TWLOHA, beloved youth culture non-profit, wins $1 million from Chase.

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWOLA) is one of youth culture’s most popular non-profits as it deals with people dealing with depression, cutting, suicide, and addition—aspects that until TWLOHA came into being, were often overlooked within this demographic. On December 12, 2011, presented on a national stage during American Giving Awards on NBC tonight, TWLOHA was awarded a $1 million grant by Chase, which, founder Jamie Tworkowski said, “instantly changes what the next year will look like for us. It will allow us to be more creative than ever before in bringing our message of hope and help to the world. It also allows us to invest in treatment and recovery more than ever before.”

What’s also interesting about this award is that it was a crowdsourced winner as people could vote on who they thought most deserved the award.

TWLOHA on the Vans Warped Tour.

TWLOHA, as we’ve tracked previously over the years, came into youth culture lifestyles with a bang as part of the non-profit festival area on the Vans Warped Tour. Their strong color-block T-shirts and logos, including the “Love Movement” fit naturally with where things were going in the marketplace, while addressing serious issues of depression. Their website traced the story of one girl’s struggles, and the story grew from there, creating an entire movement.

We are excited for TWLOHA and can’t wait to see what they do in the coming year. Here’s more:

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) of Cocoa, Florida was awarded a $1 million grant from Chase at the first-ever American Giving Awards (AGAs) on NBC tonight. The program, hosted by 22-time Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas, featured celebrity tributes to five charities selected through online voting. Stars including, Miley Cyrus, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 50 Cent, and Rodney Atkins celebrated the accomplishments of the charities.

To Write Love on Her Arms is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

“Winning a million dollars on national television, confetti falling down, that’s something I couldn’t even have dreamed up. It was just amazing. It was the biggest moment in our history and the best night of my life,” Said Jamie Tworkowski, Founder of TWLOHA.

“The American Giving Awards was a terrific way to honor outstanding charitable work and to celebrate the spirit of giving that Chase supports in communities around the world,” said Kimberly Davis, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “We look forward to continuing the successful partnership with over 3.3 million Chase Community Giving fans on Facebook.”

The AGAs, presented by Chase, Dick Clark productions and Intersport were the first-ever televised celebrity tribute to community heroes that offered five charities an opportunity to receive grants based on the number of online votes in support of their organization. TWLOHA was among the five finalists competing for an opportunity to share $2 million in Chase grants. From December 1 through December 8, fans of Chase Community Giving (CCG) on Facebook and Chase online customers determined how much each charity would receive by voting for their favorite featured charity online.

Four additional finalists will split another $1 million in grants from Chase as follows:

$500,000 Grant: Let’s Get Ready, Inc. (New York, NY) works to expand college access for motivated, low-income high school students by providing free SAT preparation and college admission counseling.

$250,000 Grant: Matthew Shepard Foundation (Casper, WY) was created in the memory of anti-gay hate crime victim Matthew Shepard to encourage respect for human dignity and difference by raising awareness, opening dialogues, and promoting positive change.

$125,000 Grant: Wish Upon a Hero Foundation, Inc. (Moorestown, NJ) utilizes social media and technology to connect those in need of support, including patients with long-term illnesses, military families, and natural disaster survivors, with people who can fulfill their wishes and truly change their lives.

$125,000 Grant: Move for Hunger, Inc. (Neptune, NJ) works with moving companies across America to pick up the unopened, non-perishable food items from people during the moving process and deliver it to their local food banks.
Golden Globe� Award-winning actor Colin Farrell was honored with the inaugural AGA Leadership Award for his ongoing support of several causes including combating homophobia, championing the Special Olympics, active participation with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and raising awareness of Angelman Syndrome.
“I’d like to thank Chase for this. I’d like to thank them for the opportunity for all the charities that are going to get the chance to shine a light on their more than worthy and noble causes. I commend all the charities that are here tonight,” stated Farrell. “I would like to receive this award on behalf of all the parents with children with Angelmans and all the work that they do, daily.”

Dancing with the Stars winner and U.S. Army veteran J.R. Martinez led a moving tribute to American Veterans and introduced Frank Vazquez, a U.S. Navy veteran and Chase employee who was hired as part of the “100,000 Jobs Mission” to help find jobs for transitioning service members and military veterans. Viewers were also encouraged to assist efforts to help veterans find jobs and to visit the Chase Community Giving Facebook page where they can learn how to help two veterans empowerment and employment charities raise funds via text message.

Contributors can simply text VETS to 50555 to make a donation to Mission Continues and the Student Veterans of America. Chase will match the first $250,000 donated via this text campaign.

Additional moments of the evening included a tribute by Miss USA Alyssa Campanella to young people who give back to their communities. Presentations were also made by Gabrielle Union and Terrence Howard. LeAnn Rimes, Taio Cruz, and Jackie Evancho, each also took the stage to lend their voices to honor the local heroes.

The online voting was supported by the bank’s Chase Community Giving program that leverages the power of social media to “crowdsource” how charitable dollars should be allocated. This program was developed by Chase to complement its charitable giving, which totals over $150 million annually. Chase Community Giving relies on its over 3.3 million fans on Facebook to help decide which local nonprofits should receive grant money from Chase. Since its inception in 2009, Chase Community Giving fans have helped Chase award over $18 million to 500 local charities across the country representing causes such as building schools in Africa, providing food and shelter to the homeless, and supporting the performing arts.