In 1926, thirteen women honored the recovery of a sick friend by forming the “Dorothy Kahn Club for Crippled Children.” Dorothy Kahn had been treated at the Michael Reese Hospital. As a result, the Club funded a site in the basement of the Mandel Clinic where doctors treated sick children. Over the next sixty-five years the Club’s membership increased and so did its impact. While its name changed over the years, including the Spastic Children’s Center, Dysfunctioning Child Center of Michael Reese Hospital and Developmental Institute, the organization and its vast volunteer membership continued to raise money on behalf of special needs children.
In 1991 the membership realized it could make an even greater impact in the lives of children by awarding grants to many agencies instead of only one. Therefore, the Foundation for Developmentally Disabled Children was established. In 2006 our name changed to the Special Kids Foundation. As a Foundation we are able to fund a wider range of programs and services in many different communities. We remain dedicated to the original mission – to treat, educate, and/or foster inclusion for children with developmental disabilities.
The Special Kids Foundation is guided by two important principles:
- We conduct an in-depth review of all organizations before any money is awarded. The 8-month grant process requires a detailed description of the programs and services to be funded, as well as an outline of objectives and a measurement for success. Members of the Grant Committee make personal site visits allowing us to evaluate the request first hand. To assure accountability and oversight of programs after grants have been awarded, each organization must submit a quarterly report.
- The organizations we support run the gamut from established to fledgling, traditional to innovative, endowed to grassroots. What they all have in common is a dedication to making a difference in the lives of these special children and their families.