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December 28th, 2023

2023 – A Year for Breathing

Headshot: JoAnn Bacon
JoAnn Bacon

The year 2023 has allowed me a much-needed breather—a respite of sorts. The last years have been a doozy between a pandemic and followed by the 10th anniversary of Sandy Hook School in December 2022. I have appreciated that the year allowed me to sit with the events of my life and plan for the future of the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation as we enter our 11th year.

The Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation continues to thrive and make connections – Charlotte’s stardust in action.

Our newest initiative, the Good Dogs, Great Listeners StoryWalk(R), has found its feet. After a slow start due to COVID-19, five schools took advantage of our free resources to host their own StoryWalks in 2023! One of those schools, Washington Elementary School in Washington, Michigan, had a special guest – a labradoodle named Milo. Milo received funding to complete his therapy dog training this past February through our Charlotte’s Litter™ program.

Charlotte’s Litter

Speaking of Charlotte’s Litter™, this program accepted nine new therapy dogs into the litter in 2023. These dogs are at work in schools in Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Michigan, and North Carolina.
Charlotte Bacon Veterinary Scholarship

Speaking of North Carolina, down at North Carolina State University, the Charlotte Bacon Veterinary Scholarship was awarded to Isabelle McMullen, who Joel and I had the pleasure of meeting in February at the annual North Carolina State Scholarship dinner. I am honored to be the keynote speaker at the next scholarship dinner in February 2024.

Grief Initiatives

Our partnership wit Ohana Oasis continued to grow in 2023. I traveled to Cannon Beach, Oregon twice this year: once to assist with a leadership/development training for new volunteers called to support grieving parents and once to work behind the scenes (not facilitate) at a week-long grief retreat. I also worked as a chef, feeding the participants healthy food (including a crab boil for 17 people!) throughout the week.

Working in various roles has allowed me to understand the logistics of these week-long retreats better. This was the first time that two retreats were facilitated in tandem: a retreat for couples and a retreat for single mothers all grieving a child.

This new partnership has been so meaningful to Joel and me that it has inspired a new retreat for alumni of the original program. In 2024, the CHB Foundation will be the sole sponsor of this new retreat, which was developed and will be facilitated by me and Joel. This alumni retreat will build upon the takeaways from the original retreat and add new and fresh programming that reflects participants’ individual growth.


We have incredible donors and sponsors. Thanks to the continued pro bono support of Response Marketing, we are excited to announce that our revamped website will launch before the year ends! This is the third time they have designed our website, keeping the CHB Foundation looking fresh and Charlotte centered.

We are also excited by the receipt of a generous 25K grant from The Oak Foundation to be used for the Charlotte’s Litter therapy dog program, which will allow us to fund even more therapy dogs in the years to come.

Lastly, we thank all of you for helping us reach a record year in fundraising!

Below is the lasting impact of Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation, made possible by donors like you, since 2013.

  • Awarded over $100K in Charlotte’s Litter Grants to 50+ schools in 32 states.
  • Donated over 4,000 books to schools and libraries nationwide..
  • Awarded 16 North Carolina School of Veterinary Medicine students with the Charlotte Bacon Education Scholarship which was fully endowed in 2022.
  • Sole sponsors of 10 Good Dogs, Great Listeners StoryWalks organized in 9 communities.
  • Raised $40k in funding for our grief initiatives and partnerships.

Grateful for each of you!

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Purchase your copy of Good Dogs, Great Listeners today!

Headshot: JoAnn Bacon

JoAnn Bacon

JoAnn, along with husband Joel, co-founded the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation to honor the way their little girl lived so boldly. She and Joel also published the children’s books Good Dogs, Great Listeners and The Dogs of Newtown, written by their son and Charlotte’s older brother. JoAnn is committed to de-stigmatizing grief and bereavement, particularly child loss. Her writing has been featured in many national publications including TIME, Modern Loss, and The Mighty.

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