Heads Up Penny Foundation is the brainchild of a brainy child; a compassionate twelve year-old named Thaddeus Bryant. Thaddeus (also known as Tad) has been helping those in need since about the age of five.
Thaddeus made a dramatic debut into the world which necessitated years of intensive OT and PT. His sweet nature made him a favorite playmate of other children in therapy with much bigger uphill battles. Through his own hard work and grit – and through working one-on-one with other kids – his silver lining was realizing that everyone has a challenge at some point in their lives. He created a strong work ethic for himself, made a habit of using his innate sensitivity and kindness, and developed a desire to help others.
All things physical being difficult for him, at a very young age he was more cerebral than active. Thaddeus spent the first nine years of his life in New York City where there were many opportunities to find coins on the sidewalks and streets. Every outing yielded money and other treasures for Tad. His mom soon worried that he would think money literally fell from the sky, so she taught him to divide his findings (and later his earnings) into categories: saving, spending, kids-in-need, the environment, and his favorite politicians.
When Mom had to work in her home office, she often gave Tad the task of shredding the junk mail. Thaddeus’ insatiable curiosity had him questioning, “what’s this mommy?” when he saw a request for funds from the Smile Train with pictures of kids that needed cleft palate surgery. He had a bake sale which raised enough money to buy two children new smiles. The next piece of mail to inspire him was from the Bowery Mission’s request to feed homeless men at Christmas. This time Tad was not content to, “send off the money and never meet the people.” This time he wanted to “shake their hands, taste their food, see where they live.” His second bake sale raised enough money to feed 210 men at Christmas. At the Bowery Mission he handed out trays, shook hands, ate the food, and participated in prayer. This inspired him to start his own foundation.
Tad’s Dad imparted his knowledge and love of currencies. They both believe that coins found heads up are the luckiest of coins. In fact, Tad wrote a song about a “heads-up penny night.” This song was the inspiration for the name of a foundation he dreamed of creating. The Heads Up Penny Foundation changes children’s luck, one penny at a time.
Tad’s dream was realized while on safety patrol in his school neighborhood with Mom and another 2nd grade Mom, Pam Landman. Pam asked Tad what he liked to do and he spent a long time talking about his love of helping others and dream of opening his own foundation. She told him that if he could keep her business card, call and arrange a meeting, she would help him open his foundation. Pam, with colleagues Carrie Slaton and David Mills, have enabled Tad to create a resource to help children and their families that will grow as he does.