As it began its second decade, Clerks for a Cure embraced lots of innovation in 2017. But then the latest annual campaign ended the old-fashion way, with the presentation of thousands of dollars to exceptional causes.
At a recent awards ceremony, Clerks for a Cure – the all-volunteer charity arm of the Office of Paula O’Neil, Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller – distributed more than $14,500 equally among four Pasco-based nonprofits: PACE Center for Girls, The Thomas Promise Foundation, Pasco County Animal Services, and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
How the money is used is up to the individual organizations, but some hints were provided.
- American Cancer Society Senior Community Manager Cindi Crisci said her group’s $3,634.56 would help provide transportation to patients who might otherwise miss scheduled treatments.
- Dianna Thomas, who looks after the money at The Thomas Promise Foundation, said the donation would provide more than 7,000 meals to needy east- and central Pasco youngsters.
- Director Mike Shumate said Pasco County Animal Services’ check would go toward the shelter’s heart worm program, helping sick animals recover and become healthy candidates for forever homes.
Begun in 2007 under the inspiration of Inspector General Patrice Monaco-McBride, this year’s donations pushed the 11-year total to nearly $123,000. Clearly, the succession of chairmen and chairwomen has understood how to raise money.
Chief among what was new in 2017 was the crossing of a significant hurdle: Clerks for a Cure became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in September. “This will open new doors and opportunities to Clerks for a Cure,” said 2016-17 co-chair Len Mattison, a Criminal Department Operations Manager, “allowing for further growth and the ability to reach further into our community.”
This fresh legal status allowed Mattison and his co-chair, Dade City-based Civil Department Operations Supervisor Jamie Dye, to register as a nonprofit organization with PayPal, giving Clerks for a Cure valuable access to an assortment of convenient payment options.
“The creativity they had was unbelievable,” O’Neil said. “It’s been great to see them develop.”
Beside its several traditional events, including an August (sold-out) golf scramble at Silver Oaks, bingo, and assorted raffles, Clerks for a Cure innovated with a concealed weapons course, an art gallery raffle (at Dye’s Gallery 16601 in Zephyrhills), and a tailgate-themed cook-off. There also was a jeans-optional day, in which teammates could dress down a bit in exchange for $5, or two items off the organization’s partner-charity wish lists. The result was donations of items from hair brushes and travel toiletries to blankets and chew toys that – three times – filled a midsized SUV.
Mattison called it “overwhelming” adding, “The event really touched our hearts.”
The group staged a dozen events in its 2017 campaign, with two others blown out by the September arrival of Hurricane Irma.
Also new in 2017 was perhaps the most significant of all: Sensing a desire within the agency to expand the reach of its charitable work beyond the American Cancer Society, Mattison and Dye surveyed Clerk & Comptroller teammates about additional local nonprofits to support. The upshot: While maintaining its anchor with ACS, Clerks for a Cure also partnered with the three other good-works operations mentioned above.
The plan took root quickly. Incoming co-chairs Aundria Wainright (Operations Supervisor – Records) and Jo Ploettner (Operations Supervisor – Probate) are in the midst of conducting a similar survey to determine partner charities for 2018.
“We do appreciate all that you do,” O’Neil said to Clerks for a Cure volunteers. “It really makes a difference in our community.”
“I feel blessed,” said co-chair Dye. “I was shocked when asked two years ago. I doubted that I could do this. … But it is such a great feeling to give to someone who might need your help.”
“I am so thankful that Paula gave me this opportunity,” said co-chair Mattison. “She and Clerks for a Cure have allowed me to be part of something so much bigger and rewarding.”
To keep abreast of the latest Clerks for a Cure developments, follow the group on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClerksForACure/
The Florida Constitution established a Clerk & Comptroller as an elected public trustee in 1838 and established at the county level a system of checks and balances to serve and protect the interests of the public. The Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller, Paula S. O’Neil, Ph.D., is an elected Constitutional Officer who, under Florida Statutes, provides information management, record keeping, and financial management to the Circuit Court, County Court, and County Government. The Mission Statement of the Office is “We serve with integrity, professionalism, and compassion as we safeguard our customers’ interests.”