While there are many wonderful organizations that focus on autism and research into speech disorders, there are very few that focus on providing grants to children who desperately need consistent speech therapy or equipment.
That's what Orange Effect Foundation (OEF) does. Simply put, OEF makes sure children with speech disorders receive the speech therapy and technology equipment they need...especially when the children's family doesn't have the financial means.
How It Works
Every quarter, OEF receives grant applications from both providers and families. Applications are open to any and all families. The leadership team (see below) researches and reviews each case and delivers financial grants to those who need it most.
OEF, while officially formed in 2014, actually began back in 2001 when the founders’ son was born with autism. Early intervention has led him to be a very heartwarming and independent young man. This family wanted to give back, helping others who have children with autism to receive early intervention too! Early intervention is proven to greatly increase a child’s chance for success.
In 2007, Golf for Autism was started, raising and donating over $100,000 directly to the Easter Seals of Northern Ohio, Autism and Speech Therapy Services over the years. After a few years, the team discovered the growing need for the grants OEF currently provides...and OEF was created to fulfill that need, focusing on helping to deliver consistent speech therapy services with reputable partners.
Special thanks to Dennis Laughlin, one of our original board members, for all his tireless support of the cause until his passing.
Founder, Board Member
Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the leading educational organization for content marketing, which hosts the largest physical content marketing event, Content Marketing World. In 2014, Joe was honored with the John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council.
After selling CMI in 2016, Joe spends his time with his wife and two teenage boys and actively fundraises for the Orange Effect Foundation, which he and his wife founded in 2014 to help children with speech disorders pay for therapy.
Joe loves the color orange and the city of Cleveland, where he’s an active ambassador to the city and a long-time season ticket holder of the Cleveland Browns. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi.
Founder, Executive Director
Pam has been working in the marketing field the past 10 years. She served as Chief Operations Officer for Content Marketing Institute. During that time she found her passion to build and lead amazing teams because of the commitment of the staff at CMI. Pam also helped to create Content Marketing World, an event where over 3500 marketers come together annually to learn and network with the best and brightest.
Her background originates as a social worker, and she is raising a son with autism, so the opportunity to start and direct this nonprofit is a dream come true. She has been a key leader in the OEF Golf for Autism the past 12 years and a champion for many other nonprofit organizations. @pamkozelka
Cathy McPhillips is the Vice President of Marketing for the Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, where she oversees marketing efforts for the brand including in-person events Content Marketing World and Intelligent Content Conference, Content Marketing University, and quarterly magazine Chief Content Officer. Prior to joining CMI, Cathy managed social/community efforts for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, owned her own strategic marketing business focused on media and digital/social marketing for several international restaurant brands, and was media supervisor at Wyse Advertising in Cleveland. Cathy was named to Folio’s 2014 Top Women in Media, and MarTechExec 2018 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech.
Curtis Danburg will be entering his 23rd season with the Cleveland Indians.
In his current role as Senior Director of Communications, he oversees Corporate Communications, Baseball Information, Broadcasting, Digital Media and Digital Assets (historical archiving, photography, digital signage). He began his career with the organization spending three years of interning in the Indians Media Relations Department before becoming a full-time member of Media Relations in 1998. He transitioned in 2005 to lead Corporate Communications and Digital Media, areas still under his direction.
A native of Mentor, Ohio, Curtis graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1996, majoring in Sports Management. He serves as a Board Member for Ohio Guidestone, Baseball Heritage Museum, and Orange Effect Foundation.
Curtis and his wife, Danielle, reside in Fairview Park, Ohio with their two children (Tyler and Hannah).
Kristin Kelley-Erbacher is a commercial property and casualty insurance broker with Aon Risk Solutions in Cleveland, Ohio. Kristin has over 24 years of experience in the insurance industry with a focus in client service and brokerage for mid-size to large property and casualty clients.
Kristin obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Finance from Cleveland State University.
She is a four-year participant of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day, and a Team In Training participant in the Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon, 2010-2011.
Dr. Monica Gordon Pershey, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
Dr. Gordon Pershey is an Associate Professor in the Speech and Hearing Program, Department of Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, and serves as the Speech and Hearing Program Director.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cleveland State University, a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders/Speech-Language Pathology from Montclair State College, and a Doctor of Education degree in Language Arts and Literacy Instruction from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Dr. Gordon Pershey has been a faculty member at Cleveland State University since 1995, during which time she has obtained approximately $100,000 in grants to fund her research and scholarship.
Dr. Gordon Pershey is licensed by the state of Ohio as a speech-language pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is also a licensed school speech-language pathologist and reading teacher.
Craig Coffey is the U.S. Marketing Communications Manager for the Lincoln Electric Company, the world’s leading manufacturer of welding products. He is a 20-plus year veteran of B2B marketing with experience in the publishing, manufacturing, engineering and professional services industries. Prior to joining Lincoln, his resume includes stints at blue chip brands including Parker Hannifin and the Caterpillar dealer network.
Jacqueline Columbro is a speech-language pathologist licensed by the state of Ohio and holds a Clinical Certificate of Competence from the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Ohio University in Hearing Speech and Language Sciences and her Master’s degree from the University of Akron in Speech-Language Pathology.
Jackie has past experience providing speech therapy in various settings including summer day camp for children who have special learning needs, head start, high school and school-aged children and home health care for adults. She has seven plus years of experience and currently works in multiple skilled nursing facilities and a rehabilitation hospital.
Born and raised in Westlake Ohio, Jackie loves anything and everything Cleveland related. She likes to stay active and enjoys Crossfit, kickboxing, and traveling in her free time. You can always find her running 5K races for charitable causes all around the greater Cleveland area.
Tom has spent the past 20 years in various clinical and research settings. He began as an Applied Behavioral Therapist for the Ohio Board of MR/DD, which not only sparked his passion for clinical research, but solidified his strong belief in the effectiveness of early intervention for autism and speech disorders.
Upon graduating from Cleveland State University with his Master’s in Experimental Psychology, he began his next position as a Research Coordinator in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department at Case Western Reserve University. At Case Western, he managed their autism research program as well as clinical trials for many other childhood and adolescent behavioral and psychiatric diagnosis.
After Case Western, Tom spent eight years as a Senior Clinical Research Associate where he oversaw biotechnological and pharmaceutical clinical trials to ensure regulatory mandates and Good Clinical Practices are followed by both clinical research sites and sponsors of clinical research. Tom recently joined a biotechnology company where he aids in the clinical oversight of novel treatment options for rare neurological conditions.
Melissa Meehan is a Speech-Language Pathologist licensed by the state of Ohio and holds a Clinical Certificate of Competence-CCC from the American-Speech-Language-
Melissa earned a Bachelor of Science from Ohio University and a Master of Arts from University of Cincinnati, both in Speech-Language Pathology. Melissa resides in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband, Kevin, where they have raised their three children. She is an active volunteer for many community events and presently chairs the Keep Lakewood Beautiful organization.
Kelly is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who has worked in nonprofit organizations in the Cleveland area for the past ten years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Xavier University, and a Master of Social Administration from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
Kelly is a part-time therapist for children and adolescents at Bellefaire JCB. She spends the rest of her time trying to keep up with her four young children, one of whom has benefited greatly from the generosity of the Orange Effect Foundation. She is excited to work towards providing more children with the same opportunities for speech services that her daughter had.
Maureen Stanton is a former congressional liaison with a background in nonprofit communications. Prior to joining the Orange Effect Foundation she worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Council on Foundations. Maureen has a Master of Public Administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and Bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University.
Maureen and her husband live in Cleveland with their three children.
Krissy Leskovec is the program manager of the Content Marketing Awards for the Content Marketing Institute. She oversees the recruitment, application and selection process for the international awards program along with planning and executing all award-related activities at Content Marketing World.
With a background in philanthropy, she worked several years as a nonprofit advocate, managing small and large scale fundraisers across the United States. Krissy assisted with the launch of The Orange Effect Foundation in 2014, and continues to support the foundation in her role as Program Assistant.
Michael Balzano has been a B2B Media Sales Manager since 1997, representing International Media providers BNP Media, Penton Media, Advanstar Communications, and others utilizing e-media, content marketing strategies, and conference and expo sales management in multiple industries.
He also has created, managed, or helped fundraise for more than 50 charity and/or golf events, benefiting the American Cancer Society, National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), and many other nonprofit organizations.
A graduate of Kent State University, Mike and his wife Darlene currently split their time between his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and Naples, Florida.