The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2017, March 18-19

Life Quilt Foundation

Paired with Shamrock

Life Quilt Foundation is the outcome of a September 11, 2010 meeting of family and friends sitting around a dining room table in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood to discuss how we could help make the world a better place by sharing our talents and treasures.

Our name is symbolic of the nurturing qualities of a quilt, the fact that quilts are made up on many multi-colored components - like we are - and the fact that the name was available as a URL and for a Facebook page.

At this point we are focused on providing school supplies, winter clothing and food to individuals from Naperville to Ford Heights

We are a small, volunteer organization with aspirations to grow. The ED is so committed to the growth of Life Quilt that she went out and earned a Masters in Nonprofit Administration (with Distinction) so that she could better manage and sustain the organization.

What new functionality we are looking for

We are in need of a new website that provides the ability to create awareness of the issues surrounding educational readiness and how Life Quilt addresses them. We'd love to have the ability to tell our story using a variety of media, including photos and videos. We need a way to solicit and accept donations. As part of that we want to share our donor bill of rights and gift acceptance policy. Also important is the ability to capture information on individuals who want to volunteer, as well as organizations that want to partner with us. The ability to extract that data into a simple database/Excel file is important. An integration with calendaring and email capabilities would be ideal.

We'd love to have the ability to tie our Facebook page to our website. An enhanced Facebook page would be a wonderful bonus.

One of the most important capabilities is the ability to deliver programming via our website.

How the new functionality will help

Life Quilt is developing new programming to help parents becoming more effective stewards of their child's education and we view the web as an effective vehicle for program delivery. We are small and recognize that we will operate as as a virtual organization, without a bricks and mortar presence, for some time into the future. A robust digital footprint allows us to develop and offer new programming and to scale.

As a volunteer-only organization, technology is key to creating repeatable engagements with stakeholders. An enhanced web presence provides us with greater credibility. A new website would be our first full-time employee, always available to share information about who we are, what we do, and most importantly, how we can improve educational outcomes of students.

How our organization will use the technology

The new technology will allow us to more effectively communicate with our stakeholders, be better stewards of prospective donors, and most importantly, to deliver new programming.

On a day-to-day basis with the new technology we will be able to raise more funds and more effectively manage the relationships with our donors. With the new online capabilities we can engage with our clients and volunteers more frequently in more formal, standardized ways that can scale.

Who will use the technology

The founder and executive director will be the person who most frequently uses the new technology. Because this is primarily a volunteer-only organization, she will have the ability to to engage others in the operational aspects of Life Quilt, helping to create scale and sustainability.

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_chi2017-lifequilt-before Thumbnail_chi2017-lifequilt-after

23 Messages from Supporters

2017-02-14 11:23:41 UTC
Diana O'Kelly

As the Fremont Township Supervisor, I have seen first hand how wonderful this organization is. Kim Holmes has such care and concern for those in need and helped many in our township with her help of coats and supplies.
What a gem!

2017-02-11 15:12:07 UTC

I personally have been encouraged and empowered by this organization. Kim Holmes is a dynamo, who can inspire you to cut, collect, and speak about her heart. With just talking with her we did a coat drive at my salon. And after my parents had died she was able to gather all of the walkers, wheelchairs, rollators and find homes for everything. They are able to not look away. They see a need and fill it. And quick. With this help of technology they will be even better to fit the pieces together in this quilt we call life and cover the world with love and compassion.

2017-02-11 15:38:43 UTC
Adrienne Booth

Life Quilt Foundation has a wonderful mission: "Our belief is that education is the key to success. If you are not properly equipped with school supplies, or do not have warm winter clothing, or if you are hungry, nothing else matters. We want to make it possible for kids to be successful and have everything that other people take for granted."

As someone who grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s, I witnessed the effects of hunger and poverty in my classmates' lives. I recall a childhood friend who as an 11-year-old was fascinated by chess and was a great strategist, a very bright girl, but whose entire family routinely shared a big bowl of macaroni and cheese for dinner -- that was it, no side dishes, no meat, no veggies, just macaroni and cheese. Understandably, when my friend sat hungry through classes during the school day, it was hard for her to focus. And with little money for basics such as food and clothing, her family had no money to spare to purchase school supplies, which made my friend's journey even harder. Support from the Life Quilt Foundation would have made a huge difference for my young friend.

To succeed in their mission, Life Quilt Foundation needs to be able to connect quickly and effectively with their audiences -- potential donors as well as those who use the organization's resources. I just pulled up their current website, and I see that a 2015 event is featured as an "upcoming event" on the About page; having worked for other non-profit organizations, I know that it's often difficult for volunteers or overworked non-profit staff to keep a website updated, much less to create and manage a coherent social media presence. Your assistance will allow Life Quilt Foundation to implement best practices in communication technology and data management, from creating linked databases to improving their uses of social media.

In our current tumultuous political climate, I fear that it will be harder and harder for underprivileged children to get the education they deserve and desperately need in order to get decent jobs and fulfill their personal dreams and potential. Life Quilt Foundation provides critical resources to help children be successful in school and in life, and is eminently worthy of your support.

2017-02-11 16:15:53 UTC
Ricki Schwimmer

In light of our present administration, the need to fund lower income schools appears to be greater than ever. If a child can't afford a hot meal, how are they going to get into a charter school? This is where Life Quilt can make such a difference.

Teachers are one of the most underpaid resources we have in this country. And yet, they often use their money to buy supplies for their classrooms. Once again, this is where Life Quilt can help.

I have known Kim for many years as we worked together at Kemper Insurance. Her dedication and organizational skills has made Life Quilt a success. However, like most of us, she could use help, particularly with Life Source's website.

As long as I was looking at her site, I thought I would make a donation. While there is a donate button, it doesn't allow you to donate. This functionality is vital to any charity. If we can't volunteer, how else can we help if we can't donate.

There are a number of other suggestions I have but that's not the point of this message. The point is why Life Quilt? The answer is it's purpose, which has always been desparetely needed, and the woman behind the organization. As I mentioned above, she is the perfect person for this endeavor. And she and Life Quilt need your help to become more engaging with the online public - now more than ever.

2017-02-11 17:12:58 UTC
Cassandra Kaczocha

The U.S. is the richest country in the world. Yet as of our last census, more than half of all public school students live in poverty. Every summer various organizations host school supply drives. These drives help ensure kids start the school year with supplies. However, kids need supplies all year long. Schools need supplies to be replenished throughout the year. And one thing we always forget is that students need supplies at home to ensure they can complete homework and study for tests. Life Quilt works to stitch together the resources students need in order to succeed. In a country where we pride ourselves on pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, Life Quilt strives to ensure that students have boots.

2017-02-11 15:47:40 UTC
Jennifer Wu

I know how it feels to go to school without a coat, hungry and longing for sharp number two pencils and a crisp clean notebook. These may seem small to you but, for some people, it can make the difference between feeling like you belong and are able to succeed and viewing school as an enemy encampment. Kim Holmes has the heart and the energy to do what few of us are able: to make a real difference. She is also one of the most intelligent and hardworking people I've ever known. Your help in allowing her vision to be realized would also make a real difference.

2017-02-11 16:26:32 UTC
Michaeline Mercer

Throughout my 64 years of life, as a mother an community supporter, I have experienced l low income, public, private and home schooling on a personal level. I have also been aware of the journey and commitment of Kim Holmes for most of her life. She has the vision, commitment and energy to help our educational system grow into an environment that will allow the seeds of our next generations thrive in fertile soil and create a bumper crop of highly prepared citizens.

I offer my assistance and endorsement to Ms. Holmes in making the Life Quilt Foundation succeed.
She has been an inspiration to many community activists and educators, including my daughter who is currently teaching in the Baltimore City Public School system. Please join us in helping her continue to help improve our current system in this aspect of educational outreach. The added people and resources a website and social media presence will add is immeasurable.

2017-02-11 16:26:52 UTC
Trowby Brockman

Life Quilt is making a difference in people's lives at a most basic level. Life Quikt is truly grass roots with an emphasis on their roots in the community. A robust website is vital to their purpose. They need a voice that is easily accessible any time with engaging content. Volunteers and donors and community members need to know what this wonderful organization does and how it supports children and adults with the most basic needs. I salute Life Quikt's work and hope that they will receive a website redesign to help them help many others.

2017-02-11 17:19:25 UTC
scholarship student & Harvard grad from the South Side

If you give Kim Holmes and her colleagues at the Life Quilt Foundation the right tools to do the job, they have the vision and passion to make great things happen!

Please use your skills and creativity to revamp the Life Quilt Foundation website to bring it up to modern tech and visual media standards -- make it a vibrant site that engages kids and families, as well as donors. Make it fun and accessible to audiences that increasingly use mobile devices! And make it have functional, interconnected database innards, so Kim and her colleagues can easily harvest and maximize use of information regarding student needs, programs, resources, and donors.

The current Life Quilt Foundation website is well-intentioned but it's visually bland, depends too much on words (rather than images) to convey its message, and it even has outdated "current events" info. When I look at the website, I want to get up-to-date information about how I can participate, as a student, a parent, or a donor. I want to see programs and resources that interest me. I want to immediately get the message of a community coming together to help kids succeed in school; of lovingly saved bits of fabric, brought together by a group of caring people, hand-crafted to create something beautiful and literally (heart)warming, that provides for kids' basic needs so that they can learn, dream big, and live their dreams. Words that I associate with the re-designed site are: homespun, nurturing, love, dedication, food, clothing, learning, transformation, success, connectedness.

Use the quilt as a visual metaphor: Why not have the central image of the Home page be a quilt, with each "block" a visual representing an aspect of the Foundation? Each "block" could be a clickable link, taking the viewer directly to relevant information... When words are necessary, use them in a poetic yet accessible way; use typography to drive the messages visually, rather than as a bland necessity....

I have looked up to Kim Holmes as a leader and mentor since high school Student Council years ago. She walks the talk because she has lived the life: despite racism and so many other challenges, Kim became a successful and honored executive of a global corporation. And at an age when others would have retired and taken it easy, Kim went back to school to earn a master's degree in nonprofit management specifically so she could help others. She has told me often about her goals of helping disadvantaged students through Life Quilt Foundation; it's a way of helping individuals achieve their personal potential, and it has the power to lift up entire communities. Your re-design of the website would be greatly appreciated.

2017-02-12 04:34:21 UTC
J L Marion

As a social worker, I have seen the many needs of the residents of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. I know firsthand that the needs far outweigh the available resources. Life Quilt is an organization that was birthed to stand in the gap to connect those in need with those that are willing to give of themselves and their time to help fill those needs. As the sister of the founder and executive director I also know firsthand the love she has for her fellow man and the disdain she feels for injustice. Because of her compassionate and fearless nature, she is determined to spread the mission of Life Quilt to those who are like minded. Technology is no longer a luxury for a company it is an absolute necessity. Interactive technology will allow Life Quilt the ability to connect with people served by the organization, donors, volunteers, staff, board members and other supporters in a broader, faster and more efficient method. The Life Quilt projects that I have personally been involved with involved feeding the hunger in a food desert, supplying school supplies, coats, hats and gloves to schools in suburban communities that are in dire state of economic crisis. Life Quilt has already done so much but there is still so much yet to be done. By pursuing digital transformation Life Quilt realizes the impact this organization will have on its mission to aid those in need, to provide a safe and convenient way to donate as well as to recruit volunteers that will allow the organization to service a larger demographic population. Your technology will help Life Quilt change the lives of a multitude of deserving people.

2017-02-11 22:25:02 UTC
Lori Allen

The Life Quilt Foundation addresses one of the greatest needs in society today -- education for underprivileged children. All of their resources go directly to provide supplies and tools for these children in need. This small but mighty and passionate group of volunteers wants to reach more children in need across the metropolitan area. A professional online presence -- coupled with their own social media activities -- could make this dream possible, for the Foundation, but more important, for the children who would not otherwise have the tools they need to succeed in school. I have worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 30 years, and I cannot think of a more responsible and effective organization and more deserving cause.

2017-02-12 14:45:43 UTC
Kraig K. Johnson


Life Quilt Foundation was organized in 2010, from a deep passion by our executive director, Kim B. Holmes. She wanted to start a nonprofit organization that would target just what our mission statement stated,” to break the barriers to educational success by providing students' basic needs”.

Life Quilt Foundation has been able to partner with a variety of organization and their events, such as working with local churches to feed parents and children who were homeless, annual community festivals, doctoral research projects and a local library's family reading night. Through these outings we narrowed our focus down to two critical areas that were creating barriers in students' educational performance in the classroom. One is that some parents don’t have additional resources outside of school feeding programs. Students perform better in the classroom when they have nutrition. The second is that some parents lack the basic skills themselves to help their children and they lack the resources to help students in the home.

Having a quality website would allow Life Quilt Foundation to host credible resources, especially in the area of parents bettering their basic skills, to help themselves and their students in the home with homework. Having access to a website to provide this skills training would be friendlier and less intimidating for parents who lack basic educational skills and students who struggle.


Kraig K. Johnson

Life Quilt Foundation

Board President

2017-02-12 16:46:58 UTC
Leslie Graske

The Life Quilt foundation touches the lives of many people. It has the potential to touch many more with an undated Website. People who want to give will have greater opportunities to match their gifts to the needs of the community. Those who need a hand up will have greater opportunities to meet their needs. An updated website increases the matching between both ends of the community and gives the community a chance to coalesce. The Life Quilt foundation is deserving of greater development and will use this asset to help make the community stronger.

2017-02-12 23:39:10 UTC

The Life Quilt Foundation is truly an incredible organization. I currently teach in a high poverty area, and lack of proper nutrition is a pivotal issue that can stall a child's ability to learn. I have students that arrive every morning drinking soda and eating bags of chips and I can attest to the fact that it makes it difficult for them to learn. The fact that the Life Quilt Foundation takes the time to offer parents the support they need to give their students the best opportunities is incredible. Organizations like this make the world a better place and I appreciate what they do for students in this country and their families. The Life Quilt Foundation is very deserving of this opportunity! By supporting the organization, you are supporting the community and its children.

2017-02-13 00:20:41 UTC
Timothy Kaczocha

I have known the ED of Life Quilt Foundation for nearly my entire adult life. We married when we were very young and I witnessed Kim Holmes' nurturing as a mother and her continuing determination to try to make a difference in the world. She successfully became the first black woman on the Waukegan School Board on her second election campaign. As back then, she knows it takes the support of many to help in her mission.

Life Quilt Foundation needs a well functioning website to help in its mission to change the world through our children who are the future. Life Quilt Foundation funding and community outreach can grow much faster and help more people more quickly when it utilizes the technology that the website would provide.

2017-02-13 01:11:17 UTC

After the recession, we noticed the severe impact the poor economy had on some of Chicago's most underserved communities. And that's how Life Quilt began. Through resume workshops, clothing drives, catered lunches and more, we've worked hard at bettering the lives of our neighbors.

But, even good intentions come with pitfalls and the ability to extend our reach has been hampered by less than ideal technology. With a proper website, we could rally more volunteers, accept more donations, get more press, and assist more people.

Please assist LifeQuilt in taking our service initiatives to the next level. Thanks in advance for your consideration and for the the opportunity.

2017-02-13 04:44:55 UTC
Rhonda M

The purpose of Life Quilt is truly great and greatly needed. I grew up in the South Suburbs of Chicago. In elementary school I recall serval of my classmates wearing the same uniform pants day after day. It is well known that kids can be cruel needless to say the students wearing that single pair of pants were taunted. Life Quilt fills the gap for those kids; providing food, clothing, coats, and indirectly a little boost in self esteem. Every time I volunteer with Life Quilt I see the joy and gratitude of the families making it known that an impact was made. I can't wait to see what else Life Quilt will do in the near future!

2017-02-13 20:50:42 UTC
Jaime Aruguete

Anything that improves the ways and means of this terrific organization is a benefit to the communities they're trying to improve. I have known Kim for over forty years and I'm certain that she will always be achieving the goals of the organization she is leading, but Life Quilt Foundation can use the enhancement of being able to use the most important communication tool of our time - the internet - to truly make the difference which changes lives. I know that Life Quilt Foundation will be significantly empowered by having a website that is effectively providing outreach and coordination in protecting children from the cold of winter. Perhaps just the beginning?

2017-02-14 17:33:40 UTC
Paul S. Kaczocha

I have known the ED of Life Quilt for decades and have witnessed her compassion and understanding not only with her children, but with those less fortunate around her. My wife and I live in Gary, Indiana and we see poverty first hand and the affect that any help can have on the lives of those less fortunate. A new website for Life Quilt will assist in identifying and helping those in need.

2017-02-16 19:13:42 UTC
Anna M. Jacobs

I am Kim Holmes sister in law. She has helped me many times throughout our relationship. She definitely has a heart for people in need. Her heart brought her to desire and attain with Honors as my brother states to take on the grueling task of achieving a Masters degree to better manage this organization. I had little knowledge of this organization prior to her cry for help. This is my first time on her site. After viewing it, I still know very little about it. I agree that she needs a better site for ALL the reasons everyone has already stated. I work in an urban school district in northwest IN. The state funding is always being cut. As a result of this, teachers end up buying their own supplies and needs for their children. Their salaries have also been affected by these cuts. Our district has feeding programs for the children in the morning and lunch programs too. Summer feeding programs are also provided. For some of our children, this is the only time that they can eat. Because of this, our administration has a difficult time making a weather related school cancellation decision. It is sad to think that children have to walk to school unprepared for the weather and hungry too. Kim acquired this Masters degree while working a full time management job and fulfilling her family obligations. She has drive and compassion to carry this out to become a strong charity organization. Her retirement passion will be to devote her time and energy to expanding this organization. If she needs the help that a fully functional website can give her, please help her to have one. Her needs fulfilled can be multiplied to reach out to many more in need.

2017-02-18 14:39:51 UTC
Melissa Edwards

This organization is greatly needed! There are so many people that are doomed from the get go because of their home environments. Life Quilt can be that miracle piece in some persons life that is instrumental in helping them succeed in life. Material things aren't everything but when people have nothing, they have no drive. It is amazing to see what an impact a new material can have on a persons perspective on life. This isn't just an organization. This is people that truly care! The ED doesn't just talk about helping people. She actually does it! She has done so in mine and my family's life as well. She stepped in when we were in great need and it has changed our lives. It gave us the desire to work harder and dream bigger! It has made a huge difference in our lives. I would love for this to happen in so many more peoples lives. Please help spread the word that there is hope!

2017-02-18 14:52:40 UTC
Brian Edwards

As a person who has been on the receiving end of charities in the past I can't begin to stress how important Life Quilt is to the community. Years ago my wife and I fell on some pretty hard times. Kim Holmes and her family showed their true colors. Taking in our boys until we were back on our feet. Then they continued to help
us in ways that are unheard of these days. They made sure we had all the opportunities to succeed and become productive members of society and good parents. On our journey there have been many obstacles. Kim and her family have been there every step of the way. Without people like Kim Holmes with a vision to help the less fortunate I'm not sure where the world would be. I believe a better website would enable Life Quilt to reach out further. Helping families with the resources they need to navigate threw difficult times.

2017-02-21 12:43:35 UTC

When I think of Life Quilt, I think of being wrapped in love. That is what Kim and her organization do for kids and families who need help meeting their basic needs.

A friend of mine was leading a summer reading program for kids and their parents, she wanted to do something special for them and I mentioned it to Kim in passing. Kim asked about the number of kids and their ages and said she would have something for me within a day. The next day, we met after work and she had a car full of stuffed back packs. The kids would not only have their own backpack, but they were full of supplies and workbooks. I delivered them to my friend who was able to surprise the kids and their parents with graduation gifts. Later that year, Kim offered to provide coats, hats, and mittens to any of the kids who needed them (and they did). The children had a great start to the school year and as the cold Chicago weather set in, the kids were wrapped in warmth thanks to Life Quilt.

Kim and her organization are much needed because they understand it's hard to succeed in school and life when you are struggling to get access to basic necessities. There is so much to be done and a new website is a great next step!

Our Mission

Our mission is to break the barriers to educational success by providing students' basic needs.