BROWARD COUNTY AND CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE PROCLAIM APRIL 14 ‘JEN KLAASSENS APPRECIATION DAY’
Director of Philanthropic Programs
for The Wasie Foundation Honored by Her Peers
at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce
FORT LAUDERDALE – Jen Klaassens, director of philanthropic programs for The Wasie Foundation,had no idea when she woke up this morning that this would be her day. Literally.
In a surprise orchestrated by Gregg Sjoquist, CEO of The Wasie Foundation, both Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale officially proclaimed April 14, 2010 as “Jen Klaassens Appreciation Day.”
Klaassens was presented with both proclamations during the monthly Non-Profit Committee meeting at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Sonia Perez, founder/executive director, of Angel’s Pediatric Heart House, read the Broward County proclamation to a visibly moved Klaassens.
“For the first time in a long time, I am speechless,” Klaassens said to a room of 80 members of the committee. “This is just sinking in; it’s amazing.”
It was an appropriate venue for Klaassens to receive the award, as the Non-Profit Committee is an entity she created.
“Jen’s energy, enthusiasm and intelligence shine through like a beacon, and that light shines on the community,” said Sjoquist, who runs the independent philanthropic organization that provides grants and support to Broward County non-profits focused on healthcare, children’s medical problems and education. “She works tirelessly to help others in the community; this day is to let her know that her work is greatly appreciated.”
Klaassens has become an impact player in the South Florida non-profit community in the past two years.
In addition to supporting key areas of focus, Klaassens is on a mission to change the way non-profits do business by empowering them with the tools they need to grow their organizations.
She also leads by example. For the past two years, Klaassens has been a key player in the success of the AT&T Jeb Bush Florida Classic, which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She has led the event’s marketing and public relations efforts helping make the 2009 Havana Nights Beach Bash a record-breaking smash.
Her work was recognized nationally, as she was named to the national Volunteer Leadership Committeeby the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Nominations were submitted by more than 100 regional chapters across the United States, and Klaassens was one of only 40 to be selected.
“Jen was chosen for this honor because of her extraordinary commitment to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and her achievements, particularly in the area of fundraising,” said Christina Landshut, executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, South Florida Office. “Jen works tirelessly for so many local non-profits, she deserves this national recognition.”
In addition to helping fund charitable programs for organizations, including, Jessica June Children's Cancer Foundation, The Starlight Foundation, ARC Broward, Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Broward Housing Solutions, Deliver The Dream and the Epilepsy Foundation, Klaassens also provides opportunities for non-profit executives to attend conferences on social media, fundraising and leadership.
Another big accomplishment during the past year has been Klaassens’ effort within the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce to build mutually beneficial relationships between for-profit companies and the more than 80 non-profit members.
The Wasie Foundation has provided trustee-level memberships to 15 charities and has created a Non-Profit Center at the Chamber, a private room featuring comfortable seating for meetings, computers, Webinar opportunities, and free access to www.foundationcenter.org, an on-line foundation directory.
Klaassens amazingly also finds time to be President of Neighbors 4 Neighbors.
She also sits on the board of Angel's Pediatric Heart House, and was honored as one of the "Top 100 Women" of Broward County in 2009.
“Jen is really an amazing person who passionately helps charitable organizations help themselves,” said Sonia Perez of Angel’s Pediatric Heart House. “She is a person who genuinely wants to help make her community a better place to live. We adore and respect her.”