A couple weeks ago I wrote about the upcoming Founders Board meeting for Kids' Chance of Florida. Kids' Chance is an organization that provides scholarships and educational assistance for children of people catastrophically or fatally injured on the job. Started by Attorney Bob Clyatt of Valdosta, Georgia in 1988, the organization has expanded to over 30 states. A national umbrella organization, Kids' Chance of America, Inc. (KCOA), was launched in 2007. I have been aware of and supporting Kids' Chance since 2000, and have served on the National Advisory Board for KCOA for several years. Kids' Chance is prominently featured on this website as the official Charitable Endeavor of WorkersCompensation.com.

The launch of a Florida chapter has been a personal goal of mine for several years. Each state chapter operates autonomously within it's borders, helping children who reside within their respective states. That has meant that no Florida children have had the opportunity to be part of the almost 5,000 scholarships totaling $14,000,000 that have been distributed by the collective group. In what was an emotionally satisfying board meeting on Tuesday, December 1st in Tampa, that all changed. Thanks to the efforts of an extraordinary group of volunteers and the professionals at KCOA, Kids Chance of Florida is now a reality.

The group elected officers, and approved its Articles of Incorporation and related By-Laws. While that paperwork is being filed with the state, we are pursuing our FEIN and 501(c)3 status. Our next 3 meetings, 2 telephonic and one in person, are set. The next primary function of the board will be to establish the scholarship criteria for our own organization. Very quickly in succession will be orchestrated fundraising and outreach efforts. KCFL has aggressive goals to be operational and capable of fulfilling scholarship requests within just a few months. The website for our chapter will be www.kidschancefl.com (not yet operational).

Some in Florida may ask how this will affect another similar group in the state, the Friends of 440. That fine organization has been supporting children of injured workers for almost 3 decades. It also assists children of professionals and employees who work under the Florida 440 Statutes – those laws that govern workers' compensation within the state. Where the part of our primary missions align, the assistance to children of injured workers, it is our hope that the two groups can work together diligently to share information and expand opportunity for kids in our state who are in need. We have had some very pleasant and productive conversations with the leadership of Friends of 440, and we believe the two groups can complement each other in this area.

What matters to people in both groups is how many children we can help; both individually and collectively.

As for the current board assembled for KCFL, I could not be more pleased. They represent a broad and talented cross section of our industry, and are quite enthusiastic for the cause. They are:

Ray Neff
Neff & Associates, Inc. (Former regulator and former CEO of FCCI Insurance Group)

Robert H. Wilson
President & CEO
WorkersCompensation.com, LLC

Linda Vendette
Vice President Claims
Zenith Insurance Company

David Langham
Deputy Chief Judge
Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims

Bill Rogner, Esq.
Hurley, Rogner, Miller, Cox & Waranch, and P.A.

Ken Eichler
Government Relations
ODG / Work Loss Data Institute

Stacy Hosman, CWCL
Executive Director
WCCP Association

Claude Revels
Benefits Administration Dir
JM Family Enterprises, Inc.

Kerry Maher, M.D.
V.P. of PM&R Consulting and Physician Relations
Brooks Rehabilitation

Jane Ann Nolte-Wiener, RN, MBA, CDMS, CCM
Medical Management & Re-Employment

Geoffrey Bichler
Managing Partner
Bichler, Kelley, Oliver, Longo & Fox, PLLC 

If you would like to support Kids' Chance of Florida, I encourage you to reach out to me. We are able to accept tax deductible donations through the umbrella KCOA until such time that our 501(c)3 status is confirmed. Those funds will be held by the umbrella organization until we are ready to accept them. You can reach them through their website, www.kidschance.org. Please designate all donations for Kids Chance of Florida.

Thanks for indulging me. I will keep you posted on our progress, and Kids' Chance, welcome to the Sunshine State!




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