Life is busy for Renee Appelle ’03, who works in New York City as a Senior Account Executive at Sugar Inc., a women’s lifestyle site. In addition to her successful career, she and her friends, all of whom live and work in the greater New York City area, came together to form City Chicks 4 Charity (CC4C), a non-profit organization built for young, busy professionals looking to give back to the community.
CC4C provides other young metropolitans a friendly and fun environment to engage with a unique variety of charitable endeavors. “We aim to create four to five service and five to six social fundraisers a year,” she explained. “For us, its better to do smaller events, more frequently, as we want to keep charity at the forefront of people’s thinking.”
Appelle and her friends formed CC4C because they wanted to volunteer, but were challenged finding a balance with work – 12-hour workdays are not uncommon – and their social lives. With these constraints they often found it difficult to find credible organizations that allowed people to volunteer on an intermittent basis.
One evening in 2008, Appelle and eight of her friends met at her apartment and talked about creating an organization that would cater to their desire to give back with consideration for their hectic lives. “We had enough established connections and we had a passion and a vision,” Appelle said. “So why not start an organization of our own?”
The Senior Board consists of Appelle, the President and Founder; Kristana Tchir, Director of Internal Communication; Diana Blancone, Director of Social Media; Kristen Hulmes, the Web & Graphics Designer; and Margot Wilensky, the Legal Advisor. CC4C also has a Junior Board, which includes Randi Windt, Katherine Griffith, and Marisa Kaye. Finally, CC4C has Featured Group Members, which consist of Fairfield Alumnae Alicia Reinertsen ’03 and Adrienne Torman ’03.
Over 500 active members volunteer through CC4C, which has no membership fees. Organizations with which they have partnered including KEEN, NYACC, and local soup kitchens. They have raised funds for other organizations including Dress For Success, Life to Love, and the Khushi Project.
Appelle said CC4C hopes to, “Inspire people to get more involved and consider charity and philanthropy as a routine part of life.” One of the reasons Appelle was so passionate about this venture was her experience as a communication major at Fairfield. “When I started my studies at Fairfield I thought that communication was about business, sports, and media,” she said. But after taking courses with Dr. Robbin Crabtree, now Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who taught communication courses from 2001-2008 before she became Dean, her view changed. “Dr. Crabtree conveyed to us that communication is about how we relate to others and how we care for others.”
Dr. Crabtree said, “The name of this organization reflects a playfulness and zest for life that is so characteristic of Renee and her Fairfield classmates. It doesn’t surprise me that these bright, successful alumni have found a way to combine networking, socializing, and giving back. It’s signature Fairfield.”
The non-profit continues to grow, making it possible for young professionals in the city to become involved with their communities. Appelle concluded, “City Chicks 4 Charity is a way to empower others to make positive changes in multiple areas.”
To learn more about City Chicks 4 Charity, visit their tumblr: http://cc4c.tumblr.com/.
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