About Us

Our History

In 2002, Andrea M. Matthews, a mother of a child with sickle cell disease became exhausted in her search for support programs for her son and her family. She identified a gap in services for children with sickle cell disease from birth to adulthood in Pittsburgh. Frustrated and feeling alone, she reached out to a few other parents, community leaders and friends for help. This group would become the first official Board of what was first known as Project 2022. Andrea set the vision for impacting sickle cell disease over the next twenty years.

On September 17, 2002 the vision was birthed out of the question,”What if? What if there was an organization that specifically met the needs of children with sickle cell disease and their families? What if this organization had a heart for educating families, advocating and raising awareness in the community? What if this organization committed to raise funds for research to find a cure for sickle cell disease?”

In 2003, Project 2022 would be renamed The Children’s Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc. and in 2004, receive nonprofit status as a 501 (c)(3). Programs were developed from listening to the needs of parents and those living with sickle cell disease through Family Support meetings, focus groups, and surveys. CSCF is an organization for families by families. The family voice will always be a cornerstone for programs, services, and advocacy.

Our Timeline

Our Impact and Goals

We are making the largest impact for persons living

with sickle cell disease in Pennsylvania through the PA Living Well with Sickle Cell Initiative stretching from Southwest PA through Central to the Northeast regions. This program focuses on improving access to quality care, addressing social determinants of health across the lifespan with a particular focus on education and employment during the youth transition from pediatric to adult health care.

Throughout the COVID19 Pandemic, CSCF supported more than 500 households with more than $25,000 in support for basic needs, grocery store gift cards, personal protective equipment. In addition, through Project REACH (Remote Engagement Addressing Critical needs at Home) Community Heallth Workers provided social support through phone, text messaging and video conferencing to deliver high quality support groups for parents and adults living with sickle cell disease.

Our goal is to ensure that families know where to turn when they need help and that CSCF is a trusted resource for accurate and timely information. You are not alone.

Our Executive Director

Michael L. Matthews joined CSCF in 2007, as the Program Director. In the eight years that followed, the Educational Support program made tremendous strides. The students gravitated to his warmth and charm. They also knew that every time they saw him, he was going to expect a report on how well they were performing in school. The students’ overall grades improved steadily. Michael expanded the Educational Support Program include the Back2School Bash and Saturday SMASH Sickle Cell, a wellness program helping children to Stay Motivated, Active, Smart and Healthy. His success building partnerships with schools, hospitals, corporations and community groups supported him as he moved into his role as Executive Director in 2015. Since taking on this role, Michael has led CSCF as the State Lead on the Sickle Cell Disease Newborn Screening Follow Up Program and expanded the CSCF reach in PA, through the Living Well with Sickle Cell Initiative, increasing partnerships in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, hiring and training 10 Community Health Workers (CHWs) across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Our Staff


Administrative Assistant

Tylesha Yates

Program Director/ Community Health Worker

Jonathan Williams

Community Health Worker/ Peer Support

Todd Griffin

Peer Navigator


Community Health Worker

Our Board

Kimberly Washington

Board Member

Kemberly Allada

Board Member

Karthik Allada

Board Member

Cheryl Hillery, MD

Board Member

Erica Witherspoon

Board Member

Richard Witherspoon

Board Member

Charmaine Harris

Board Member

Derrick Amoaye

Board Member

Hope Pickens

Board Member

Crystal Gunn Tucker

Board Member

Ross Kraus

Board Member

Dr. Novelli

Board Member

Etta Flanagan

Board Member

Donora Craighead

Emeritus Director
In 1996, Donora’s youngest son was diagnosed with Sickle Beta-Thalassemia and in 2004 he was cured. He is one of the few children who are blessed to have a matched donor through one of his older brothers. However, there needs to be cure for all children, not just some children. Donora intends to use her position as a past board member and lifetime volunteer to spread awareness to all who will listen in hopes of one day finding that cure.

Our Partners