Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Letter from the Family

If the video footage and photographs of the families assisted by all of your generous donations weren't enough proof of the impact The Fanatical Change Foundation has made on them, then maybe this letter from Victor McDonald's (read his story below) family will show just how far your belief in our cause went. The following letter was sent to Fanatical Change's Vice President, Juan Cuevas.

On behalf of my family, we really appreciate your generosity shown towards Victor. We understood the challenges he would be facing upon his return to Houston, however you all have made the impossible, possible. You all have provided him with a fresh start to resume his life and to pursue his dreams of being an entrepreneur in the ice cream business. Your organization is truly phenomenal, I was literally moved to tears by your stories posted on your website. I know this thank you is bit informal, but I wanted you and Fanatical Change Foundation to know that as Victor's big sister; you all are doing great work and to say, " Thank You".

Best Regards


People all over the community are finding themselves with a restored faith in humanity as a direct result of your work and ours. Imagine if the entire world took part in a cause like this and letters like the one above were being written at a constant rate. That is the world The Fanatical Change Foundation hopes to create. Keep the Change!

Sara Cousins
Interim Executive Director

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Results are in!

This is what is possible when people come together to make a difference. Congratulations to all of you that donated to The Fanatical Change cause. This is the phenomenal impact you made on the community.

We sincerely thank all of you who donated and attended the event. None of this would have been possible without your support.


Sara Cousins

Interim Executive Director

Fanatical Change August 14, 2009 from Picture Perfect Productions on Vimeo. Filmed by Emilio Bennett.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watch The Change Happen!!!

To our Donors:

This section is for you. This is so you can witness the impact of your generosity. None of the following would have been possible if it was not for you:
Below you will see the families listed and the life altering tragedy that they experienced. Then you will see how you helped to provide life changing assistance to these families.

The Badger Family

The Tragedy:

Elena Badger was traveling on the Sam Houston Toll Way with her two teenage daughters. When the car began overheating, the teen pulled over to the far-right lane of the service road and turned on the emergency flashers. While waiting for help, a Ford truck rear-ended the Honda. Mrs. Badger was ejected from the vehicle and her daughters were both taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Her daughters are currently fighting for their lives and suffering from severe internal injuries and third degree burns on their legs and face. They will face a long recovery at the hospital.

The Fanatical Change!:

Fanatical Change, determined to make this tragedy as bearable as possible, drove down to Sugarland the morning after the event to provide assistance to this family in need. After carefully planning the logistics of the day and obtaining the items that we deemed would be the most impactful based on the needs of the family, the FCF board members arrived at the Badger home. We were welcomed by James, their stepfather, their grandparents and their 6 year old brother, Niko. Since both Alexia and Melina, ages 15 and 16 respectfully will face a long recovery we felt that connectivity with their friends family and not to mention their schooling would be a great tool to help them have the support they will need. We brought them both new laptop computers from Micro Center. Since they are music lovers who both sing in their school’s choir, we brought them each $100 i-tunes gift cards. Since James will need to make some adjustments to their home we provided him with a $750 gift card to The Home Depot and a $450 gift card to H-E-B for help with the groceries. The amount of new prescriptions this family will have to contend with be extraordinary so we provided them with a $500 gift card to CVS Pharmacy. Once Melina and Alexia are well again they will enjoy a day of pampering at the Genesis Spa in Sugarland. For Niko, who is an avid Wii, soccer, basketball and football player, a $1000 gift card to Target will help in the short term to help him just play and be a little kid and a $1000 savings bond in honor of his mother Elena, will help him to remember all of you long into his future.

Victor McDonald

The Tragedy:

Victor McDonald was employed at ENRON for thirteen years. The subsequent layoff and the loss of his 401k drove Mr. McDonald to change careers. He began working for a contractor for Marriott traveling the country upgrading Marriott information systems. As the economy declined the slow of the hospitality industry caused Mr. McDonald to find himself once again out of work. At the time of this layoff his car had broken down. This caused him to be ineligible for unemployment as he was unable to continue to interview. Willing to take any position to keep food on his table he began driving an ice cream truck. On August 7 while driving his truck through a Tomball neighborhood three men began shouting racial slurs at him and then drug him from his truck and severely assaulted him. He suffered a cracked skull, broken nose and lost significant sight in his left eye.

The Fanatical Change!:

Since Victor is out of state recovering from his injuries with his mother, we met up with his cousin Carlos who accepted the aid on his behalf. Victor is facing a long recovery period. The three months of rent that we paid for his apartment will give him the time he needs to heal from this event both physically and emotionally. During his recovery he will be able to get $500 worth of groceries from H-E-B. We feel that what happened to him was inhuman. We wanted to let him know that thanks to people like you who donated he can restore his faith in humanity. He will be able to interview effectively not only because the$500 worth new business attire he can now purchase Suit Mart but also because Christian Brothers Automotive has restored his means to get there.

Shaquinta Bingham

The Tragedy:

Shaquinta Bingham is a mother of two children ages 15 and 8. She had been living at the Lake Crest Apartments on Tidwell Road in Northeast Houston. On July 31st her apartment was one of 11 units that was engulfed in flames torching all of the school supplies, clothes and personal items that she had been acquiring over the summer to prepare her two children for the coming school year. Ms. Bingham did not have renter’s insurance. All of her family’s personal belongings were lost in the fire. Unprepared to move she is in need of the deposit and first month’s rent for a new apartment. Even though we cannot provide Ms. Bingham with all of the pictures and memories that are now in ashes, we can provide her and her children with new clothes, school supplies and household items to help her and her family feel whole again.

The Fanatical Change!:

It was a stroke of luck that we received the phone call from Shaquinta informing us that she had been approved for her apartment. It was just after we finished with Victor McDonald's cousin, Carlos. She informed us that the office would close at 5pm. It was 4:39. We were downtown and she was on the northeast side. Luck was on our side again when we did not encounter any traffic and made it just in time to surprise her with a new lease on life! We might not be able to replace the memories that were lost in the fire, but thanks to everyone who donated Shaquinta and her two children will be making new ones. We presented her with a $1,500 gift card to Ikea, $1000 from Target, $450, from H-E-B and paid the deposit and three month’s rent. Her children will be in their new home in time for the new school year. Thanks to everyone that donated they will be going with the clothes and the school supplies that they need.

Lewis Holiday

The Tragedy:

On the night of Sunday, August 2nd, Lewis Holiday’s girlfriend became worried when he did not pick her up from work. She had a family member give her a ride over to Lewis’s house where she also lived. She found Lewis lying on the floor in their home and an ax nearby. Lewis had been struck at least twice in the head with the ax, causing his death.
Lewis Holiday leaves behind six children with ages ranging from five to seventeen. The responsibility to raise his children has fallen on Lewis’s mother, Florida Island. We will help the family adjust to this new living arrangement forced upon them by stocking her pantry full of food and other items they will need.

The Fanatical Change!:

It was getting close to 6pm when we arrived at Florida Islands’ home. We found her with her family who were all obviously in a numbing pain as they were roused from what could be described as a vacant stare brought on by the untimely vacancy of their loved one, Lewis. They were very friendly and just seemed to be in a state of disbelief and graditude as we presented them with a brand new desktop and laptop computer to help the kids with their studies, $500 from H-E-B for groceries for the new mouths to feed, i-pods to keep them entertained and $1000 to spend at target to keep them clothed. They told us of Lewis’s generosity and how he opened his door to those who no one else was willing to take a chance on. It seems only fitting that this same spirit of generosity now will help to nourish his children in his absence. It is your generosity that makes fortuitous ironies such as these possible.

Nikki Gates

The Tragedy:

On Wednesday July, 29th Nikki Gates, a woman nine months pregnant, was able to save herself and her two young sons from flames engulfing her mobile home but was unable to save her cousin who died in the inferno. She had lived there for five months with her children, ages 2 and 4, and her grandfather. Two of her neighbors tried to save her cousin but the flames were too much for them to advance into the burning home. On Monday her grandfather passed away from ailments unrelated to the fire. His funeral washeld on August 14. We headed down to Hitchcock to deliver to Ms. Gates means to start rebuilding her life out of the ashes.

The Fanatical Change!:

It was close to 8:30pm when the long drive down to Hitchcock was over. We arrived at Nikk’s grandparent’s home. Her neighbors were friendly but obviously grief stricken having had attended her grandfather’s funeral earlier in the day. The biggest welcome came from Elvis her dog that at first shouted cautious barks but soon relented and became playful out on the salty, sea sprayed lawn. Nikki walked slowly, labored from both the now overdue baby and the weight of the stress of losing her cousin, her grandfather and everything that she owns in the span of a week. We let her know that we had come to do everything possible to make her life get back to normal as soon as possible. We presented her with a $1000 gift card to Babies “R” Us so she can be prepared for when the stork’s late train arrives. We let her know that she would not have to worry about restocking her fridge because the $450 from H-E-B would help her to do that. For those times when a single mother of three is too tired to cook, we gave her $50 for Burger King. Her two boys T.J. and Kaiden will remember you all long from now when they are able to use the $1000 savings bonds we purchased for each of them. She was so grateful. Her whole body language had changed. When she first sat down to listen to why we had come she seemed to be slouching a little. Once we had presented the items to her she seemed to be sitting strait up in her chair. We would love to think that some of the weight was lifted of her shoulders but the reality is her baby was most likely kicking.


On the way home, Steven Kaufman, David Winters, Christine Jaques and I were commenting on the day and how thoroughly enjoyable it was. At 9pm the previous day our event "24 Hours of Fanatical Change" an event five months in the making had drawn to a close. We had spent an exhausting yet overwhelmingly fuflfilling day driving all over Houston delivering good will on behalf of our donors. We happened to notice the clock and it was 9:04pm. At this point the exhaustion had kicked in and I don’t think one of us at that point even remembered that we had named the event “24 Hours of Fanatical Change”. It was quite surreal.

Special thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers and corporate


Once again my life has been changed forever by participating in another Fanatical Change event. Your life could be changed as well. Please contact us if you wish to volunteer at our next event. One thing that you can do to help that can have a enormous impact is spread the word! Tell 2 people about Fanatical Change, encourage someone to visit our website or add us as a cause on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more uploads of video and photos.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, our most sincere thanks to everyone who helped to make this amazing event happen, thank you.


Juan Cuevas

Vice President

Fanatical Change Foundation

On August 13, 2009 Houstonians gathered for the charity event of the year, 24 Hours of Fanatical Change. Donors enjoyed cocktails in the rooftop lounge of this ultra chic high rise building located on Herman Park. They were able to see exactly where the money they were donating was going with write ups and streaming power point presentations playing on the screens above the bar. Libations included -the “Cause”-mopolitan and the Teq-“heal”-a Sunrise. Silent auction items included an autographed Michael Jackson Thriller album and a Mohamed Ali autographed boxing glove along with many other fantastic items.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Moment We've All Been Waiting For....

It's finally here! After months of strategic planning, it is now "game time." You don't want to miss this fantastic celebration. Join us at Montage and enjoy an assortment of hors d'oeuvres, beers, wines, specialty cocktails, karaoke and THE silent auction of the year, while overlooking the city from a luxurious high-rise. By attending, you'll not only get to spend the evening with some incredible people, but you'll also have the opportunity to spread hope, compassion and joy to families who currently have none.
We can all make a positive impact on the world, and here is your opportunity to begin! See you all tonight at Montage!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank You Houston Fertility Institute!

Houston Fertility Institute is the latest corporation to join The Fanatical Change Foundation's outstanding sponsors. Thank you for your support HFI. Now is the time to change those lives!

Commercial Cleaning Solutions Joins the Cause!

Thank you to Commercial Cleaning Solutions for contributing to our fanatical effort! In just a few days, your donation will completely transform the lives of very devastated Houstonian families. Congratulations to you for making it happen. Now, let's see what we can do!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Houston Press for Fanatical Change

Houston Press, one of Houston's main sources of news and entertainment, has published a fantastic ad for 24 Hours of Fanatical Change! Pick up the July 30th issue of Houston Press to see our ad. Or you can simply view it by clicking here and flipping to page 25. Also, be on the lookout for The Houston Press Street Team...they'll be handing out 24 Hours of Fanatical Change Flyers!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

24 Hours of Fanatical Change Silent Auction

Did we mention the incredible auction items that will be available at our 24 Hours of Fanatical Change Event?? Well, on August 13th, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one or more of the rare following items, while helping a family in need! Our very exciting featured auction items are....(drum roll please).....

Michael Jackson autographed Thriller album

Elton John autographed album

Frank Sinatra autographed album

James Brown autographed album

BB King autographed album

Barack Obama autographed photo

Al Pacino autographed photo

KISS autographed photo by all 4

Yogi Berra autographed photo

Mickey Mantle autographed photo

Muhammad Ali autographed boxing glove

U2 autographed WAR album

Plus there will be plenty of other fantastic auction items to choose from, along with fabulous entertainment and amazing people, all coming together to make a difference in Houston. This is the networking and charity event of the year! See you all there!