Unfortunately, a few hours after her birth, Sydney suffered brain damage from an apnea episode, and was never able to have the surgeries that she needed to save her life. We brought her home and our entire family surrounded us as we celebrated Sydney’s precious life. She passed away in her mother’s arms on 4/1/01 at the young age of three weeks and four days. Though she was only with us for a short time, she had a dramatic impact on our lives and those of our family and friends.
In order to celebrate the gift of Sydney’s short but precious life, we wanted to do something special to honor her memory. For many years, we had talked about how we wanted to help students in financial need through a scholarship of some type. When we lost Sydney our thoughts crystallized on this subject. The day after she passed away, we went to the bank, opened an account and called it the Sydney Mae Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund. Our simple goal at that point was to get something started and help deal with some of our grief. Little did we know that we had taken the first step down a very healing and fulfilling road.
In the few weeks afterwards we began the process of focusing our efforts. We felt strongly that we wanted to give the money to students who were living with some type of heart defect like Sydney. We both initially thought of partnering with Drexel University, where we had met ten years earlier, to give a scholarship. But we were disappointed when we discovered that we would need to raise a great deal of money before we could even begin giving awards and that our particular criteria would not be able to be considered when a student was chosen.
We realized that in order to have the degree of control that we wished into our efforts we would need to take care of things ourselves. We decided to create a foundation which would give scholarships to students, donate to research and support families who have kids living with congenital heart defects. The key to reaching these lofty goals was to become a 501(c)3 corporation, so all donations would be tax deductible. We began to find out that the process of becoming a 501(c)3 was a major undertaking in itself. Our good friend is a lawyer, and over the next two years, he and his firm helped us in the process of incorporating and applying for recognition as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. After many drafts and revisions, we submitted our application in November, 2002. We finally received word from the federal government in February, 2003 that we had been granted 501(c)3 status. Now, we are an official tax-exempt, non-profit public foundation, and all goods and services donated are tax-deductible!
In the past, we have held such fundraisers as a car wash, night at baseball, Pampered Chef party, golf tournament, and casino night. Our major focus in the fundraising arena has and will continue to be our annual golf tournament and casino night. In our third year, we established a fundraising committee. The committee meets monthly in working towards making our events more successful every year.
As difficult as losing Sydney has been for us, we are committed to the idea that good will come out of it. With your help, we can accomplish something that Sydney would be very proud of.
Thank you very much for your support.
Jay and Erin Taylor