Jessica’s philanthropic effort began in 1996 when Jessica was 16 years old. When she learned about the Thompsons—the first black family known to have sextuplets in the United States– she organized a fundraiser at her school. Through her efforts, Jessica helped the Thompson family receive a home, van and free college tuition for the babies—who recently graduated high school.
In 2002, Jessica ran the Chicago Marathon in memory of Jarrett Mynear, a 13-year-old boy who died of cancer. She started “The NU Joy Cart,” which brought toys to children in the hospital.
Following the 2004 tsunami, Jessica organized a benefit to raise money for the survivors. The event raised $20,000 which helped pay for a new water purification system in a village with no clean water, outside of Phuket.
In 2008, Jessica started a movement called “Team Dylan” in honor of Dylan Rabinovich. Dylan is living with a rare genetic disease called Emanuel Syndrome. Jessica organized a black-tie gala called “The Don’t Stop Believing Benefit” to support Chromosome 22 Central, the only non-profit dedicated to helping children with rare chromosome disorders – and their families. Jessica also ran the New York City Marathon in honor of Dylan to raise awareness about C22C.
In 2010, Jessica met a Haitian cab driver named Emanuel. Jessica was trying to find out how she could help those who survived the earthquake and Emanuel shared that his family and friends needed clothes. Jessica organized, “A Happy Hour for Haiti,” a clothing drive for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, which collected thousands of t-shirts for those in need.
In 2012, Jessica put together a black-tie gala to support the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Actress Kelly Rutherford hosted the event, which attracted more than 600 guests and raised more than $250,000 in donations. To promote the cause, Jessica produced a celebrity music video with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Larry King, Wendy Williams, Nick Cannon, Ivanka Trump and several athletes, movie stars and fashion designers. The event helped clear thousands of swab kits waiting to be added to the international bone marrow registry. More than 25 of those kits turned out to be the perfect match for cancer patients in need of a bone marrow transplant.