GIVING NEWSLETTER Fall/Winter 2023/2024

Our Foundation included some new charities in our giving this year. The following are highlights of news and events from organizations both recently selected and those receiving sustained support.

Adaptive Sports Program New Mexico Logo




A group of skiers in the snow
A group of skiers prepare for a day on the mountain with Adaptive Sports Program New Mexico


A newly approved grantee by the Foundation, the Adaptive Sports Program of New Mexico’s (ASPNM) mission is to enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities through recreation, opening up many life-enriching activities to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate. We are pleased to be supporting them. This winter, ASPNM found their registration for adaptive ski and snowboard athletes maxed out, though there were able to provide some private lessons and shorter programs for the avid and growing community.


When spring and summer come, ASPNM will be offering many multi-week, single-day, and overnight events. Some of the activities include:

Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, and Wake surfing:  ASPNM has the adaptive equipment for these activities and can open these to nearly any level of disability. ASPNM uses the many lakes around the state for these water sports.

Sailing, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding:  New Mexico’s lakes provide a wonderful resource for adaptive kayaking and paddleboard adventures.

River Rafting:  ASPNM provides adaptive rafting adventures on the Rio Grande.

Rock Climbing, Golf, Fishing, Yoga…and more:  Adaptive Sports has programs for these, too!



rock climbers on an indoor wall
A group of climbers make it with support from the Adaptive Sports Program New Mexico

Cancer Foundation for New Mexico Logo


Helping to save lives by removing barriers and providing needed assistance to Northern New Mexicans with cancer seeking medical treatment in Santa Fe. The Jack Kagan Foundation is pleased to support them with a grant this year. The following are just a few of the people who have received their services:


David is a musician from Taos Pueblo who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January 2019.

“I am so blessed to have undergone my life saving treatment at the Regional Cancer Center. Everyone —and I mean everyone— at the institute has made my experience there so wonderful. It made me hopeful and feel seriously cared about. The staff and volunteers across the board are beautiful. What wonderful and positive attitudes. To me, this is one of the main reasons that I went from a diagnosis in January of stage 4 metastatic cancer to a full recovery of just a couple of tiny dots as of mid-June. I feel totally blessed to be treated there and have so much gratitude for you people.”









Blueflower is a member of the Kewa (Santo Domingo) Pueblo who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was determined to fight the disease with every tool available to her: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

“I couldn’t let everyone down,” she says, especially her supportive husband and four wonderful children, mother, and extended family, all of whom were with her every step of the way.

In addition to being unable to work during treatment, Blueflower had to travel from Ohkay Owingeh to Santa Fe, a distance over 30 miles. Sometimes she would get to treatment without enough gas to get home.

She said, “The mileage reimbursement and grocery cards were critical, and the Foundation provided help so quickly.”






Joel K. is a carpenter from Pojoaque. In May of 2014, he was diagnosed with throat cancer which required seven weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.

Photo of Joel

Fear of financial insecurity was incredibly stressful, as I wasn’t able to work during treatment. The Cancer Foundation really helped relieve that fear. I have been able to go through treatment stress-free and was able to focus on treatment and recovery. Thank you to all of you who support the Cancer Foundation. It made a big difference to me.”








Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating Logo



CRAB was recently featured in Power and Motor Yacht magazine:


Magazine Article


(Double Click to Enlarge)



CRAB Introduces New Wellness Programming

If you have ever experienced or volunteered at a CRAB sailing event, you know the power of CRAB’s therapeutic sailing programs. Now, CRAB has developed a wellness program that will be hosted in the Lawrence B. Taishoff building’s Don Backe Learning Center. The wellness programs offer guests therapeutic services of the same first-rate quality for which CRAB has become known.

CRAB has teamed up with other prominent adaptive therapy organizations in the community to provide this expanded service. This initiative is aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle for both the minds and bodies of CRAB guests.

people around a table

The inaugural program was held on Thursday, January 18th.  CRAB partnered with CJ Shiloh, Founder of Annapolis Music Therapy and Co-Founder of The Musical Autist. CJ brings extensive experience to the wellness program gained from teaching classes at Maryland Hall. In discussing the program, CJ said, “We provide goal-oriented and relationship-based music therapy services across the lifespan and in many different community settings.  You’ll find us in hospital settings, public and nonpublic school systems, memory care units, or seeing private clients at our main office on Riva Road. People know intrinsically the power of music, but when that power is harnessed through evidence-based practice, beautiful and therapeutic growth can occur!”

The professional field of music therapy is an allied health profession and requires a Maryland state license to practice. CJ will offer adaptive music classes for CRAB guests in the coming months. If you are interested in participating in a future program, please get in touch with Shannon Rohrer, CRAB Manager of Programs, for more information about CRAB’s wellness programs or to register:







Our Foundation is happy to add Dec My Room to this year’s grantees.


Woman delivering a grant
Lindy Gellenbeck, Jack Kagan Foundation Vice President, delivers a grant to Dec My Room


Dec My Room’s vision is to create personalized healing places for long term pediatric and young adult patients.

They enhance the lives of children who are admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time, three weeks or longer. Volunteers personalize the hospital room upon their arrival with items that complement the special likes and interests of the individual patient. These items are for the patient to enjoy during their stay and take home when they leave. Dec My Room is a unique and innovative charitable program whose efforts help improve the attitudes of patients and their healing process.

Jonathon’s Story

When I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, it was one of the worst days of my life, but being told that in order to save my life I would have to stay in the hospital for most of nine months was even more devastating. Staring at the same four walls day in and day out, especially as a teenager, can get quite depressing.

I had been in the hospital a few months having intense chemotherapy and feeling too nauseated to even go in the hallways when a few people from “Dec My Room” showed up with all kinds of neat stuff for my room. I didn’t even know who they were or where they came from. But they came in and changed my dull hospital room into MY room. I suddenly felt like I was at home! I’m a big hunter and fisherman and they brought me everything from a camouflage comforter and sheets to a big ‘ol fish pillow that I could wrap around when I felt so sick. I didn’t feel like I was in solitary confinement anymore. I had my own things and my decorations to feel like a teenager again.

Once I was discharged in April after my last stay of 102 days in the hospital, I came home and decorated my room at home with the stuff from “Dec My Room”. That’s how much the things they gave me mean to me. When you are in the hospital with cancer, you lose all sense of humility and dignity because you spend your days being poked and prodded and your life feels as though it is no longer your own. Having these things to call my own and sheets to lay on that weren’t hospital white and scratchy helped me through one of the darkest times in my life. I will never forget this organization!

Coco’s Story

Coco was admitted for a prolonged hospital stay because she required pain management. Coco did not have the appetite to eat. Her parents were worried because she was refusing food and getting very weak. The hospital staff was trying to find something to lift her spirits. They called Dec My Room and requested a ” dec’ing” for Coco. They told us that Coco loves Hollywood. A Dec My Room team created a Hollywood room just for her. When the volunteers arrived Coco sat up in her bed and began to smile. That afternoon, Coco ate some Jell-O. Coco’s mom said that Dec made Coco feel like the world cares about her!






                                                           Rooms decorated for children                                                                                       Rooms decorated for children




A new project is underway, with continued support from JKF:




By Lake County Partners, Date: February 1, 2024

Imagine escaping your wheelchair and standing upright. Diveheart, a non-profit organization based in Downers Grove, Illinois, has been helping individuals with disabilities including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, chronic pain and more, do exactly that since 2001.

Diveheart provides unique adaptive scuba and scuba therapy programs that allow individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities to expand their mobility through the experience of being underwater in zero gravity.

Diveheart’s programs have benefitted children, veterans, and countless others and helped to revolutionize water rehabilitation. Now, the charity that introduced and expanded adaptive scuba around the world is building the world’s deepest warm water therapy pool – and with the help of Lake County Partners, the organization has chosen a site in Lake County, Illinois, for the facility because the location will benefit from the area’s immense life science and healthcare talent. Learn more about the proposed deep pool in this new video.

After completing a preliminary facility design, securing the second of two patents on the deep pool design, and finalizing a capital raise feasibility assessment, Diveheart recently revealed the proposed pool’s cutting-edge design and kicked off a major fundraising campaign.


Interior and Exterior of large building with indoor pool.
Artist’s rendering of the Diveheart Research and Education Facility (Deep Pool Project) once complete.


There are many great types of therapy, but in scuba diving we have the franchise on zero gravity,” said Diveheart Executive Director Tinamarie Hernandez. “It’s thrilling to help get someone out of their wheelchair and standing up underwater for the first time since their injury, or maybe for the first time in their lives,” she added.

Diveheart’s proposed deep pool will provide a way to scale up and help more people enjoy the physical health benefits of underwater zero gravity in a confined and safe warm water environment. The pool will be a worldwide destination for research, rehabilitation, education, and training, and it will provide vocational opportunities as well. The 130 ft. depth of the pool is important because it allows Diveheart to replicate the benefits of deep open water diving without the unknowns of weather, water movement, and other factors that limit opportunities for research and rehabilitation.

Currently, the world’s deepest recreational dive pool, at 200 feet, is located in Dubai, but no existing deep pool anywhere in the world is functional for adaptive scuba and scuba therapy, says Jim Elliott, Diveheart’s founder and president. However, the pool that Diveheart plans to build will meet this important need. The Diveheart team has focused on the medical and therapeutic benefits of scuba therapy since the organization’s founding over 23 years ago, and its experts have conducted international adaptive scuba symposiums and presented to medical groups around the world. In 2023, Diveheart presented to physicians from the Mayo Clinic on the benefits of scuba therapy, and the team will return for an encore presentation at another Mayo Clinic conference this spring.

You Tube video:





The Foundation is pleased to continue its support for the Central Florida Dreamplex, whose mission is to provide opportunity and inclusion for all persons, regardless of ability, for sport, recreation, therapy and employment.

Some of the ongoing and new activities:


Sled hockey athletes had a blast scrimmaging at a recent competition.

ice and sled hockey players
Dreamplex hockey players


Wheelchair Basketball

Dreamplex’s team will compete with other teams associated with the NWBA (National Wheelchair Basketball Association) to bring home the National Championship trophy. View the team page on Facebook:  Orlando Magic Dreamers

These sessions are an opportunity to learn the game of wheelchair basketball, build confidence, meet new friends, have fun, and/or join the team to play competitive basketball.  Equipment is provided; the game is played in a gymnasium on a regulated basketball court and follows the same rules and concepts as typical basketball.

a group of children in wheelchairs with a basketball
Dreamplex Basketball Players




Wheelchair basketball players
Wheelchair basketball players


Track & Field

All ages of ambulatory and wheelchair para athletes are welcome!

disabled chlldren running on a track
Dreamplex athletes compete in Track & Field

Power Soccer

These sessions are an opportunity to learn the game of power soccer, enhance skills, and have fun! Open to all children and adults ages 6 and up who use a power chair. The game is played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court and follows most of the same rules and concepts as typical soccer.

Chile in wheelchair pushes soccer ball
Dreamplex adaptive soccer