Casey Baynes has been achieving big things from a young age. After battling dyslexia throughout her education, she received her Associate’s Degree prior to her high school graduation and became the youngest recipient of a Master’s Degree from Towson University. Early in her professional career, she felt the need to serve the greater community, and launched the Casey Cares Foundation in 2000 with five Maryland families. Over a decade later, Casey has grown her organization to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of families across six states. The Casey Cares Foundation serves children diagnosed with cancer, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and other life-threatening diseases by giving them and their families small surprises and fun experiences on a regular basis, such as movie tickets, pizza delivery, or a night at Camden Yards.
Name: Casey Baynes
Occupation: Founder and Executive Director of the The Casey Cares Foundation
Twitter Handle: twitter.com/caseycares
Facebook Page: facebook.com/caseycares
What are three words that best describe you? Determined, Friendly, Compassionate
Could you describe your business? The Casey Cares Foundation is a non-profit charity that provides uplifting and ongoing programs with a special touch for critically ill children and their families.
What is your role, where are you based and what do you inspires you most about your work? I run the Foundation and manage the Board of Directors. Casey Cares is based in Baltimore, MD and serves families throughout MD, DC, PA, VA, WV, DE, and NJ. The inspiration for my work is seeing the courage and bravery that these special families face day in and day out.
Was there anything in your past that pointed you in the direction you’ve taken? I realized there was an unmet need for these families. Yes, there were programs that provided them the “once in a lifetime” wish or once a year vacation, but there was no organization that provided something uplifting to look forward to during their painful treatments on a continuous basis.
What experience in your career are you most proud of? I’m most proud of starting and growing the Casey Cares Foundation in a decade when most people were donating to worldwide catastrophes like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or the Great Tsunami.
What advice would you share with those still in school? Follow your passion!
Why is giving back is important to you? Giving back is important to me because it makes me realize that every person has it in their power to make a difference to someone less fortunate.
How has giving back helped you? Giving back has helped fulfill my life and make me realize how lucky I am. My role models are not stars or athletes; they are these families who are fighting for their children’s lives.
How do you incorporate giving back into your life? By my “giving back,” I hope to teach my children how important that principal is.
Which charities are near and dear to you and why? The Casey Cares Foundation is certainly near and dear to me. I love what we do for families almost each and every day and seeing the smiles on their faces when they tell me about their weekend getaway that we provided or tickets to a ball game or being painted as a pirate at our annual pirate party.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? Starting Casey Cares made a huge impact on so many families, but I didn’t realize how much of an impact until our headquarters was destroyed by a fire in 2007. I became discouraged for a day or so when our office and records were all was lost. However, so many of our families who heard about the fire on the news, called me and asked how they could help. Some even held fundraisers on our behalf. I realized then that we must persevere and start all over because the charity meant so much to so many people.
What is the most creative fundraising idea you’ve come across? Glow in the Dark Golf Tournaments
What brands do you wear most often? Anne Taylor
What is your favorite beauty product? Nail polish – love the blues and greens!
How would you describe your home décor? Warm and inviting
What is your secret for hosting a great party? A good wine!
Favorite food: BBQ Salmon
Favorite cocktail: Malibu Bay Breeze
Favorite restaurant: Charleston
If you could have a dinner party for 8, who would you invite living or dead? Oprah Winfrey, Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas, my husband and our three children. Oprah is so philanthropic. Danny Thomas started St. Jude’s Hospital with Marlo following in his footsteps. I feel I can learn so much from the three of them. I would want my children there as well to be inspired to be philanthropic when they grow up.
Favorite vacation spot: On a boat in the water
Do you have any tips for parents? Teach your children the importance of “giving back” and helping those in need.
Favorite TV show: Anything to do with sports
Favorite movie: The Natural, Field of Dreams or League of Their Own
Favorite song: “Dreams” by Van Halen
Favorite book: The Happiness Project
Favorite apps: Fit Bit
iPhone or Android: iPhone
Favorite workout: Road biking
Where do you get your news? TV in the morning and internet throughout the day