Art for Charlie Foundation


What we do

The missions of the Foundation are to promote the availability of pediatric palliative care,
to help pediatric patients in need, and to support bereaved parents.

Pediatric Palliative Care          Bereavement Support         Grants         Memories through Art

Pediatric Palliative Care

HospiceThe special considerations of palliative and hospice care for dying children are unique.  The need for such care is not rare. In the US alone more than 50,000 children become terminally ill every year, whether from disease or congenital condition.

Yet many hospitals lack the specially trained staff that are needed, and this is a gap that the Foundation seeks to fill.


Donation to SparrowIn 2013 the Foundation made a grant of $20,000 to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing to facilitate their pediatric hospice program. This funded a pilot program which we hope will eventually be the precursor to a full pediatric hospice facility.

Hospice of MichiganThe Foundation gave $10,000 to Hospice of Michigan's Pediatric Early Care program to start a "Quality of Life" fund for east Michigan, an area that, in addition to East Lansing, includes the population centers of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Port Huron and Saginaw.  Their Pediatric Early Care program fills the gaps of many hospital based programs and provides much needed home care as well as support for bereaved families. The fund, designed to help families in need, matches a similar fund already established in the west of the state.

Bereavement Support
retreatThe Foundation recognizes that loss of a child can have a profound consequence, changing the dynamics of family life, and that grief is not finite or "curable" but an ongoing condition. We recognize the economic consequences of a diagnosis of a life limiting condition and that this can result in a downward spiral for the family following the child's death. We try to help by organizing support groups, encouraging the formation of such groups, providing individual grants in cases of financial need, and using art to preserve memories.

Support Groups
Locally our workshop/lectures provide an opportunity for parents who have lost children to meet others informally, listen to talks, and share thoughts and experiences. These are intended both as a supplement to conventional bereavement support groups and also as an alternative for those who do not want the social commitment of a more formal group. We present these workshops through a coalition of local child-focused charities. For more information, see our page on Grief.

Individual Grants:
As funds permit, the Foundation awards grants to individual families with needs that fall outside hospice programs. Often this is to fund a memorial or provide for some special need the family cannot afford. Sometimes an individual grant will help to mitigate specific hardship, sometimes we can help to preserve cherished memories, and sometimes the answer is to send the family away on a therapeutic retreat or even a simple vacation escape.
Families seeking individual grants should download our Application Form to submit online or by mail.

April           Meghan    Bereavement Support             Mykia

Preserving Memories:
Children's pictures are often memories to be preserved. Sometimes they have a story to them, and publishing the picture and story helps to spread the message about the need for hospice care.
We select children's pictures that can be printed on canvas frame for exhibition, sending a duplicate to the family. The service provides a memory for the family but more importantly enables the moving and inspiring stories of children with limiting illness to be told to the world
 It may be a drawing on a scrap of paper or a crayoned picture on a placemat, but each is the unique expression of a young individual, an insight into a child's view of reality. For parents, a child's pictures are often memories to treasure.
Children with life limiting illness can demonstrate in art feelings they might never be able to express in words. Publishing the pictures and their stories can bring comfort to their families. To request to have a favorite picture published on canvas or board with your child's story, please email memories@artforcharlie.org

Pirate5-year old Charlie
Charlie was diagnosed with the brain stem tumor DIPG shortly before his third birthday. Undaunted, he drew pictures of pirates, dinosaurs and zombies with gusto and unquenchable humor.

He drew this self-portrait of himself as a pirate a few months before his death

And pictures can be naughty too!

UnicornCharlie drew this picture only days before he died on December 5, 2013. He had been fighting with his sister Esther over a toy plastic unicorn.

Later that day, he drew the pooping unicorn. He told his Mom that it was for his sister's birthday which was some months later in the following year. He explained that it would make her laugh.

And Esther did laugh later -- through her tears.