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Cradles to Crayons (C2C) was founded in 2002, with the mission of providing children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive - at home, at school and at play. Headquartered in Boston, MA, C2C also opened a Philadelphia location in 2006.
C2C is at the cutting edge of volunteer management and has become the largest volunteer opportunity in the Boston area providing unique, hands-on opportunities for people to help other people. This is one of the most powerful aspects of the C2C experience.
The organization is currently engaged in a strategic planning process, exploring new ways to expand upon the model locally and scale the organization nationally.
How it Works
Cradles to Crayons collects new and nearly new children's items through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are then processed and packaged by volunteers, and are distributed to disadvantaged children across the state through a collaborative network of social service agencies and school partners. C2C supplies these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.
Cradles to Crayons meets a critical need as more than 305,000 Massachusetts children 12 years old and younger live in poverty stricken situations. Their living conditions can have negative effects on their self-esteem as poverty can lead to behavioral, social and emotional problems; their education as half of these children start 1st grade up to 2 years later than their peers; and their safety as they may live in more hazardous environments that can increase the risk of injury.
While meeting the immediate needs of low-income children, Cradles to Crayons also sets a foundation for lasting change by providing meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities to thousands of individuals and families and hundreds of corporations each year by organizing clothing collections, hosting a fundraiser, or working in the Giving Factory warehouse.
In 2012, Cradles to Crayons provided 61,000 packages to children in Massachusetts and supervised more than 28,000 volunteer visits, a 15.6% increase compared to 2011. Since 2007, C2C has had an impressive CAGR of 18%.
Cradles to Crayons' innovative and highly effective model has led to C2C receiving distinguished awards such as Boston A-List's Best Local Charity, Bank of America Neighborhood Builder award for being an innovative grassroots organization, and national recognition for C2C Founder Lynn Margherio who received the Lewis Hine Professional Service Award for her exceptional service to young people from the National Child Labor Committee.
Cradles to Crayons also earned the highest possible rating from Charity Navigator for the fifth consecutive year. Only 4% of charities rated have received at least 5 consecutive 4-star evaluations, differentiating C2C from its peers and indicating that C2C outperforms most other charities in America.