HISTORY OF OUR FOUNDATION: When friends Rob Belanger and Chris Federico each lost a parent to cancer (Mark Belanger, Baltimore Orioles shortstop, and Susannah Federico, both pictured below), they honored them by formulating the Belanger-Federico Foundation in 2004 to raise money through a golf tournament. After two successful celebrity golf tournaments, Rob and Chris wanted to shift the focus of the Foundation away from research and onto something more tangible. Little did they know how good their timing was.
In 2006, Cool Kids’ Executive Director Sharon Perfetti had just finished serving as the general coordinator of Annie’s Playground in Fallston, Maryland; she was seeking an opportunity to involve herself with a nonprofit organization that served children. Simultaneously, world champion figure skater Kimmie Meissner had lost two friends to cancer and was searching for a children’s charity to support.
Through mutual friends, Rob and Chris met Sharon and Kimmie and together they conceived Cool Kids Campaign to focus on serving children and their families battling cancer. Some wondered where the idea of assisting kids with cancer would lead us and how we would stand apart from similar organizations. Looking back has allowed us to know one thing for sure – Cool Kids Campaign has significantly and directly impacted hundreds of children and their families across the country as they utilize our 100% free programs.
Meet Our Founders
Chairman and Co-Founder
Rob’s childhood was split between Massachusetts and Baltimore during the years his father, Mark Belanger, played shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles. After Mark’s death from lung cancer in 1998, Rob co-founded the Belanger-Federico Foundation/Cool Kids Campaign to honor his dad and to help others whose lives are affected by cancer. Rob played baseball for Towson University in Maryland, where he graduated in 1992 with a Sports Management degree. He and wife, Natasha, have two daughters; the Belangers are residents of Towson, MD.
Chris was born and raised in Baltimore and graduated from Loyola-Blakefield High School and Villa Julie College. His passion to co-found this Foundation derived from the loss of his mother, Susannah Federico, to Leukemia in 1995. Chris understands how blessed he is to be surrounded with an outstanding board, wonderful staff and the best ‘cool kids’ and their families. He feels privileged to be in a position to help families, knowing that Cool Kids Campaign is making a positive difference in their lives. Chris has three kids with his wife, Tracy.
Sharon Paul Perfetti
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Sharon developed the idea for Cool Kids Campaign after her interest grew in helping others to cope from the death of her daughter’s friend Annie, killed by a drunk driver. When people kept asking, “What can we do?” to help the family, Sharon spearheaded the construction of a monumental project – Annie’s Playground in Fallston, MD. Sharon wanted to continue to help kids and families with the creation of Cool Kids. She is a graduate of University of Baltimore with a degree in Corporate Communications.
Kimmie is the 2006 World and 2007 National Champion Figure Skater who was drawn to help children cope with cancer after losing two friends to cancer at a young age. Kimmie lives in Maryland and splits her time between college, skate training, and assisting with the development of additional programs for Cool Kids Campaign.