 8th generation veteran, with 2 children that are also veterans. I've lost friends to suicide, and I don't want to lose anymore to this."
What is it: Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. This is accomplished through various programs like their Speaker Series, Film Finishing Fund, Scholarship and mentoring programs, and more! They also have signature events and advocate the cause of women in film through programs and research like the Female Filmmakers Initiative.
How you can help: Visit their website to find out how to donate, volunteer to a mentor, become a member and more!
Nominated by: Heather Grace Hancock, “WIF is a phenomenal organization and resource that advocates for gender parity in the entertainment industry. They support the creative female community with speaker series and events, mentoring programs, and grants that are helping to create career-advancing opportunities for women. It’s impossible to know how far-reaching their positive effects have been.”
What is it: The mission of Magic Wheelchair is to give kids in wheelchairs an unforgettable experience by creating custom costumes for them at no expense to their families. Magic Wheelchair recruits talented volunteers to build EPIC wheelchair costumes for kiddos, at no cost to their families. Last year, their volunteers created 50 costumes. This year, Magic Wheelchair is planning on building for over 100 kiddos, nationwide— but, they need YOU!
How you can help: Your support will provide build materials and art supplies for each costume and ultimately, create epic smiles. Donate, find a team, or start your own fundraiser for Magic Wheelchair today!
Nominated by: Michele Boyd, “I'd heard of this incredible non-profit before, but I had never seen just how amazing their creations were in person. Magic Wheelchair builds epic costumes for kids in wheelchairs and it was so inspiring to hear founder Ryan Weimar tell his story. Take a second to check out the website and donate to keep this magical organization going.”
What is it: For 35 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation has continued to bring joy and comfort to hospitalized children and their families. Every 30 seconds, a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. These children are often scared, confused, lonely and facing serious medical treatments. That’s where Starlight comes in. Starlight programs turn a child’s pain, fear and stress into laughter, fun and joy by providing seriously ill children the best in entertainment, education and one-of-a-kind experiences – because sick kids are still kids. They believe all children deserve to enjoy the magic, wonder and happiness of childhood, and they’re committed to providing Starlight programs to every seriously ill child in their network of more than 800 children’s hospitals and community health partners across the US.
How you can help: They are many ways you can help. Start by going to their website for more information. However, some options include signing a card for a sick child, donated, or giving a Starlight gown. Check out what option works best for you. Nominated by: Stephen Stanton. The voice of Admiral Raddus, Tarkin, AP-5 and many other Star Wars voices works extensively with the Starlight Children’s Foundation raising awareness for the group and their mission through giveaways, Skype calls, and spreading the word. Join him in this important mission!
What is it:Mysterious Barricades is a cross-country classical music concert series, performed live coast-to-coast and livestreamed to the world. From sunrise in St. John’s, Newfoundland to sunset in Victoria, British Columbia, on September 15, World Suicide Prevention Day, a 14-hour concert of hope and awareness will grace a sequence of stages across Canada. Featuring Canada’s finest professionally trained musicians and performers, this concert will raise awareness of the mysterious barricades between mental illness and health, between the darkness of depression and the light of hope, between life and death. This free concert will encourage public discourse about the prevalence of suicide and measures for suicide prevention, encourage the formation of community by those impacted by suicide, and raise funds for education and support of those at risk and those impacted by suicide.
How you can help: On Septermber 15, tune in to the livestreamed broadcast and visit the website for more information, access mental health services, donate, and more. But above all spread the word about this event.
Nominated by: Patreon member and Executive Producer Matthew Thompson: "This annual event has done a great deal of healing for people across the country, especially for us in the classical music world. I don't know of anyone who hasn't been touched by the issue of suicide (myself included, I've gone down that dark tunnel too many times) and any way to bring this into the light and heal others is invaluable. This organization and its livestreaming component was also the catalyst in starting my own video production side business, and every year I donate my time and skills in making this concert accessible to the entire world. I hope you will join us on Sept. 15, I'll be running the Sackville NB show live from Brunton Auditorium :)"