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Meet Natalie Hill of HoldYou Foundation in Sherman Oaks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Hill.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My journey to founding HoldYou Foundation started out when I was a teenager, hospitalized with critical health issues that led to a stay in the Oncology unit at CHOP. My experience was frightening and as a teenager, I was fully aware that my health was truly in jeopardy.

Fortunately, my mom was able to be at my bedside throughout my treatment and recovery. While there, I also noticed that many young, sick children spent much of their time alone in their hospital rooms, and I wondered why their parents were not by their side. I made a vow at that time, if I got well, to give back.

Over the ensuing years, I was able to do so in many ways, but when a teenage cousin was tragically hit by a car three years ago, I realized there was a real void in non-profit organizations that provide the type of support many families so desperately need at that time when their child is facing a life-threatening illness or injury. I knew that my cousin had been lucky enough to have a community with the means that ultimately rose up around her to provide her mother with enough financial assistance to pay her bills and remain by her side throughout this medical crisis. But then I wondered, “What happens to the family who doesn’t have that type of support system? What if they don’t have a network of friends who can help to provide assistance to them? How do they act as the type of support system that their child needs?”

So, I decided to found an organization that would lift a family up during such a crisis and give them relief from their financial stress, allowing the parents to remain by their child’s side and focus on the holding and healing of their child when they need it most. I reached out to our local Children’s Hospitals and received a very positive response from social workers, who confirmed the overwhelming need for such assistance. I am grateful at this time that we have helped provide immediate assistance to 75 families in the last 16 months.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am grateful that it’s been a pretty smooth road. We have had a very positive reaction within our own network and have had very successful fundraisers in the last two years, allowing us to provide assistance to 75 families, so far. The challenge with being a start-up non-profit organization is in getting the word out to a broader network and accessing support from larger foundations and corporate entities that will help take it to the next level. At times, it has been hard providing only a portion of the support that you know a family really needs. While the progress has been great, I know that we can do so much more and could partner with a greater amount of hospitals too. In 2016, 76% of the families we supported fell below the federal poverty line during their child’s treatment phase. I know that for the families we were able to support, additional financial assistance could have provided even greater relief.

Also at this time, I’m wearing all the hats at HoldYou Foundation and additional assistance on a daily basis would help us grow greatly.

HoldYou Foundation – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
HoldYou Foundation provides financial assistance to families who have a child suffering from a life-threatening illness or injury, so they can focus on what matters most-holding and healing their child. I am the Founder and President at HoldYou Foundation and I’m focused on being a champion for families whose children are facing medical crisis and providing much needed financial assistance so they can devote time to heal their child. At HoldYou we believe that a child needs a parent by their side to provide much needed love, support and advocacy in their time of greatest need.

During this time, many families face work disruption, increased expenses and decreased income. At least one parent is often forced to quit their jobs or take a dramatic cut in their hours or pay, leaving them facing a financial crisis in addition to their child’s medical crisis. I am most proud that in the last 16 months we have been able to provide critical assistance for 75 families in need at our local partner hospitals.

HoldYou provides support for a family’s basic needs–rent, utilities, gas, and food. What sets HoldYou apart is that we provide this support immediately to families at our partner hospitals and provide for families whose children are facing a wide array of childhood diseases. I am most proud that providing such assistance has kept families from being evicted from their homes, having their power shut off and from being hungry and that in turn, it has given them relief from overwhelming stress they are experiencing,

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
My proudest moment was when received our IRS 501 (c) 3 approval letter, knowing that we were on our way to achieving our mission. One of the first times I was able to help a family. I received an email from a social worker at 4:45 pm on a Friday, stating she was sorry, but hadn’t realized that a family who had 3 children at home, but were at the hospital with their sick child, was in danger of having their power turned off that evening. Within 5 minutes, I paid the bill for them and had the power restored for their family.

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