The Roots that Anchor Us
Michael & Dameon
In 1992, six-month-old Michael Leeland was diagnosed with leukemia and desperately needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life. With no way to pay for the transplant, Michael’s parents, Jeff and Kristi, didn’t know where to turn.
As a middle school teacher, Jeff taught a class where Dameon, a big-hearted kid, was a student. After hearing of his teacher’s situation, Dameon emptied his bank account, donating his entire savings ($60) to hopefully make some kind of difference for Michael.
A chain reaction of compassion and generosity followed. Students and staff rallied the community to raise over $227,000 in under four weeks, which allowed Michael to receive his life saving transplant.
Four years after Dameon’s selfless gift, Sparrow Clubs USA was born, using a simple, yet powerful service model that ignites compassion and empathy in students wherever it is introduced.
Our History of Growth
Kirkland, WA – 7-month-old Michael Leeland is diagnosed with leukemia…in need of a bone marrow transplant to save his life.
12-year-old Dameon Sharkey empties his savings account and gives all he has ($60) to Jeff Leeland, Dameon’s teacher and baby Michael’s father
Kamiakin Junior High
Inspired by Dameon’s selfless gift, students of Kamiakin Junior High and the surrounding communities raise over $227,000 in less than 4 weeks to help save Michael’s life.
Michael is declared cancer free…his life is saved.
“One Small Sparrow,” the story of Michael’s journey and Dameon’s original act of kindness, written by Jeff Leeland is published.
December 21, 1994
The Sparrow Foundation
The Sparrow Foundation is officially registered as a non-profit charity in the state of Washington.
Very first Sparrow adopted – Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, WA
November 30, 1999
First Sparrow adopted in Central Oregon. Central Oregon Region is officially established.
1996 – 2000
40 Sparrows adopted over the first 5 years as a non-profit organization. This was accomplished without paid staff.
January 1, 2001
First Full-time Employee
Jeff Leeland becomes the Sparrow Clubs USA’s first full-time employee.
November 11, 2001
First Sparrow adopted in Southern Oregon. Southern Oregon Region is officially established.
October 17, 2002
First Sparrow adopted in Portland, Oregon
October 28, 2002
Sparrow Clubs USA adopts its 100th Sparrow!
November 6, 2002
Sparrow Clubs USA
“The Sparrow Foundation” is officially and legally changed to “Sparrow Clubs USA”.
Headquarters in Bend, OR
Sparrow Clubs USA Office Headquarters established in Bend, Oregon.
December 31, 2005
$1 Million Raised
First $1 million raised for kids, by kids
Sparrow Clubs USA Portland Region is officially established.
Sparrow Clubs USA featured on a 2-hour episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Sparrow Clubs USA continues to grow and expand, impacting even more students in Southern Oregon, Central Oregon, and Portland, and launching new clubs in small pockets of Washington and elsewhere.
December 15, 2017
First Sparrow adopted in Arizona
The Sparrow program continues to flourish throughout Oregon and makes progress in more Arizona schools.
Sparrow Virtual Experience
Sparrow Clubs develops the “Sparrow Virtual Experience” to still serve families and impact students during the Covid-19 pandemic.
February 25, 2022
First Sparrow adopted in Eugene, launching the new Willamette Valley Region to fill in the gap between Roseburg and Salem.