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1871 Gives | Meet Nicole and Tom

As a community that believes in paying it forward, 1871 allocates a cash allotment for each team member to donate to a charity of their choice as a part of their employee benefits. Here on the blog, we'll be highlighting the stories behind our team's giving. This week, meet Nicole Schafer and Tom Alexander.

Nicole Schafer | Wildlife Discovery Center

NS-1.jpgI chose the Wildlife Discovery Center because not only do I adore animals, but I was also lucky enough to intern at this wonderful organization a few years back. The WDC is a living natural history museum that not only provides up close & personal learning encounters with all of the animals, but also provides conservation & research efforts to a multitude of species currently living at the center. WDC offers such diverse educational opportunities and has beautiful space located on Elawa Farms in Lake Forest. It truly is a hidden gem in the Chicagoland area, if I could be there every weekend, I would.

Tom Alexander | LIFE Foundation

TA-2.jpgAll three of my children — my son Ben, who is six, and my twins Lyla and Sam, who are turning three in February — were born because of In Vitro Fertilization. IVF is the single reason my wife Tiffany and I were able to have children, and it is a technology and a process for which we are both forever grateful. It is also a very daunting, complex, and intense process for all involved — particularly so for the woman/mother.

When we did IVF we became imminently familiar with the trials and tribulations that families around the country and world go through relative to this process. There are a number of message boards and websites devoted to IVF — people (mostly women going through the process) answering questions and providing support, encouragement, and a shoulder to cry on. We called them “The Sisters,” lovingly — as in, “don’t mess with The Sisters, they are here to look out for each other.”

One of the things we realized very clearly in going through the process was that money was a huge factor in IVF. Many people can’t afford the process, or don’t have the resources to go through multiple cycles, or live in states where insurance doesn’t cover IVF (Illinois is actually one of a few states that is really conducive to IVF, which is one reason why you see so many twins in Chicago). Money is a huge deal when it comes to fertility, and as a result, people are making decisions based on money — how many cycles they should go through, if they should put in multiple eggs, if they should use medicine that may be expired, if they can afford to try and have a baby at all. I believe, as do many, that money should have nothing to do with whether or not your family can have children.

The LIFE Foundation is an organization devoted to helping solve this issue. The LIFE Foundation works with couples to ease the financial (and other) burdens of the fertility and family building process. It is a great organization, run by some of the same people who helped our family come to fruition, and has supported hundreds of people who are looking to build families of their own. I considered it a personal honor to be able to support the LIFE Foundation with my annual 1871 Gives contribution, and more importantly, I think it is a great organization that everyone should consider supporting.

One more thing: If you know of a woman or a man or a family that is trying to get pregnant, through IVF or otherwise, give them a hug and try and help them think, if only for a moment, of the day in the not-so-distant future when they will have a baby running around their house and their family will be complete. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it.


Interested in learning more about the 1871 team? Check out our Instagram Stories to hear them share their thoughts on giving. 

Topics: Community

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