Welcome to NonProfit PRO's 2016 Nonprofit Professionals of the Year Awards. This entry is for Fundraiser of the Year. To view all of this year's award winners, click here.
For most fundraisers, conceptualizing, implementing and coordinating a new program—especially one dependent upon volunteers—is a difficult task. But Tyler Cashman is no ordinary fundraiser.
He’s a seventh grader.
Cashman, 13, was recently diagnosed with a chronic pain condition—and it wasn’t his first experience with the illness. His mother, Casey, has been a pain survivor since 2008. He had seen firsthand how chronic pain impacts families on a daily basis. And he wanted to give back—to make a difference.
So, in 2015, Cashman founded Points for Pain, a U.S. Pain Foundation program aimed at raising funds and awareness for children living with chronic pain. The program includes a pediatric pain camp, coverage in an awareness magazine and a signature “Take Control of Your Pain” event, all designed to rally a community around the cause and raise funds at the local level.
The first event was based around a middle school basketball game. It encouraged participants to donate a flat amount or an amount that would increase based on total points scored in the game, and saw students volunteer to collect donations, decorate the gymnasium and boost awareness for chronic pain. The program raised $10,000 between the two participating schools.
That the event was so successful is a testament to its founder, whose drive and determination has inspired other children suffering from chronic pain to host their own events under the program. Cashman continues to volunteer and participate at awareness events across the country on behalf of U.S. Pain Foundation—not bad for a fundraiser with a to-do list that still includes math homework.
“U.S. Pain Foundation is honored to know this creative and selfless young man, as he is truly making a difference in the lives of children living with an invisible illness,” said Shaina Smith, director of state advocacy and alliance development for the organization. “To us, he is a true hero.”