Foundation Started by 8 Year Olds Raises Over $300,000 for Hospital NICU

Thanks to a group of students, a local hospital in Hawaii is getting more than $300,000 to help renovate their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). One of the amazing teenagers is Keri Wagner, currently a junior in high school, who assisted Kidz For a Cause (KFAC) with their very first fundraiser, after being asked by her friend, Nicki Lee who founded the organization.

To date, KFAC has collaboratively raised about $400,000 for various organizations. This past year alone, they raised a little over $305,000 for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu. Wagner and her fellow KFAC members get creative with their fundraisers, hosting everything from online talent campaigns, bake sales, and haunted trolly rides, to concerts, dinners, and a teen film festival.

The funds raised by KFAC for the hospital were much needed. Kapiolani’s NICU treated nearly a thousand children last year and the hospital serves women from many of Hawaii’s islands. However, their NICU had very small rooms separated only by curtains, leaving mothers with little space or privacy to spend time with their babies.

As important as Kapiolani is to the community, the health center didn’t have the money to expand. But thanks to Keri and KFAC’s hard work, the hospital will be able to build a new wing for the NICU including separate rooms for each incubator, a place to wash clothes, a community kitchenette, and a comfortable waiting room for friends and family.

This all began as a simple school service project. Most kids in her class did beach clean-ups, but KFAC Founder, Nicki Lee decided to do a concert benefitting the Ronald McDonald Foundation and asked Keri to participate. KFAC grew from there, hosting concerts and other events benefiting the Ronald McDonald Foundation and other causes.

Then, Keri and her family moved from Hawaii to California when she was in the eighth grade, putting her almost 2,500 miles away from her friends and the foundation. The move was tough, separating her from all of her friends, a lot of family. For most, that would have meant an end to her involvement with KFAC but not for Keri.

Instead, Keri brought her commitment to KFAC with her to California and inspired her new friends to help her raise money. In 2016, three of Keri’s friends helped her with a bake sale and were able to travel to Hawaii with her for the fundraiser ceremony. Instead of giving up on a project that she was no longer required to do, Keri expanded it. She used her struggles to her advantage, and to the advantage of the foundation as well.

Keri’s new community was just as receptive as the one she left behind. She noted that “a lot of people were really supportive because kid empowerment has become such a popular and important topic recently.”

Keri’s actions show the immense resourcefulness that children possess and KFAC’s growth shows that patience, pursuit of wellness, and positive outlooks can truly make a difference on success. Now in her junior year of high school, Keri intends to continue her fundraising efforts. She is currently planning a local masquerade for later this year to raise even more money for worthy causes.

Kidz for a Cause

Kidz For A Cause is an organization of kids who are drawn together by a desire to help kids in need. Combining their positivity, talent and energy, KFAC puts on awesome FUNraising events powered by kids to raise money for non-profits that benefit kids.