Starlight Children’s Foundation Announces Nationwide Design-a-Gown Contest Where America Will Create and Vote to Pick the Next Starlight Gown Designs

Celebrity All-Stars including Neil Patrick Harris, Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Martin Join the Campaign to Bring Joy to Hospitalized Kids

LOS ANGELESFeb. 1, 2018 — Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families, announced today the launch of its newest initiative, the Starlight Design-a-Gown contest. The first-of-its-kind nationwide contest offers kids of all ages the opportunity to create a new design for Starlight’s line of revolutionary children’s hospital Starlight Gowns.

Starlight Gowns replace ugly and uncomfortable traditional children’s hospital gowns with ones that are soft and comfortable, tie down the side instead of open in the back and feature brightly colored fun designs that transform kids into astronauts, deep sea divers or their favorite movie characters. Originally launched in the fall of 2016, the program has already provided more than 145,000 Starlight Gowns to hospitalized children across the United States thanks to the generosity of partners and grassroots supporters who have donated a $25 gown.

Starlight’s Design-a-Gown contest is now open for submissions through February 20. Kids and their families can visit to download, create and submit a #MyStarlightGown. Finalists will be revealed on March 6, and the public voting period will last two weeks. The winners will be announced on March 21, and thousands of Starlight Gowns with the winning designs will be produced and distributed to Starlight’s network of more than 800 children’s hospitals and other health care facilities nationwide.

“We’re making it fun and easy for kids to get involved in the largest ever public effort to design and distribute better hospital gowns,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We are so grateful to have the support of our amazing corporate partners, celebrity ambassadors and every day kids and families who are rallying to create and help us deliver tens of thousands new Starlight Gowns to hospitalized children across the US.”

The Michaels Companies, Inc., a longtime supporter of Starlight, has signed on as the national retail partner for the Design-a-Gown contest. For every design submitted from February 1 to February 20, Michaels will donate a $25 gown up to a maximum of 10,000 gowns or $250,000. Additionally, beginning February 4, Michaels invites kids and families to visit their in-store classrooms to create their own Starlight Gown design using complimentary arts and crafts supplies.

“A mission as worthy as Starlight’s deserves the utmost support,” said Michaels CEO Chuck Rubin. At Michaels, our goal has always been to inspire and enable creativity. It is our hope that the Design-a-Gown contest provides an opportunity for anyone, nationwide, to share their creativity while uplifting the brave patients and their families. We look forward to seeing designs go from sketch to sample and are proud to be a part of that creative journey.”

Dunkin’ Brands’ Joy in Childhood Foundation and Niagara Cares, the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, are the national contest prize partners and are funding thousands of new Starlight Gowns featuring the winning designs.

“We know that a child’s imagination has no limits which is why the Joy in Childhood Foundation is so excited to give children nationwide an opportunity to fuel their creativity as we search for the next Starlight Gown designs,” said Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ Donuts. “We can’t wait to see all the amazing artwork from children across the country and are honored to give kids a chance to be part of our commitment to bring joy to hospitalized children through the Starlight Gown program.”

“Starlight gowns help put smiles on the faces of hospitalized children during difficult times,” says Kristen Venick, Director of Niagara Cares. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support this cause through the Design-a-Gown Contest, encouraging families to get involved, so together, we can continue to spread moments of joy in children’s hospitals nationwide.”

Starlight’s Design-a-Gown All-Stars, a prominent team of more than 50 actors, athletes, musicians, fashion icons, tech leaders and business gurus such as Coldplay front man Chris Martin, actor and director Elizabeth Banks, actors Neil Patrick HarrisMelissa Joan HartNoah SchnappAdam Devine and Bryce Dallas Howard, comedian Patton Oswalt, fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, model Hunter McGradyJesse Tyler Ferguson and cast members of Modern Family, among many others, have signed on as ambassadors to support Starlight’s contest.

Starlight’s Design-a-Gown contest officially launches this week with a community event at LAC+USC Medical Center on February 1 from 10am to 12pm.

Entrants can visit to download, create and submit a design for the next custom Starlight Gown. Entrants can also vist to download, create and submit a design  for the next Joy in Childhood Foundation custom Starlight Gown.

The Design-a-Gown Contest offers two separate opportunities to win. Each entry is eligible for both opportunities. One winner will be selected by the Starlight Children’s Foundation and he/she will have the opportunity to have his/her design featured on a custom Starlight Gown. Another winner will be selected by the Joy in Childhood Foundation and have the opportunity for his/her design to be featured on a Joy in Childhood Foundation custom Starlight Gown. Contestants are eligible for both the #MyStarlightGown Contest and the #DDJOYContest. Starlight will select three finalists among eligible entries to be chosen as the Design-a-Gown winner. The public is invited to cast their vote for the #MyStarlightGown winning design from March 6, 2018 through March 20, 2018 by visiting The Joy in Childhood Foundation will select three finalists among eligible entries to be chosen as the Joy in Childhood Foundation Design-a-Gown winner. The public is invited to cast their vote for the #DDJOYContest winning design from April 16, 2018through April 27, 2018 by visiting *No purchase necessary, US residents only, visit for rules and restrictions. Ends 2/20/18.

To learn more about Starlight and the Design-a-Gown contest, or to donate a Starlight Gown for just $25, please visit

Media Contacts:

Michaela Zukowski, APA PR for Starlight Children’s Foundation: [email protected], 212.492.5324
Lauren Kenyon, APA PR for Starlight Children’s Foundation: [email protected], 917.536.2117
Chris de Haan, Starlight Children’s Foundation: [email protected], 213.309.1867
Lindsay Cronin, The Joy in Childhood Foundation: [email protected], 781.737.3534

Starlight creates moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, CanadaAustralia and the UK. With your help, more kids and their families will enjoy Starlight Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at more than 800 children’s hospitals and other health facilities in the US. You can support Starlight’s work by visiting and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

The Michaels Companies, Inc. is North America’s largest specialty provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor, and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator. As of April 29, 2017, the Company owned and operated 1,364 stores in 49 states and Canada under the brands Michaels, Aaron Brothers, and Pat Catan’s. The Michaels Companies, Inc., also owns Artistree, a manufacturer of high quality custom and specialty framing merchandise, and Darice, a premier wholesale distributor in the craft, gift and decor industry. The Michaels Companies, Inc. produces a number of private brands including Recollections®, Studio Decor®, Bead Landing®, Creatology®, Ashland®, Celebrate It®, ArtMinds®, Artist’s Loft®, Craft Smart®, Loops & Threads®, Make Market®, Foamies®, LockerLookz®, Imagin8®, and Sticky Sticks®. Learn more about Michaels at

Niagara Cares, a philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, is committed to supporting local and national community initiatives serving children and families in need by engaging stakeholders and investing its resources. Niagara Cares efforts include national strategic partnerships, local community grants, employee engagement, volunteerism and the Andrew D. Peykoff, Sr. Scholarship Program. For more information, visit

The Joy in Childhood Foundation, the charitable foundation supported by the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands, provides the simple joys of childhood to sick and hungry kids. The Foundation brings together a wide range of stakeholders — including franchisees, crew members, employees, partners and guests — and partners with food banks, children’s hospitals, and nonprofit organizations directly committed to serving sick and hungry kids to fund joyful environments, joyful experiences and joyful expressions to ensure that children whose lives are compromised by hunger or sickness have the support and essential services to find joy in their daily lives. Since launching in 2006, the Joy in Childhood Foundation, has granted more than $16 million to hundreds of national and local charities across the country.

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