- Fund created by Red Wings announcer to combat opioid abuse in wake of his son’s death
- Fund is one of several the foundation is managing as it evolves into a community foundation for children
- Beyond managing assets for donors, other nonprofits, foundation will help them fundraise
Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation will administer a new fund created by Detroit Red Wings announcer Ken Daniels and his family to combat opioid abuse in the wake of the overdose death of his son.
The fund builds on several the $120 million foundation, independent of its namesake hospital, is now managing as it evolves into a broader community foundation for children.
The aim is to manage philanthropic assets that support children for donors and other nonprofits, in addition to making annual grants of about $6 million focused on community benefit, pediatric research and medical education from its own assets.
“There are more opportunities to fund programs that support our mission than we have funds for,” said foundation Chairman Matt Friedman, co-founder of public relations firm Tanner Friedman.
Taking on the functions of a community foundation “allows us as a foundation to have a larger footprint and a greater impact,” he said.
Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation has been focused on growth since it began operating independently of Children’s Hospital of Michigan after the Detroit Medical Center became a for-profit health system.
One way to grow is through direct fundraising.
“Another way is to align with others who have an interest in the mission and bring them in under our umbrella to work with us,” Friedman said.
It was nearly a year after his son’s death at the age of 23 when Daniels began to talk publicly last November about his son’s addiction and the path he was on toward recovery and a career as an attorney when he relapsed while in treatment in Florida.
Jamie Daniels was a victim of the so-called “Florida Shuffle,” a scheme aimed at milking a person’s insurance coverage rather than putting them on a path to permanent recovery.
Following his son’s death, Daniels said many reached out to him, including CBC Sports’ “Hockey Night in Canada” announcer Scott Oake, whose own son had died about five years earlier from an overdose.
Oake told him, “At some point, you’ll find your calling. Just give it time … as dark as this is, something good will come from it,” Daniels said.
He began to consider the idea of starting an independent foundation in his son’s honor when he was introduced to Friedman by a mutual acquaintance
He learned about the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, met President and CEO Lawrence Burns and knew he’d found a home for his son’s foundation.
“I don’t think I’ve had peace of mind (until) meeting Matt and Larry the last few months. Just speaking with them and hearing what we can do. They gave me a purpose,” Daniels said.
He is still working with Children’s to determine what the fund will support but looking at options including drug abuse prevention education, scholarships and Hope not Handcuffs, a program of Families Against Narcotics, which was founded by Macomb County Judge Linda Davis.
The more Children’s talked with Daniels, the more apparent their common interest in addressing the opioid crisis became, Friedman said. By taking on administrative functions for the new fund, it leaves Daniels free to be the face of the fund and to help raise money to support its causes.
And with a staff of 18, the foundation is positioned to help Daniels establish an annual fundraising event as he’d like to do, Friedman said.
The foundation will help the Jamie Daniels Foundation and other funds it houses raise money through special events and direct individual and corporate fundraising, Burns said, noting that role will make it unique from other community foundations.
“We have already started some discussions about what those fundraising opportunities will be along with Ken and his friends, along with possibly the Red Wings (and) possibly Fox Detroit,” Burns said, adding that the Jamie Daniels Foundation’s assets could be well into the six-figure range within six months.
“Because of the doors Ken and his family will open up, I think we’ll have opportunities to develop new, positive relationships with other people in the community.”
The pact with the Jamie Daniels Foundation is one of three Children’s has forged so far to administer assets and grants. Other funds include:
- The Dick and Gail Purtan Family Endowment Fund, which supports children’s cancer research and treatment.
- The Evelyn Grace Foundation, with a mission to bring light to children and their families during dark times.
- The Healing Kids Foundation, supporting efforts to help pediatric burn survivors and their families cover the costs of treatment that insurance does not.
Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is looking to the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan — which manages assets of more than $900 million — and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit/United Jewish Foundation, with its roughly $650 million in assets, as models for how a community foundation can grow and operate, Burns said.
“If we can be half as successful as them, we’ll be doing great work.”