It was a sight to behold on the road–an almost eight-foot-high, tan teddy bear wearing a red and white candy-striped holiday bow around its neck, riding in the back seat of a silver Lexus convertible. Imagine the curiosity and excitement when the convertible pulled up in front of JW House on the Santa Clara campus of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.
The Lexus Cares Bear arrived with a $5,000 check from Lexus of Stevens Creek to further the outreach of JW House, which provides a temporary home for families whose children are hospitalized with medical conditions. Registered families can drop in during the day or evening, enjoy a meal and, as space is available, spend the night.
“Thank you Lexus Stevens Creek for choosing JW House as the recipient of the Lexus Cares grant! Your generosity will help to keep more than 100 families experiencing medical crises together during the holidays and beyond,” says JW’s mother and JW House board member Anne Marie Knapen-Asnong. “JW House will provide many more hot meals, hot showers and hugs because of you!”
Last September, Lexus of Stevens Creek (www.lexusstevenscreek.com) invited local nonprofits to participate in its first Lexus Pursuit of Potential Matching Funds Program, offering a prize of $5,000 to the winning nonprofit. Each of the 15 participating nonprofits submitted a two-minute video sharing a story of a child or family they have helped and how the funds would help their program. The community was invited to view and vote for their favorite video.
“We wanted to come up with a fun way to not only award a nonprofit for their efforts in our community, but also to spread the word about many nonprofits that are truly making a difference in the lives of many,” says Lexus Community Relations Manager Jessica Keener, who chauffeured the Lexus Cares Bear to JW House November 16.
Lexus selected the winner from among the three nonprofits receiving the most votes.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for us as each nonprofit is doing such incredible work,” says Keener.
“We saw that JW House is a small, local non-profit started by a young boy and now doing big things in our community and helping children who are sick and their families. They expressed a need as they have a waiting list to help families, and they want to expand the organization.”
JW House was the dream of Jan-Willem (JW) Knapen, a teen who, though himself in the midst of fighting cancer, wanted to help other children and families going through medical crises. JW died in 2005, but his spirit lives on at JW house (www.jwhouse.org), which was founded as a nonprofit in 2004 and opened its doors to families in 2008.
“Never give up and do believe that everything finally leads to something good,” often said JW.