Time passes by so quickly and it is important to memorialize truly exceptional institutions that have well served our community’s children. Kids Charity of Tampa Bay “Kids Charity” was one such non-profit organization with a rich and enduring legacy that will pay countless dividends for the Tampa Bay Area for generations to come.
The genesis of Kids Charity was the yearning to do more for children by a group of board members of Friends of Joshua House. Joshua House, founded years earlier, was created largely by the sheer willpower of Dottie Berger. Dottie was one of the most important child welfare advocates the Tampa Bay Area has ever known.
Several of us working on behalf of Joshua House, including Dottie and another amazing human being, DeDe Grundel, spoke often that while we were extremely passionate about our duties for the benefit of Joshua House, we strongly desired to do more for other disadvantaged children who were not served by Joshua House. Jon Yob was one of the original founders of Kids Charity knowing that there was a tremendous underserved need to help the abused and neglected children of the Tampa Bay Area.
(Please see photo of the first board meeting above).
Suffice it to say, Dottie was a force of nature and we all knew that any organization lead by Dottie was destined for special accomplishments.
With DeDe as our volunteer executive director and our very hard working and accomplished board of directors, Kids Charity strove to help needy children and families through initiatives like our “mission moments” where we helped children and families by fulfilling specific needs, our back to school backpack and school supply campaigns that provided essential school materials, Christmas gift drives, and much more. While these were quite successful and over the years reached thousands of children and families, our passion was to do more and our board was always looking for just the right project to fulfill that goal.
One such requirement that would constantly be mentioned by stakeholders in the child welfare system was the need for a shelter that could accommodate sibling groups that entered “State” care, as well as a “home” that could facilitate children on an emergency basis that entered the system via the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Dept. Planning, funding, constructing, and managing a development of this scale was a huge undertaking, but our board possessed significant knowledge and ability from our time and experiences working on behalf of Joshua House. Of course, Dottie was the driving force of Joshua House, and the most qualified person to spearhead building a world class shelter to facilitate this important child welfare asset.
The entire board of Kids Charity of Tampa Bay worked tirelessly to raise the more than $5,000,000.00 necessary to complete the project. With the generosity of Sandy McKinnon and numerous other community leaders, (see the following link:https://akidsplacetb.org/our-supporters/ ) A Kid’s Place was built entirely by private donations and in a few years, was totally debt-free. Post construction, the Kids Charity team continued its efforts for several years to underwrite the operations of A Kid’s Place until it eventually was, for lack of a better expression, largely absorbed by A Kid’s Place.
A Kid’s Place has certainly exceeded our initial expectations. It has to date provided approximately 1500 children around 60,000 nights of truly caring residency. A Kid’s Place provides more than a place to sleep, it provides a caring environment where children’s needs are looked after; they are educated, nourished, given medical care, entertained, and much more.
I take this opportunity to thank each and every board member, donor, volunteer, care provider, and staff member of both Kids Charity of Tampa Bay, as well as A Kid’s Place. Thank you and well done!
About Jonathan Yob
The founder and president of the Yob Family Foundation (YFF) in Tampa, Florida, Jonathan Yob is a committed philanthropist who maintains a dedication to addressing persistent gaps in social services faced by abused and neglected children. Jon Yob was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the organization from 2009-2011. To learn more about Kids Charity of Tampa Bay, please visit www.kidscharitytb.org.