The Team Burns Charitable Foundation:
A non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research & awareness
The Team Burns Charitable Foundation, Inc. was founded in August of 2008, in loving memory of Ted Burns, a husband, father, and friend whose life was tragically cut short by colon cancer, but also served as the inspiration a non-profit organization which has made great strides in cancer research and awareness.
In September of 2007, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer and given only months to live. He fought hard, however, undergoing multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments to prolong his life. Though his situation was dire, friends and family didn’t know it, as he smiled through the pain. By the summer of 2008, my dad’s illness had progressed, however, and succumbed to the disease, though his spirit didn’t. Ted Burns’ warm personality and kind acts were remembered by friends and family in the Monroe, Georgia community.
After my father’s funeral, a few of my friends and co-workers from the local Blockbuster had an idea to offer support to my family through our grief-stricken time. Emailing me with the idea to start a Relay for Life team in his honor, the group explained that the event was coming up in a few weeks, and there was still time to get a team together to walk. I discussed the idea with my mom and sister, and we unanimously agreed that it was an great idea.
And so, a group was born. At our Blockbuster friends’ suggestion, we called the effort “Team Burns,“ in honor of my father’s name. Our goal: to raise as much money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) as possible, helping to fund research and awareness programs, and fighting back against a disease that claims millions of lives each year. As we gathered local friends, neighbors and co-workers to get a team together, we found that the idea was met with overwhelming support from the community. By the end of October 2008, Team Burns walked at Walton County’s Relay for Life 2008, having raised more than $3,000 for the ACS in just three weeks– and all through letters and word-of-mouth!
After seeing how successful the collective group effort was to fight back, united for one cause, no one wanted it to end there. Our members, which had grown to nearly 30 in size, made a collective decision to continue raising money through fundraisers hosted by Team Burns. Especially considering the fact that nearly all of our members had either school, work or other commitments, the level of self-sacrifice on that day was an incredible sight. We knew that we were making a difference, and the group’s drive was infectious. We began planning bake sales, percentage nights, food drives and more, and each event was a great success.
As our fundraisers began to grow in scale, it became clear that an on-going PR effort was necessary. I took on this responsibility as Director of Public Relations, working on a website for our organization, so that we remained transparent and accessible, developed brand awareness campaigns via social media channels to keep us at the forefront of people’s minds, and worked to get press coverage for our fundraisers.
And as we grew in number, so did our visibility in the community. The leaders of my college a cappella group, The UGA Accidentals, which had offered their support after hearing of my dad’s passing, decided to get involved with Team Burns to co-host a Spring concert, as a fundraiser in the vein of the organization’s recent work. As we planned, it was only natural that, much like the start of Team Burns, the idea grew in magnitude to an event of epic proportions. This idea was the beginnings to what would eventually become known as “SpringSing: Voices United for a Cure,” a multi-day music festival takes place every April, gathering professional and collegiate a cappella singers from all over the country to sing for charity in Athens, GA.
Now in its third year, SpringSing: Voices United for a Cure (also known simply as SpringSing Weekend) is an annual music festival for charity, featuring performances by nearly a dozen of the best a cappella college and professional groups in the country. Offering a full day of music workshops, and a silent auction, and invaluable networking experiences for performers, SpringSing has quickly grown into one of the largest a cappella festivals nationwide, helping The Team Burns Charitable Foundation to start a new annual tradition, and reach a new milestone. To date, we’ve raised more than $18,000 dollars for cancer research and awareness!
SpringSing Weekend 2010 featured eleven groups, one of which was the “#1 Most Popular R&B Group on Youtube,” AHMIR! They, along with the four other professional groups, taught workshops that Saturday morning. Below is a short clip of a magical experience they shared on their Youtube page for more than 90,000 subscribers. It’s gotten more than 50,000 views to date!
A large number of professionals volunteered their time and services to our event. Here is a clip of Dave Baumgartner, of pro a cappella group Almost Recess:
Here is a clip of the world-renowned a cappella sensation Blue Jupiter:
Feedback from the Community:
“I’m very grateful to have been invited to this event. This is precisely the kind of thing we should all be doing with music. I hope everyone makes an effort to try to be there. Remember that all proceeds are going directly to cancer research. Don’t miss it!”
Dave Brown, former President of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA)
“SpringSing ROCKED! Blue Jupiter had a blast! So much fun! Thanks for everything Team Burns!”
-Diana Preisler Gasper, of Blue Jupiter
“Team Burns, you are doing absolutely great work. What a blessing your service is and will continue to be for many. May God ever bless you, give you increases and expand your territory as you press forward to support The American Cancer Society and to make an impact in this and many areas.”
-Dr. Linda Hunt King, of Soul Care Ministries International, Inc.
| We have raised more than $20,000 for cancer research and awareness programs, to-date… But it doesn’t stop there. Want to get involved? We are always looking for new volunteers — no matter where you live or what your talents are, we’ll find a use for them.
Contact me to learn more and get involved. |