James W. Parker Middle School student Jacob Haugh was named Outstanding Youth Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Western PA Chapter. He will be honored at National Philanthropy Day in Pittsburgh on November 15, 2017.
“I didn’t really know how to feel when I first heard about it. I was very happy and happy excited, and I still am happy,” Haugh said.
The Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy of the Year honors a young person or group of young people who have demonstrated exceptional generosity in support of a charitable cause or causes, demonstrated exceptional initiative and leadership in recruiting, coordinating and motivating volunteers to raise funds for a charitable cause or causes and encouraged other youth to make charitable gifts and volunteer their personal time to philanthropic causes.
The sixth grader is closing in on $25,000 that he has raised over three seasons to benefit Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare, complex genetic disorder. The disease affects an estimated 1 in 10,000 to 30,000 people, including the daughter of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Haugh’s initiatives have made him one of the largest individual donors to the program and were featured in a Root Sports Pittsburgh documentary-like-story.
“Every time that I have personally congratulated and thanked him for his amazing work, Jacob shrugs and says, ‘I’m just trying to help others.’ Every community should be so lucky to have a young man like Jacob working on their behalf to make a difference,” said the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh Development Director Emily Peters, who nominated Jacob for this award. “I can’t think of a more deserving person to receive Western Pennsylvania Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2017 National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award.”
Despite his significant efforts so far, Haugh still continues to raise money. This week is the last week for Haugh’s “Wins for Kids Wiffle Ball World Series”, pitting James W. Parker Middle School fifth and sixth grade homerooms against each other to raise funds. The winning homeroom will earn a Wiffle Ball game between teachers. Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle sent a video specifically thanking James W. Parker Middle School for their efforts. Haugh’s homeroom represents all of the sixth grade.
“I enjoy raising money because it gives me something to learn about and I feel like this is the right thing to do because it helps a lot of kids out,” Haugh said. “I am going to make a big speech and put a lot of my money into sixth grade so they can win this week.”
The fundraising is channeled through Wins for Kids, which supports Pittsburgh Pirates Charities and the Center for Prader-Willi Syndrome at the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. The Pirates are Jacob Haugh’s favorite team.
Since the 2011 season, generous fans have helped raise nearly $365,000 to improve the lives of children and adults in the Pittsburgh community.
Donations can be made online. In order to count towards Jacob’s goal, please make your donation “In Honor of Jacob.”