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Deepening positive developmental outcomes for kids with cancer

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10-year-old cancer patient Angelika meets her CCChampions role model Chef Geoff!
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About CCChampions

CCChampions is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps children better survive the cancer journey, developmentally and socially, through the power of long-term inspirational role models.

Whatever our kids want to be when they grow up -- so far, clothing designers, police officers, bookstore owners, nurses, chefs, video game designers, students, athletes, teachers, rodeo cowgirls, space technologists, etc. -- we find someone special who does just that, and can be there during every step of the cancer journey.

85% of children are surviving cancer, but two out of every three kids suffer from a serious, long-term psychosocial side effect. A piece to the puzzle of pediatric oncology is vitally missing, and CCChampions is here to fix it.

Through the help of our one-of-a-kind partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, 75% of newly diagnosed children in our region are signing up for a role model in CCChampions. According to Dr. Linda McAllister, Head of the Division of Oncology, CCChampions is building “initiatives that significantly improve the quality of life for our patients.” Specifically, our friendships help kids achieve unprecedented positive developmental outcomes in the areas of (1) family coping, (2) space for normal child developmental experiences, and (3) transitioning back to school, normalcy, & friends.

The Need

Since 2012, we’ve grown from 2 friendships to 4 to 11 to 55 to 95. At any given moment in time, we’re managing at least 100 children & parents, and 200 role models -- and that’s just on the program side of the organization. As we deepen our impact here in Pittsburgh, and prepare for national expansion in 2017, technology remains one of the key barriers.

Nonprofits have access to CRM tools to manage people, volunteer recruitment tools to manage volunteers, and data measurement tools to measure impact, but there isn’t a tool that connects all three and helps drive outcomes for the kids from start to finish. Impact shouldn’t be something that comes up for air at the end of each quarter; it should be something that breathes every day. Our Impact Pipeline Center will help us do just that.

As our outcomes continue to blossom, organizations are taking notice. There is a demand for our impact model from hospitals across the country, as well as local organizations serving children. If we’re going to continue deepening our outcomes for kids in Pittsburgh -- and make our program a launchpad for national success -- we need a robust system that efficiently drives our unprecedented developmental outcomes. Right now, our system -- while effective at this scale -- is primarily manual and disjointed. Our ability to create unprecedented outcomes for the 15,000 newly diagnosed kids across the country (and serve as a resource for other local organizations serving kids) rests in our ability to automate and unify these systems into an "Impact Pipeline Center."

With the help of our tech partners, TrueFit & Application Verification, we’re ready to build something truly special.

This Impact Pipeline Center must automate and unify three key areas:

(Step 1) The Matching Process
Every time a child signs up for CCChampions, we work with the child, parents, & hospital staff to uniquely understand the social & developmental needs of each child as we find a developmentally significant long-term role model. Right now, this process is mostly done manually, comparing a spreadsheet of 100+ kids and a spreadsheet of 100+ role models. Our Role Model Outreach Committee (led by Scott Lammie of UPMC Health Plan & Mark Broadhurst of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group) has brought more role models to the organization than ever. The Matching Process demands valuable staff time, and it needs to be much more automated. We’re currently working with The Mentoring Partnership to tighten our role model systems, and we need technology that can handle exponentially more people, data, and variables.

(Step 2) People Management
Simply put, dealing with hundreds (and eventually thousands) of families & role models at a time -- each with complicated, individualized schedules -- presents an obvious CRM challenge. Currently, we have a powerful Google Sheets database (housing approximately 100 individual spreadsheets) with daily action items, algorithm-based automated scheduling, communication logs, and personal information about each child and role model. As our impact spans multiple cities, we must better connect this database with the other two steps in the Pipeline Center, as well as minimize the amount of time managing communications and maximize time running programs.

(Step 3) Impact Reporting
We're currently working with advisors from the UPMC Center for High-Value Healthcare and Children's Hospital to launch qualitative research studies that much more comprehensively measure our unprecedented outcomes. We need an online resource that helps conduct regular qualitative & quantitative analyses of our friendships by prompting our staff with daily questions about different friendships (e.g. impact questions for kids/parents/hospital staff/role models). In order to easily display that impact to our partners, we need to run Quickbooks-like impact reports that demonstrate outcomes such as (1) % of kids who have overcome Developmental Challenge #1 within one year of matching or (2) average quality of life improvement at six-month/one-year/five-year follow-ups.

The Impact

In the next twelve months, this technology would allow us to accomplish three key outcomes:
  • More efficiently help the 100 newly diagnosed kids in Pittsburgh.

  • Create a streamlined way for a diverse group of local role models to engage in high-impact service.

  • Allocate staff time saved to focus more on comprehensive outcome measurement, expansion, and a sustainable revenue model.

In the years following, this technology would allow us to accomplish the following:

  • Make Pittsburgh a launchpad for national success. We're ready to seamlessly expand to new chapters as we grow from 100 kids to the 15,000 newly diagnosed kids each year in the U.S.

  • Share this as an adaptable resource with organizations that help kids with significant needs from illnesses other than cancer. Our hope is that we’re eventually able to cross-pollinate role model networks and outcome strategies so that kids in other organizations can achieve the positive developmental outcomes that our kids are achieving.

  • Establish a potential earned income stream for CCChampions by selling this resource to companies looking to more effectively place their employees in high-impact volunteer positions (e.g. sports teams -- a major reason why the Pittsburgh Pirates co-launched our pilot program in 2012 is because they recognized that our year-long friendships present significantly higher impact than a slew of one-day special experiences or appearances).


Oct 03 2016

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