The Casey Feldman Foundation Welcomes Two New Board Members

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

By Morgan Steward*

The Casey Feldman Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of two new board members to the Foundation’s board of directors: John Bair and Janine Repka. The Board provides the Casey Feldman Foundation leadership for carrying out the Foundation’s mission to provide financial support to individuals, groups, and institutions whose interests and goals align with those of Casey. This includes providing scholarships to deserving students and promoting safe driving through our sponsored site, EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving).

Janine Repka is the Assistant Director of Leadership Giving at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. She has previously worked at Mount Sinai Health Systems as a major gift coordinator and then project manager and at Atlantic Theater Company as manager of individual giving and special events.

Janine’s relationship with the Feldman family began back in 2006 when she and Casey were randomly selected to be roommates at Fordham University their freshman year. The two immediately hit it off, becoming best friends and choosing to remain roommates the following two years, until the time of Casey’s death. Prior to being asked to officially join the Board, Repka has worked with the Foundation on a variety of projects, including writing blog posts, managing their social media accounts and giving presentations about the dangers of distracted driving at high schools and museums in Pennsylvania.

Coming from a career in nonprofit fundraising, Repka hopes to put those skills she has developed in her personal career to good use at the Casey Feldman Foundation. She looks forward to expanding fundraising and scholarship opportunities as well as promoting Casey’s story and inspiring others to examine their dangerous driving habits.”I am thrilled to be able to continue to honor Casey’s life through working more closely with the Foundation,” said Janine.

John Bair is the owner and founder of Milestone Consulting, the co-founder (along with his wife Amy) of the Bairs Foundation, and an active member of the Association for Justice (AAJ) . Bair first became connected with Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson (founders of the Foundation) in 2010, right after the launch of EndDD.org. Casey’s story really resounded with Bair, whose daughter was a freshman in high school at that time, and he seized the opportunity to get involved with the organization.

Bair is joining the Board with three fundamental strategic issues he hopes to tackle. First, he hopes to advise and counsel the founders in an attempt to help them actualize their long-term goals for the Casey Feldman Foundation. Secondly, he hopes to fundraise for the Foundation to create a viable and systematic flow of money into the Foundation so that the organization can fully focus on spreading awareness and teaching others the dangers of driving distracted. Finally, Bair hopes to help the Foundation network throughout the country to recruit other strong willed advocates to support the organization in whichever ways they are capable.

“I didn’t appreciate how much of an epidemic we were sitting in the middle of,” Bair explained when asked why he ready to take on a bigger role in the Foundation. “Being exposed to Joel and Dianne’s loss— Casey being killed— was a wakeup call. I recognized that I was an unsafe driver and I drove distracted. The personal message delivered by Joel, that we can all make such a huge difference in our communities and in the networks of people we are close to, by just becoming an advocate made me think.”

_________________________________________

*Morgan Steward is a junior Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

 

Five Years, A Legacy of Good – The Casey Feldman Foundation

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

By Janine Repka* and Dianne Anderson*

Casey's mom, Dianne Anderson at press conference in OC, NJ announcing "Casey's Law" in 2010

Casey’s mom, Dianne Anderson at press conference in OC, NJ announcing “Casey’s Law” in 2010

I had the pleasure of meeting Casey when we were randomly placed together as roommates at Fordham University, Fordham College Lincoln Center in 2006 as we began our freshman year. The powers overseeing freshmen dorm assignments must know what they’re doing, because we and our four other roommates opted to live together for the following two years, becoming inseparable friends in the process. One of Fordham’s founding philosophies is “homines pro aliis”—acting as men and women for others and Casey embodied this fully. From small acts of kindness like lending a favorite shirt or lipstick to one of us for a night out to larger deeds like volunteering with animals or donating food or change to the homeless dotting the steps of a church close to campus, Casey was truly a young woman for others. Given that, it couldn’t be more fitting that The Casey Feldman Foundation has continued to act for others and sponsor numerous wonderful initiatives and partnerships in Casey’s memory over the 5 years since her death.

Joel Feldman interacting with students during an EndDD presentation at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, 2014

Joel Feldman interacting with students during an EndDD presentation at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, Nov. 2014

EndDD.org – End Distracted Driving

Perhaps the most visible way that the Foundation has reached out to others is through their sponsorship of EndDD.org – End Distracted Driving. Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, has personally given the EndDD.org distracted driving presentation to more than 35,000 people. With the help of hundreds of volunteer speakers, almost 250,000, mostly teens, have seen the presentation in 42 states and Canada. Incorporated in the presentation are PSA videos, three of which have been produced by Casey’s father: “Faces of Distracted Driving – Casey Feldman, 21”, in which I and Casey’s mother and other friends appear; “Just a Few Seconds”, which features a 17-year-old distracted driver as well as the daughter of the 61 year old man who was killed; and one directed at parents, “Parents – Be the Driver You Want Your Teen to Be”.

SHS 2011 recipient Hayden Dahmn with his seeing eye companion Fathom. Haydem is an engineering student at Swarthmore College

SHS 2011 recipient Hayden Dahmn with his seeing eye companion Fathom. Haydem is an engineering student at Swarthmore College

The presentation, which is constantly updated, was developed with the help of researchers and traffic safety experts at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), is science based and proven effective. The EndDD.org program was recognized in a report this year by The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) as well as by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray Lahood.

I have had the privilege to present alongside Casey’s parents to some of the more local audiences and it is a truly moving experience. The impact on those in the room after the presentation closes is palpable. Whether it is high school seniors or grandparents, it is clear this initiative is making a real impression and inspiring others to change their driving habits for the safer and better.

Scholarships

In addition to the Foundation’s work educating communities on distracted driving, a variety of scholarships are offered at Springfield High School (SHS), Fordham College at Lincoln Center and University of Colorado at Boulder, the high school and college alma maters of Casey and her brother Brett. Through the Foundation’s generosity, Springfield High students are afforded college scholarships with recipients attending schools such as Swarthmore College,  DrexelSt. Joseph’s, Georgetown, Widener, Temple and West Chester Universities (click on the college hyperlink to read the article about the recipient).

Since Casey’s passions in high school included theater and writing, high school seniors participating in the Greater Philadelphia Regional Cappies, a theater and writing program that Casey was involved with, also receive college scholarships.

Annina Baker, 2013 Cappies scholarship recipient, currently a student at Villanova University

Annina Baker, 2013 Cappies scholarship recipient, currently a student at Villanova University

Students working on Fordham’s newspaper, The Observer, of which Casey was News Editor, are given the opportunity to attend the annual National College Journalism Convention sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press. In addition, a Fordham Communication and Media Studies major receives a stipend allowing him or her to gain experience in their field by accepting and completing an otherwise unpaid internship. Without this stipend, many students would have to forgo valuable internship opportunities and accept a part time job instead, to help pay for college expenses.

At Boulder, Foundation support allows students to attend Alternative Spring Break community service trips with destinations including disaster relief in New Orleans, environmental conservation on Catalina Island, CA harm reduction in Atlanta, environmental conservation at Cascade Head Nature Conservancy in Oregon, animal welfare at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in NY youth education in California and urban poverty in Cincinnati, Ohio, among many others. The Foundation is proud to provide financially needy students with a stipend to” give up” their spring week off from college, to work in providing service for the greater good.  For many of these students, they report that the experience has been “life altering” for them.

Also at Boulder, the Foundation supports a program known as PIIE: Public Interest Internship Experience, enabling students to experience a summer internship at a public service agency or non-profit. The Foundation supported PIIE scholarships have enabled students to intern with The Nature Conservancy, I Have a Dream Foundation (Ellie Roberts – 2014),   I Have a Dream Foundation (Mercedes Ruiz – 2010), the Boulder Valley Humane Society and the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, among others.

Harry Huggins & Monique John, Fordham recipients 2011 & 2012

Harry Huggins & Monique John, Fordham recipients 2011 & 2012

In keeping with the Foundation’s efforts to reward those who are interested in community service and working for the greater good, another favorite program is that which provides stipends to computer science majors to provide services for a non-profit. The Foundation recognized how many non-profits with limited budgets had marginal websites, needed help developing a social media presence or needed software development designed for their specific needs to help them operate more efficiently. Computer science stipends at University of Colorado Boulder and Villanova University (Casey’s parents’ law school alma mater and the institution where her father, Joel, recently received his masters in counseling) have enabled over a dozen non-profits to receive this much needed technology help. At the same time, it has given computer science majors, virtually all of whom have well paying jobs waiting for them before they even graduate, the opportunity to know how gratifying it can be to “give back”, something that they hopefully, will want to continue in the future.

Sean Wiese, computer science recipient who developed a software program for Boulder Food Rescue

Sean Wiese, computer science recipient who developed a software program for Boulder Food Rescue, 2012

The first computer stipend at Boulder, went to Sean Wiese, who had a job waiting for him at Microsoft upon graduation. Sean worked for Boulder Food Rescue (BFR), an organization that redistributes perishable food “waste” to charities that serve homeless and at-risk individuals with the goal of helping to solve the problems of hunger, malnutrition, and food waste in the community. Sean developed a software program that enabled BFR to track pickups and deliveries of food and manage the schedules of 70 volunteers, increasing the amount of food pick- ups and deliveries by hundreds of pounds per week in just the first few weeks. Other non-profits which have benefited from this Foundation scholarship include The Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, Gilda’s Club, Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, Nancy’s House, Youth Directions and the Boulder County Arts Alliance.

Volunteers painting at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals on Casey's 1st "angelversary" in 2010

Volunteers painting at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals on Casey’s 1st “angelversary” in 2010

Annual July 17th Day of Service

Community service is something that has also become an annual tradition on Casey’s “angelversary” over these past 5 years. A day of service takes place on July 17th each year with family, friends and supporters of Casey and the Foundation volunteering their time in honor of Casey at a location in the Philadelphia area organized by the Foundation. The first 2 years of service took place at Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals and the last 3, at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, where the Foundation also funded Magee’s first 2 facility/therapy dogs.

[Read,  “My Friend, Casey – How the Foundation Has Honored Her Love of Animals”  to learn about all of the efforts of the Foundation over the last 5 years in regard to this mission.]

Casey cherished her time spent performing in theater, working on the Observer and at her various internships and volunteering to help animals, among other things. Thus, there could not be a more fitting tribute to her than allowing others to do the same through these diverse scholarships and programs. Community support of these initiatives is vital to their continuance.

Please consider donating today to allow The Foundation to keep Casey’s memory and her commitment to serving others alive.

Related Links:

Capture

 

 

 

EndDD.org – Casey Feldman Foundation End Distracted Driving website

EndDD in the News – News articles about Enddd

Complete listing of all scholarship and grant recipients from 2010 – 2014

News & Updates – All Foundation articles with table of contents

Casey Feldman Photo Gallery  -Includes photos post July 17, 2009

_____________________________________________

Janine (L) & Casey, 2008

Janine (L) & Casey, 2008

*Janine and Casey were roommates and best friends at Fordham. Janine currently lives in Hoboken, NJ and works in Fundraising and Events for the Atlantic Theater Company.

 

 

Casey Receives Honorary Diploma from Fordham University

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Casey's roommates: L to R Christina Halligan, Cassie Foote, Janine Repka, Kelsey Butler

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, Casey’s class of 2010 graduated from Fordham University. In addition to Casey being recognized by many of her classmates and friends with a single pink rose pinned to their graduation gowns, the University recognized her as well. Casey’s name appeared in the commencement program and she was remembered in prayer at the morning commencement for the entire University. At the separate diploma ceremony for the Fordham College Lincoln Center students in the afternoon, Casey was mentioned by the student speaker in the class address given by Dave de la Fuente. The first diploma awarded by Dean Grimes was to Casey, which was accepted by her parents. Dean Grimes and the Fordham University community lovingly acknowledged that Casey, one of their own, was not physically present on this memorable day, but was there in spirit to guide over and watch her fellow classmates and friends accept their diplomas.

View more photos of the graduation. Click  on the video below to watch Dean Grimes present Casey’s diploma.

Marie Larson and Brooke Burdge each wearing one of Casey's dresses under their graduation gowns

Casey's parents Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson accepting Casey's dipolma from Deans Grimes and Greif

Casey's dipolma