Monday January 26, 2015
By Becca Bona
Like most, Jake Goheen considers himself to be a creature of habit. The Corey and Jay Show (now The Corey and Patrick Show) was his radio go-to in the morning right before, and during the era of 9/11. “This was 2001, and the internet came slow,” he remembers, “so on that morning I was listening to the show, that’s how I found out.”
A year passed and Goheen was still listening when the hosts put out a call to attorney listeners to help with a project centered around honoring 9/11. He says, laughing, “We lawyers aren’t radio call-in types.” The idea was already there: to create a scholarship for children of fallen first-responders.
Forty minutes passed, and once Goheen realized no one had called, he did. “That’s the first time I’ve called in to a radio show, and the only time I have since,” he says. “This dramatic event in my life compelled me to call and be a part of the fund.”
Since then a nonprofit organization called The September Fund was created as an official Federal Charity nonprofit that awards scholarships to children of first-responder parents. That includes keeping in code with the special parameters that go into building a scholarship for educational purposes, building a board of directors, fundraising, and getting the word out to the public. “It’s been a long ride, not bumpy at all, but we’ve learned a lot and it’s been fun and rewarding,” Goheen says.
The Fund put a board together with the goal in mind to represent all sectors, including an educator, a firefighter, a policeman, and a lawyer. The board brought people together that might have been “just a listener” like Goheen, before its creation.
The board currently includes: Corey Deitz, on-air talent at 100.3 and author; Patrick Beam, on-air talent at 100.3 and stand-up comedian; Matt Cruz, on-air talent at 100.3 and program director; Jake Goheen, attorney at law, Bowen School of Law Alum; John Beck, law enforcement, salsa entrepreneur; and Laura Beck, UALR education department, salsa entrepreneur.
In the past others have given countless hours of their time and dontated their skills and money. Matt Brumley, an EMT and Director of MEDTRAN Ambulance Service of Saline Memorial Hospital, helped spread the word in the early years. John Beck donated salsa sales, and two CPA’s, Michael Glenn and Michael Storey, have donated their time.
“In the early days the salsa sales and barbecue sauce generated more money than everything else,” Goheen adds. This is still a staple of the Fund.
The Fund has also run the gamut on fundraisers, including shows at Clear Channel with an amount of proceeds going to the scholarship, an annual chili event and more. “We really built a lot of comradery at these events,” he recalls, between the board members and with the greater community. “We really learned what works and what doesn’t in the fundraising world,” he says.
Unfortunately as time passes, people are less passionate about a cause. “Over time, people’s passion for the fund has waned, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we wanted to take a new direction,” explains Goheen.
The group looked around for a way to ‘re-invent’ the fund, and settled on an educational institution: UALR, specifically the College of Social Sciences and Communication.
The idea is to endow the fund, ensuring that it will never fizzle out, and Goheen along with the rest of the board is excited. “We look forward to a seamless transition in working with UALR.”
Goheen says he, and everyone involved have become “emotionally attached to the fund.” For him, 9/11 was unlike anything that has ever happened in his life, and on that fateful day when he called in, he knew he could donate his time.
Transitioning the scholarship over to UALR is not a foreign idea to him, as he graduated from Bowen School of Law in 1999. He holds a high affinity for the school saying, “The law school is great. You get out what you put in, and it’s made for full-time job-holders, like me that went at night.”
For more information visit: www.theseptemberfund.org and https://ualr.edu/cssc/.