Snowball Express, which provides service and support to children of the nation’s fallen military heroes, today announced Highland Capital Management has awarded the organization an unprecedented $1 million challenge grant.
Donations made to the organization up to $1 million will be matched through Memorial Day, May 26, 2014. That means every donor gift will have double the impact.
“We are extremely appreciative of Highland’s generosity and feel so fortunate to have found such a tremendous partner right in our own backyard,” said Francis Kern, Executive Director of Snowball Express. “Every year, Snowball Express helps more than 1,200 children who’ve lost a parent in the military. While we’re extremely proud of that figure, in truth there are many more children we need to serve. There are more than 8,000 Gold Star children in our country today who have lost a parent serving in our military since 9/11. Should we successfully meet the challenge, we’ll be in a better position to serve them all.”
“Snowball Express has provided much-needed support for my family these past few years,” said Tiffany Eckert, a Gold Star mother. “The challenge grant will allow this great organization to serve even more Gold Star children across the country and improve this critical support system.”
Highland announced the challenge grant today after being inspired by the Eckert family’s mission to pay it forward. The organization is pleased to announce that The Ellen DeGeneres Show today made a $20,000 donation to Snowball Express, which is the first contribution to count toward the challenge grant.
“We believe every single one of us has a responsibility to help the children of our fallen military heroes,” said James Dondero, Co-Founder and President of Highland. “Not one of us can do it alone, not Snowball Express, not Highland, and certainly not the individual families, but together, we have the ability to do great things by creating a supportive environment for all of these children and honoring the memories of their parents.”
“Highland’s challenge grant is ambitious, as it should be, but I’m confident the $1 million target can be achieved as others join us in paying it forward,” said Mark Okada, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Highland. “This is one more step in our continued efforts and commitment to support our nation’s veterans, service members and their families. Over the years we have given millions of dollars in support of military causes, such as ReserveAid. We applaud the other companies that are already doing the same and hope this challenge grant inspires others to give back as well.”
“The Eckert children and their commitment to paying it forward are, and will continue to be, an incredible inspiration,” Mr. Dondero said.
Since 2006, the mission of Snowball Express has been a simple, yet profoundly important one: Provide hope and new happy memories to the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11. The organization brings children together from all over the world for a four-day life changing experience that provides a fun, nurturing environment that makes each child feel special and gives them an opportunity to share their feelings about losing something so precious: their parent.
More than 2,500 children have attended events since Snowball Express was founded in 2006.
“We have one clear and distinct goal, to allow Snowball Express to be able to support every Gold Star child in the country,” Mr. Kern said. “Highland’s challenge grant, combined with the already amazing support from our Presenting Sponsor, American Airlines, and our other great sponsors, is going to help us get there.”
Gifts can be provided through http://snowballexpress.givezooks.com/campaigns/the-snowball-express-1-000-000-pay-it-forward-campaign or by texting “snowball” to 41444. For more information, please visit our website, www.snowballexpress.org or call our toll-free information line at 866-618-4601.
About Snowball Express
Snowball Express is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for programs that serve the children of America’s fallen military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11. We honor America’s fallen military service members who have died since 9/11 by humbly serving the families they left behind. We champion their children’s future success by creating opportunities for joy, friendship, and communal healing, by connecting these families to one another, as well as others inspired to support their cause. Since 2006, the mission of Snowball Express has been a simple, yet profoundly important one: Provide hope and new happy memories to the children of military fallen heroes.
About Highland Capital Management
Highland Capital Management is an SEC-registered investment adviser which, together with its affiliates, has approximately $19 billion of assets under management. Founded in 1993 by Jim Dondero and Mark Okada, Highland is one of the largest and most experienced global alternative credit managers. Highland’s strategies include collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), high yield bonds, distressed credit, public and private equities, structured products and natural resources.