Julian D. King Gift Foundation
After tragedy struck her family in 2008, Jennifer Hudson created the Julian D. King Gift Foundation along with her sister, Julia, in honor of her nephew (Julia’s son), Julian. The Foundation acts as a catalyst for change in children’s health, education and welfare. Each year, the Foundation produces large-scale giving events in the city of Chicago, which benefit low-income families in the Chicago area who may not normally have access to the resources they need in order to succeed. Jennifer and Julia have focused their efforts in the Chicago community in honor of their mother’s mantra to take care of home first, with future plans to expand to additional high-need cities across the country. The Foundation’s passionate staff, in addition to the personal connection to the mission of the Foundation is a combination that lends itself to continued success.
Every August 14th since 2009, the Foundation celebrates Julian D. King’s birthday with an event called “Hatch Day.” As a child, Julian made invitations for his classmates, family and friends to celebrate his birthday, which he called “Hatch Day.” The August event commemorates not only his birthday, but also his love for education and learning. It is in Julian’s memory that the Foundation is inspired to “hatch” the dreams of school-aged children. It is here that thousands of Chicago residents receive all of the necessary supplies for their upcoming school year. Since its inception, Hatch Day has grown into a major support system for the city of Chicago; it has become one of the largest charitable events in the city.
Similar to Hatch Day, the Foundation also runs an annual Holiday Toy Drive, whereby low-income families in the Chicago area are invited to attend in order to receive gifts for their children that they normally wouldn’t be able to provide. In conjunction with the toy drive, the Foundation holds a Holiday Wish Dinner to celebrate and honor the scholastic achievements of high-achieving and deserving students. Each student is nominated by a non-parent adult (teacher, coach, mentor, etc.) and the winners are selected by the Foundation board. Winning students are granted their ultimate holiday wish and are treated to a private dinner with Jennifer and her family. This dinner acts as a form of encouragement for these children to work hard and focus on school. It also provides as a system of support for these children and their parents as attendees create meaningful relationships with people who care.