Information about the RI based not-for-profit organization, The Derrick Cazard Foundation

About Us

Our History

The Derrick Cazard Foundation began to formally organize as the Derrick Cazard Memorial Fund in the fall of 2008. The organization evolved as a direct result of our love, memories, and devotion to a vibrant and charismatic young man who tragically lost his life in an accidental drowning on June 30, 2008. This bright and empathetic young man had a special love and place in his heart for children. Especially vulnerable and underprivileged children whom he felt could go much further in life if they had access to more opportunities. This dedication developed early in life when he began babysitting and taking on more of a role as a mentor. In honor of his social concerns and outspoken nature, his friends and loved ones developed this organization in his name.

The manifest mission of this organization is to provide underprivileged/low income families with limited resources, funds for their children to participate in activities that will enhance their development and promote positive community experiences. There is however; a latent mission in our organization. We are an innovative group of people with a majority of highly energetic and creative young adults.

Inclusion of Young Adults as Active Board and Committee Members

A secondary but important goal of the foundation, and especially of the board and committee, is to structure its primary activities - goal setting, fundraising, networking, outreach - in a way that is welcoming to and influenced by young adult board and committee members. We do this for two reasons:

  1. We know from Derrick’s experience that most young adults have few opportunities to learn about non-profit organizations beyond participating in anything more than direct “community service” and fundraising activities. Yet many young adults have strategic thinking, entrepreneurial and computer skills (as well as a deep awareness of the needs faced by the children they so recently were) that can be of great value in building a grounded, growing foundation like ours.
  2. Rewarding career and civic opportunities exist within the Third Sector that are invisible to most young adults. Knowing from a Board of Directors’ level how foundations and non-profit organizations operate may open new doors for our board and committee members and keep the foundation alive and more in touch with the broader civil society that we hope to influence.

Thus far, the Foundation’s Board has pursued this goal by:

  • Intentionally recruiting young board members.
  • As a priority, pursuing outreach and fundraising activities that are designed and lead by younger board and committee members.
  • Having those more experienced board members organically build education about how non-profits and foundations operate into board meetings, so that we all learn together as equal adults.

So far, this aspect of foundation goals seems to be working well. Our development will be evaluated and steps established for improvement as we undergo future transitions.

We are in the process of expanding the scope of our mission to include other underprivileged youth throughout New England.