Four out of ten, or an estimated 24,000,000, children in America grow up in father absent homes. Since the creation of the federal social welfare programs, father absence has been on a steady rise. The Great Society was a set of domestic political programs in the United States launched by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The main goal of the Great Society social reforms was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. (1) While well intentioned, these ineffective programs have actually contributed to an increase in poverty and racial tension remains dangerously high. During this same period of time out-of-wedlock births have increased from 11% in 1970 to 41% today.

Research shows that children who grow up without their fathers have: lower high school graduation rates, are more likely to be involved with gangs and crimes, abuse alcohol and drugs, suffer from depression and commit suicide, and become incarcerated. When a father abandons his responsibilities, children suffer, the mothers of the children suffer, and society at-large suffers.

(1) for more information:


TEAMDAD was created by David Hirsch in 1998 to support the efforts of Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and other non-profit fatherhood organizations across the United States. Hirsch is a social entrepreneur and founder of IFI, the country's first state-wide non-profit organization whose mission is Actively Engaging Fathers In The Education of Children.

Some of the TEAMDAD properties have included the;

  • - Faces of Fatherhood Calendar, produced from 1998 to 2002 and distributed to more 1,000,000 families.
  • - TEAMDAD Fathers Resource Guide,
  • - TEAMDAD Logoed merchandise with the phrase: "No Matter What Language You Speak, Dads Make a Difference."
  • - TEAMDAD PostIt Notes with the phrase: "Good Dads Are Like PostIts, They Stick Around."
  • - TEAMDAD Great Dads Coin as a way for kids to honor their father and for fathers to honor one another. The Great Dad Coin was modeled after the challenge coins men in the military have been exchanging since World War I. See more about challenge coins below.

Origins of the challenge coin in the U.S.

Like many aspects of military tradition, the origins of the challenge coin are a matter of much debate with little supporting evidence. While many organizations and services claim to have been the originators of the challenge coin, the most commonly held view is that the tradition began in the Army Air Corps (a precursor of the current United States Air Force).

Air warfare was a new phenomenon during World War I.  When the Army created flying squadrons they were manned with volunteer pilots from every walk of civilian life. While some of the early pilots came from working class or rural backgrounds, many were wealthy college students who withdrew from classes in the middle of the year, drawn by the adventure and romance of the new form of warfare.

As the legend goes, one such student, a wealthy lieutenant, ordered small, solid-bronze medallions (or coins) - struck, which he then presented to the other pilots in his squadron as mementos of their service together. The coin was gold-plated, bore the squadron’s insignia, and was quite valuable. One of the pilots in the squadron, who had never owned anything like the coin, placed it in a leather pouch he wore around his neck for safekeeping. A short while later, this pilot’s aircraft was heavily damaged by ground fire (other sources claim it was an aerial dogfight), forcing him to land behind enemy lines, resulting in his capture by the Germans. The Germans confiscated the personal belongings from his pockets, but they didn’t catch the leather pouch around his neck. On his way to a permanent prisoner of war facility, he was held overnight in a small German-held French village near the front. During the night, the town was bombarded by the British, creating enough confusion to allow the pilot to escape.

The pilot avoided German patrols by donning civilian attire, but all of his identification had been confiscated so he had no way to prove his identity. With great difficulty, he crept across no-man’s land and made contact with a French patrol. Unfortunately for him, the French had been on the lookout for German saboteurs dressed as civilians. The French mistook the American pilot for a German saboteur and immediately prepared to execute him.

Desperate to prove his allegiance and without any identification, the pilot pulled out the coin from his leather pouch and showed it to his French captors. One of the Frenchmen recognized the unit insignia on the coin and delayed the execution long enough to confirm the pilot's identity.

Once the pilot safely returned to his squadron, it became a tradition for all members to carry their coin at all times. To ensure compliance, the pilots would challenge each other to produce the coin. If the challenged couldn’t produce the coin, he was required to buy a drink of choice for the challenger; if the challenged could produce the coin, the challenger would purchase the drink.

Another aspect of the tradition dates back to when US military personnel were assigned to occupy post-World War II Germany. With the exchange rate, the West German one Pfennig coin was worth only a fraction of a U.S. cent, and they were thus generally considered not having enough value to be worth keeping - unless one was completely broke. At any place where servicemen would gather for a beer, if a soldier called out "Pfennig Check" everyone had to empty their pockets to show if they were saving any Pfennigs. If a soldier could produce a Pfennig, it meant that he was nearly broke. Likewise, if a soldier could not produce a Pfennig (meaning he had enough money to not bother saving them), he had to buy the next round.


TEAMDAD, LLC is a social business venture whose primary purpose is to create social impact by promoting responsible fathering and connecting fathers and children. Our goal is to help reverse the cultural trend toward fatherlessness by inspiring all dads to become great dads.

We believe honoring fathers helps inspire men to maintain their commitment to their children.

We also believe every child needs a dad they can count on. The research is clear: children thrive when they have an involved father—someone who is present financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We inspire and equip men to be more involved fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and father figures.

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