Before Chris Vanderheyden joined the Lakeland Chapter’s board in 2006, he primarily thought of the blood services the American Red Cross provides. “I really wasn’t aware of the other critical services the Red Cross provides our community,” says Chris.
“I’m constantly spreading this knowledge to my friends, family and business colleagues which not only makes it easier for them to invest financially but also gives them the appreciation of the services we provide the community so they too can spread the word,” says Chris.
“Then the force multiplier concept came into play meaning if I get more people doing the same thing I’m doing, reaching my overall Heroes Campaign goal would be easier to exceed. So I called a few friends asking them if they would consider saving their change in a Red Cross piggy bank for a year and I’d pool our money together in May of 2010 and see how much we can make.”
Next year, Chris plans to expand his army of piggy banks by dropping them off at area businesses.
Chris finds it worthwhile to invest in the positive. “It is so gratifying and gives me the necessary energy to continue to stay involved and recruit others to get involved, not necessarily with the Red Cross, but any charity that excites them and stands for what they believe in. Giving back is critical and the more people, especially young people, who understand that the better off our world will be.”
Chris was born and raised in Green Bay, WI but left the area after college. He and his wife Kathy returned in 1999 to raise their two children. As owner of a consulting business, Double Digit Sales Growth, he has the flexibility to fulfill his responsibilities as a board member and volunteer.
For the past three years, Chris has participated in the Heroes Campaign by asking friends, family members, customers and anyone else he could think of to donate to the cause. “I make it clear that there’s no obligation to give and my feelings won’t be hurt if they decline.”
Last year his campaign to raise money took on new life after Chris and his fellow heroes each received a piggy bank at the Hero’s reception. Chris set the bank on his desk to remind him that the Red Cross needs his help everyday not just the day before a board meeting.
Knowing the difficulty of asking the same people to donate for numerous fundraising events in spring, Chris started to think about how he could fill the bank with change over the course of the next year. Then his goal became bigger with the mission to fill it five times.