HISTORY OF THE
COSMOPOLITAN FUND FOR CHILDREN
This year, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the Cosmopolitan Fund for Children (CFC) helping children with diabetes in North and South Dakota. In 1994, the North Central Federation along with support from clubs across Cosmopolitan International (CI) and the Cosmopolitan Diabetes Foundation(CDF) determined to raise money for support of children with diabetes and the fund was incorporated in 1995.
The timeline shows a convergence of events leading up to the creation of the CFC :
- 1988: Cosmopolitan Pediatric Diabetes Center started at USD School of Medicine;
- 1990: Death of Valerie Millar, 15 year old from Freeman, SD, from complications related to diabetes;
- 1991: Federal grant received by USD to launch what came to be called Valerie Millar Diabetes Network;
- 1995: CFC incorporated;
- 1997: initial funds received by CFC and the first year grants were awarded.
John Hughes, Sioux Falls attorney, Sioux Falls Cosmopolitan club president and later Governor of the North Central Federation recalls meeting in 1987 with Dr. Larry Fenton, then Professor and Chair of the School of Medicine’s Pediatric Department to discuss possibilities for a clinic. With the help of the Cosmopolitan Club the Cosmopolitan Pediatric Diabetes Center opened in 1988 and was an affiliate center for the state of South Dakota in a National Institute of Health (NIH) Diabetes Prevention Trial, a nation-wide 5-7 year study related to Type 1 diabetes prevention.
Tragedy then struck in 1990 with the death of a 15 year old girl with diabetes – Valerie Millar. She was the 3rd teen during that year in our state to die from diabetic ketoacidosis. This event motivated a core group (Mark Kummer, MD and Laura Keppen, MD, USD School of Medicine; Mary Lobb-Oyos, RN CDE, McKennan Hosp; and Joyce Kaatz, RN, CDE, then Sioux Valley Hosp) to begin identifying ways to improve diabetes care for children and reach out to small communities.
A federal grant was obtained in 1991 to develop the Valerie Millar Diabetes Network with a goal to reach 20 communities and establish diabetes education programs for children and adults. This team along with other dedicated professionals crossed the state several times each year to provide assistance in the local community, in addition to a main event held where all of the educators could meet each other and discuss concerns.
The Network was supported by federal, state and private monies with a complete cost each year of just under $1 million. The goals of the Network were:
- To develop diabetes education programs within communities to increase diabetes awareness;
- To improve access to care;
- To develop a model for providing diabetes care in a rural setting; and
- To provide ongoing expert support for care of diabetes within a community.
This grant was completed in 1994, but with additional state and industry funding, the formal network meetings continued until 1996. Nonetheless, there was a continuing need for funding to support diabetes programs throughout the Dakotas.
Recognizing that, the Sioux Falls Cosmopolitan Club began work to establish a “fund for children” and to seek the assistance of Cosmopolitan International to develop that fund. The International commitment was to raise $100,000, funded by the Cosmopolitan Diabetes Foundation (CDF) and contributions from individual clubs across CI, for the fund to be used in the North Central Federation. A significant contribution from the Sioux Falls club was expected and forthcoming to fulfill this commitment. Some Cosmopolitan club members were key to the early development of the fund including John Hughes who provided the legal support and Derry Anderson has been the accounting support for the past 25 years. Brenda Fox helped with fundraising and organization.
The Cosmopolitan Fund for Children provides grant support to organizations that directly help children with diabetes. In the early years of the Fund, grants were provided to the Cosmopolitan Pediatric Diabetes Center at the South Dakota Medical School to support the diabetes educator role. Later, grants for the same purpose were directed to Avera and Sanford hospital diabetes clinics.
In recent years, grants have provided scholarships to camp, needed supplies and support for groups addressing the isolation of living with diabetes. Many children may be the only child with diabetes in their school or community. Activities like camp, a weekend family retreat or group meetings allow the children and parents to see how others are surviving with the demands of a 24 hour a day disease. There are no diabetes vacations, but it is easier to do the medical care when others are supportive.
The Cosmopolitan Fund for Children board is responsible for seeing that worthwhile projects are supported and that the fund continues to be available for children. Each year they review grants and meet with people in need of assistance. The Board is composed of interested Cosmopolitan members with representation from each Club in the Federation. Their clubs continue to fundraise in addition to money given out from the Fund itself. As of this anniversary year, the CFC has about $281,000 in assets and over the past 25 years, approximately $165,000 has been donated to projects and we continue to look to the future as the CFC continues to support persons and programs throughout the Dakotas until there is a cure for diabetes.