Our four Brighter Together Trailblazers were chosen for their incredible stories and life-changing causes. By shining a light on their work, we hope to uplift and engage all of us to make a difference everywhere.
Each winner received a $2,500 donation to their charity of choice, plus a special gift set to help them continue to make each and every day brighter.
Dr. Amy Van Hecke
Next Step Developmental Clinic
Striving to help children with autism and developmental delays gain access to diagnosis and treatment, Dr. Amy Van Hecke co-founded Next Step Developmental Clinic. The primary focus of the clinic is serving children and families of color across Milwaukee zip codes.
Through her research as a professor at Marquette University, Amy has helped create an innovative clinic that meets real challenges. For example, the clinic made it possible for families to still access therapies throughout the pandemic with the use of provided laptops and internet hotspots.
"My favorite part of my job is seeing families and children transition from anxiety and fear over an autism diagnosis to empowerment and owning their talents and strengths."
Loving Our Kids 365, Inc.
Christina Alexander is a former foster child who works to ensure that all foster children have the chance to grow up with guidance, support and strength in their lives. She launched Loving Our Kids 365, Inc. to ensure that foster children and families have the resources what they need — simple things that make a big difference.
For example, Loving Our Kids 365 provides luggage to foster children so that moving is more comfortable and gives New Foster Parent Welcome Baskets with gifts and certificates from local businesses.
"Loving Our Kids 365, Inc. gives dignity to foster children, one piece of luggage at a time."
Safe in Harm's Way
Kansas City, Missouri
Working to ensure that victims of domestic violence have access to every resource that they need, Caroline Hammond started Safe in Harm's Way to shed light on survivorship and serve as an advocate for meaningful change at local, state and national levels.
After removing herself from her own experience with abuse and dismantling the stigmas of shame, Caroline has channeled confidence, patience and truth to provide tools that help survivors thrive. Her organization puts a special focus on marginalized groups and underrepresented voices to ensure they, too, receive the help they need.
"When we help just one person, they go on to positively impact every life they touch."
Jameece PinckneyThe OPHELIA Foundation
Knowing the importance of formative years and recognizing the power of education, Jameece Pinckney founded The OPHELIA Foundation in 2014 to connect youth in need with new opportunities. The OPHELIA Foundation awards scholarships to high school seniors and provides backpacks filled with school supplies to elementary and middle school students.
Connecting a diverse web of volunteers, donors and partners has led to positive impacts on the lives of so many in need. During the pandemic, Jameece mobilized a movement to support first responders and healthcare workers.
"I see the world as a brighter and better place every time we love one another, every time we show kindness to one another, and every time we simply smile at one another!"