For more than two decades, First Candle and CJ Foundation for SIDS have focused on a shared intent – reducing the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Stillbirth and supporting those who have experienced a loss. We have worked with researchers, supported local organizations, and developed programs and initiatives to educate as many people as possible about safe sleep and healthy pregnancies.
And now, moving into the new year, we are ready to take a bold and exciting next step. In our desire to become an even stronger and more successful organization, First Candle and CJ Foundation for SIDS will merge to become CJ First Candle. Our driving force will be simple – Saving Babies. Supporting Families.
CJ First Candle’s expanded network capability will benefit family events and regional programs. Our new expanded outreach will mean more educational programs, more bereavement services and most importantly more funding for our support service and research granting programs. Our joint mission allows us to streamline our efforts to channel support where it is needed.
Alison Jacobson will be assuming the role of CEO/Executive Director of the new organization. Alison is a SIDS mom and has been CEO/Executive Director of First Candle since February of this past year. She has served on numerous Boards of non-profit organizations and has also run her own successful business for over a decade as a national family safety expert, blogger and media personality. Joel and Susan Hollander, who founded their organization in memory of their daughter, Carly Jenna, will remain involved in the organization. Joel will serve as Co-Chairman of the Board along with Dave Cunningham. Susan will take on the role of on-staff consultant to help with the transition, working on research and support service grants as well as fundraising events.
“I’ve personally known and admired the Hollanders since my son Connor died from SIDS in 1997,” said Ms. Jacobson. “I’m so impressed with how they’ve built this wonderful organization and helped so many families throughout the United States. I’m honored to lead CJ First Candle into the next chapter for both organizations and to move even further educating more families and caregivers while also supporting those who have lost a baby.
“Alison and I have worked tirelessly to create a new organization that will best utilize the strengths of both CJ Foundation and First Candle,” adds Ms. Hollander, who served as President of CJ Foundation. “By combining our expertise in grant programs, education, advocacy and family support, we are even better positioned to work toward the elimination of SIDS, SUID and preventable Stillbirth.
” Dr. Hannah Kinney, one of the premier researchers in the area of SIDS and SUID strongly supports this merger. “I am very excited about the merger of two great organizations, both dedicated to the fight against mortality in early life: the CJ Foundation and First Candle–now to be known as CJ First Candle going forward. These two wonderful groups have always worked together to lead the fight, but now they are joined hand in hand in this important endeavor, creating the largest lay organization waging the battle against sudden childhood death in early life. I applaud the far-reaching vision of the two organizations to join in their shared goals, and I know that this merger will create a great force in our effort. I look forward to the unified impact of CJ First Candle upon the eradication of all early childhood mortality, including stillbirth and SIDS,” states Dr. Kinney.
Our individual websites are still active but will be redirected to our new site within the next 30 days.
There’s still work to be done. We hope to count on you as part of our goal—as an even stronger entity—to eliminate SIDS/SUID and preventable Stillbirths. A $10 donation can help us educate more parents and caregivers on how to keep their babies safe and reduce the rate of SIDS and SUID. Together, we can work toward our goal of a world without SIDS, SUID and Stillbirth.