As part of his participation in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership program, Houston resident Steve Kaufman teamed up with a few of his peers to form a unique charitable organization – the Fanatical Change Foundation. The idea behind the organization was to form a charity where donors would know exactly where their money was going – to people in the community who had recently experienced some tragedy or had an urgent need. Kaufman gave a radio interview on CNN 650 AM, and the group was able to team up with groups such as the Hispanic Business Network and stubdog.com for support. The Foundation held a fundraising event on March 26 which raised $13,000 which went directly to three families in need. The Fanatical Change website tells of some heartbreaking stories and the difference that the organization has already been able to make:
Tony Blocker, 28, of Maumelle, AR, vacationing with Eunique Powell, their small child and five young family members, went missing 40 yards off the Galveston Coast Tuesday, March 24th. A young father and dedicated partner of 8 years, Tony was only inches from his long-time love and Mother of his child, Eunique when he was pulled under by rough surf.
Astonishingly, and very unfortunately, Tony Blocker’s body was found off the Galveston coast only hours before Fanatical Change arrived with our donors’ assistance. Throughout the course of the search, approximately ten additional family members from Arkansas had joined Eunique and the children for support. Upon our arrival, the devastating news was very fresh, and it was clear that amidst bereavement, this family was in crisis-management mode. It became quickly apparent that this was an opportune time for Fanatical Change in this family’s life.
Friday morning our Board of Directors was able to identify the Blocker and Powell family’s most acute needs through communication with close and distant family and friends. Through the power given to us by our donors and sponsors, we were able to Fanatically Change this grieving family’s life by delivering immediate assistance reaching to all levels of this tragedy. A $1,000 U.S. Savings bond was given to his young son, Denton. Financially unable to stay in Galveston to view the body and make arrangements, the family’s stay at their Resort was extended as necessary. Living, food, and travelling expenses were donated as well to carry them through their stay and subsequent trip, doing everything our Foundation could do to ensure the remainder of their stay was appropriately focused, and comfortable. In addition to assistance with Funeral services, the family also identified a need to separate from the environment in which this tragedy had occurred. An all-expense paid trip to Moody Gardens for the family of fifteen was arranged, including admission, dining and funds for miscellaneous expenditures. This family was clearly moved, and honored to have been a part of this effort, offering repeated gratitude to all of our donors. Thank you for helping our Foundation Fanatically Change this family’s life.
Markese Donahue was killed trying to stop a group of men from breaking a hole in the fence that surrounded his apartment complex. He’d heard the kicks from inside his unit at the Willows Apartments. The sun was setting as he went outside to tell the men to stop. They argued and shots were fired. One of the bullets hit him in the chest. Marquis had a newborn child, Ironneesha, who is 4 months old. Markese was getting married later this year.
To begin, a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond was provided in the name of Ironeesha. Additionally, $1,000 in Babies ‘R Us spending was provided to the family to assist in upcoming expenditures for Markese’s family. The family was also given a $150 Visa checkcard to alleviate miscellaneous acute financial burdens brought about by the unfortunate passing of their provider. The family as a whole was provided an expense paid trip for 8 to an upcoming Houston Aeros hockey game. The family also identified that they had trouble gathering the funds to provide Markese with a deserving headstone. This expense was paid for in full on behalf of Fanatical Change Foundation and our donors and sponsors. Markese Donahue and his family were beyond works in their very emotional gratitude for the Fanatical Change provided by you and your peers. Thank you for being a part of this very special family’s life.
In a community plagued by crime and violence, Rene Tijerina stood apart for his efforts to turn troubled lives around. Northside residents are mourning the loss of their neighbor, friend and mentor after the 33-year-old single father fell from a freeway overpass while rushing to the aid of his teenage son, who was involved in a minor traffic accident on Sunday. Leaving behind his Teenage son and a young daughter, Tijerina came from a troubled youth of drugs and violence, turning to his faith to build a life of generosity and kindness. Having recently earned a promotion in his company, Tijerina missed the days of a financially impeded attempt at opening a community center for young children. Preserving his effort, in addition to additional young community outreach, Tijerina opened the doors of his home to his neighbors, young and old, for weekly Bible study, known to draw 50-60 neighbors and friends. Tijerina’s sudden and surprising death leaves a void for the many people he touched, but none so deeply as his own family. He raced to his son’s aid when the 15-year-old called to tell him he had been in an accident on West Loop near the Galleria early Sunday morning. He found himself on the wrong side of the freeway, pulled his vehicle onto the shoulder and attempted to hop the median, not noticing the clearing in-between the throughways. Tijerina fell to his immediate death.
Rene was a truly exemplary human being, likely partly responsible for the 3,000 attendees to his funeral service. The line into the service itself lasted from 330pm when the doors opened until 930pm that evening. To hear the stories of Rene’s community programs for small children, his outreach efforts, even taking in homeless for whom he found work, paid for odd-jobs, and included in his family’s holiday meals. Rene Tijerina was truly a man deserving of some serious Fanatical Change. Because Rene was a loving single father of his 15 year old son and 13 year old daughter, his children will now be raised by their grandparents; to assist the family with these sudden expenses, the donors of Fanatical Change provided Rene’s children with the majority of this assistance. Two $1000 U.S. Savings Bonds were issued to the children. In addition to the bonds, the children received $1000 in Target spending to assist with closing needs and school supplies. In an effort to alleviate dramatically increased food expenditures, $1000 in HEB spending was also provided to Rene’s parents. Directly from the immediate family of Rene Tijerina, and on behalf of The Fanatical Change Foundation, Thank you, once again, for your assistance in providing Rene’s family and his children immediate Fanatical Change.
The foundation is holding its next fundraiser to be able to provide assistance to more families in need. "Fashion Forward", a fashion show, silent auction and cocktail party will be held Thursday, April 30 from 6-9pm at Mosaic on 5925 Alameda Road. To purchase tickets, call 713-524-1739.