Black Heart Gold Pants is excited to announce our sixth year of partnership with Iowa Touchdowns For Kids, the official fall fundraiser for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. Last year, we pledged over $600 per touchdown, our highest level yet. In 2015, we aim to surpass these benchmarks.
The rules are as simple as they ever were: You pledge a dollar amount for every touchdown Iowa scores in its 12 regular season games. Iowa racks up touchdowns, you rack up dollars to donate. At the conclusion of the regular season, right around the first of December, invoices with final dollar amounts will go out to all the pledgers, and you fulfill your pledge in a gift that's tax-deductible for the year of 2015.
The website is here. If you're already on board without our help, you can stop reading now (oh you'd like that, wouldn't you) and pledge for 2015, and in the unlikely event you still need to fulfill your 2014 pledge you can make that happen too. We BHGPers pride ourselves on fulfilling our pledges—more on that later. Make sure to note in your referral that you came from BHGP so we can accurately measure how great our community's reach is. More on that later, too.
This is a special year for the fundraiser. As regular readers know, the UICH finished construction by ceremoniously laying the final beam at the conclusion of this year's Spring Game/Open Scrimmage. This magnificent structure, which was just a dream when this program started in 2010, is now a reality, and it towers above Kinnick Stadium as a tribute and testament not only to the UI's dedication to the wellbeing of children, but to the generosity and will of Iowans (and Iowans at heart) like you and me.
Hospital care does not stop with its patients. That's its primary objective, obviously, but it is not its only objective, and those who have spent extended time in hospitals with loved ones know this. Care extends to families and guests. Care extends to the heroes who work at these facilities. It is an all-encompassing concept, when applied correctly.
For that reason, this will be a great hospital, full stop. It will be a great hospital. It is a radically care-forward facility, one that has taken input from patients and professionals in a simple but innovative concept: Evidence-Based Design. The ample windows and light wells ensure that every room in the facility has access to natural light, allowing everyone there a respite from the sterile fluorescent ambience one normally expects at hospitals. The rooms—all single-patient—are individually arranged to minimize variability in nurses' tasks room-to-room, instead of being arranged in the traditional mirror patterns to minimize construction costs. Parking and the emergency entrance are underground, because not even unfriendly weather should hamper a family's visit to the UICH. Play areas abound for the children, whose comfort has been prioritized in an unprecedented way here in Iowa. It is, as the UICH puts it, "more children's museum than emergency room."
And yes, on seven Saturday autumn afternoons, families can look out the west windows from higher floors and see 70,000 fans gathered to watch an Iowa football game, a unique and breathtaking view. But it's also a pretty cool sight when the stadium's empty, and the aerial view the 14-floor hospital supplies of the campus and the surrounding countryside means there's not a bad seat in the house—which will just so happen to be the largest, tallest house in Iowa City when it opens.
There is still more to do—a lot more. The facility begins operation in 2016, and the newer Pediatric Specialty Clinics will open in 2017 and 2018 as work continues. So while we got to watch the final beam lowered in April 2015, work still continues on the interior. Rest assured, the UICH's professionals are itching to get to work in their new dedicated facility, and every dollar donated to Iowa Touchdowns For Kids—every single one—goes toward making that dream a reality.
When you members of the BHGP community donate money to Iowa Touchdowns For Kids, it doesn't go to or through BHGP; it's all facilitated by the Children's Miracle Network. The money doesn't pay administrators' salaries; every single dollar goes to the CMN's fund for the interior workings of the building. It is the most efficient possible use of your money.
But it's about more than just efficiency—it's about what that money actually means. In large doses it's operational funds, and it's new beds in the NICU. If you haven't seen a hospital bed in action recently, great for you, but these things are legit amazing pieces of technology. In medium doses it facilitates child life play therapy (crucial for ensuring development isn't thrown into a holding pattern because of what happens to a child) and special kid-sized equipment. In small doses it's enough to provide access to a tablet so a child isn't cut off from his or her classroom during in treatment—because education is always part of the childhood experience, no matter what life throws their way. One dollar per touchdown means so many meal vouchers for families who would otherwise choose between food that day and some other need back home, or another few copies of Frozen (that's what kids still watch, right?) that keeps so many families per day from waiting to entertain a patient who would otherwise have to wait for a copy to open up. Even five dollars gives a family a new deck of UNO cards to unwrap and feel special for using with their kid with a compromised immune system. These things make the difference between a stressful visit that diminishes hope in some way and one that keeps the spirits of the patient and their family buoyed. That's the difference you, you reading this yourself right now, can make even without deep pockets.
We know we can count on you, and you know your support will continue to set you apart from other internet sites. BHGP's community has been nothing short of outstanding through these last several years. Our readers fulfill their pledges at a higher rate than the public as a whole, and 17% of BHGP donors gave a higher amount than they initially pledged last year. And that support has been massive, to the tune of over $70,000 over the last five seasons.
We are forever delighted by your generosity, even as we're no longer surprised by it. We at BHGP now know this is what we are: Iowans to the core, kind and morally grounded, who understand what a great and necessary cause this is. We understand that some things are bigger than ourselves. Some of us have experience with the UICH or children's hospitals in general; others hope to never have to. But until the day comes that somehow eliminates the need for a children's hospital, we aim to make our local facility the national beacon of care it can be.
So since we depend on you readers and givers, we ask you this favor. This year's donation goals will be podcast-based, as we try to get the best guests we've ever had on in support of this program. Current coaches and players are out of the question, as we understand it, but it's time to put together a wish list of anybody else from Iowa football history you'd like to hear from. We have some ideas, but this is for you all, not just for us, so let's hear some names*. We can't promise anyone at this point, obviously, but dream big and we'll try to make it happen. And yes, feel free to vote with your rec button; we notice the difference between 5 recs for a suggestion and 50.
*As a reminder, we've already had on Tim Dwight, Seth Olsen and DJK. They were all nice dudes, incredibly gracious and much cooler than us, but I don't think we can spur donations by having any of them on for repeats. Make requests accordingly.
The donation form is embedded below, and we'll be getting a Bragging Page open shortly if publicizing your pledge is the sort of thing that appeals to you. BE SURE TO CREDIT BHGP ON THE "How did you learn about Iowa Touchdowns for Kids?" QUESTION, NOT BECAUSE WE GET ANYTHING FOR IT (WE DON'T) BUT FOR ACCURACY'S SAKE.
And publicizing pledges for your praise and admiration is in fact important to us—we are indeed so vain—so here I announce that BHGP will open the proceedings by pledging $5 per touchdown (and you can probably goad us into more). Perhaps you can do better! If you can't, that's fine too; there's no such thing as an insufficient contribution to charity. We're not competing against each other, we're competing against zero, and we intend to beat the holy daylights out of zero with our bare fists and wallets for the sixth straight year.
Let's get to pledging. Let's get to giving. Go BHGP. Go Iowa Awesome.