ATRS Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: The Story Behind the CMN Balloons
Whether you are a parent or not, chances are you’re familiar with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This nationwide organization, widely recognized by its signature red, white and yellow hot air balloon supports research, equipment and – most importantly – patient care funding for a total of 170 children’s hospitals in several cities.
ATRS is a proud partner and preferred supplier of Children’s Miracle Network and supports Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. Each and every month, our Clothing & Shoe Recycling program provides direct funding to these facilities. Still, CMN has ongoing financial needs to support their programs and services. This is where our story begins:
Team ATRS at the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Dallas. The recyclables benefitted our two local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Every minute approximately 62 children are admitted to hospitals within the CMN network. That kind of responsibility requires a huge support system, so CMN launched fundraising efforts in 1983 with their first telethon. That initial event raised over $4 million and is still continued today, but you may be more familiar with what came next: their balloon campaign.
It all started with Eleanor Lancey, a CMN hospital employee in Connecticut who came up with a plan to accept donations in exchange for paper balloons – inspired by the CMN logo – that could be displayed in local businesses. After being repeatedly rejected, Eleanor finally convinced O’Rourke’s Diner to host the balloons, which featured a space for each donator’s name or personal message.
That first CMN balloon was sold in 1986. Now, nearly 40 years later, the balloons are sold and displayed in countless retailers nationwide. And even with celebrities like Lady Antebellum supporting the campaign, donations of $1 each have become a huge source of revenue for CMN hospitals. You may have even purchased some recently and if so, our partners in Dallas thank you!
A child-inspired exhibit of balloon donation slips on display at a supermarket.
Even if you haven’t signed your name on a colorful balloon-shaped slip, you can still support Children’s Medical Center and Cook Children’s Medical Center this month in recognition of Earth Month. Take a moment to clean out your closets, and get your friends, family and kids involved. Your worn, torn and unwanted textiles are so needed by others. Take them to your nearest ATRS recycling bin so they can support a greater cause without piling up in local landfills.
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