your voice: a non-profit organization receives a generous and unexpected financial donation | Community News
US Olympian Carl Lewis said, “Life is about timing,” and for Kids Who Count it really was. By the time the donation was received, Salem’s Early Intervention Program was seeing substantial growth in its new autism services program, even during the pandemic. At the start of January, it became clear that they would need an additional location for this growing program and space next to their current building became available. It was clear that the much needed expansion in the new building would not have been possible without the timely and generous donation of the foundation. It took five months to work on a lease and find a contractor who could help build the space to meet their specific program needs. While the cost of rent is affordable and the location is perfect, the cost to renovate 3,000 square feet of space is outrageous for a small nonprofit. At the end of May, they signed the lease and inaugurated the construction of our new Autism Services space. They discovered that Foster Friess and his wife Lynn were philanthropists from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, who had donated more than $ 500 million to a wide variety of charities and people in need. Upon further investigation, they learned that Foster and Lynn gave 400 of their friends the opportunity to nominate a charity of their choice to receive a donation of $ 100,000, giving $ 40 million to 400 charities. different. One of those 400 friends named Kids Who Count as his charity of choice because of the service they had provided to his nephew some time ago.
Because they wanted to have a solid plan in place for how they were going to use the gift, the Kids Who Count team decided not to make any formal announcements about the gift and the person behind it. Last week Lewis sat down to develop a plan to publicly announce this gift and new space. She did a Google search on Foster Friess and found that he had just passed away minutes before his online search began. Sadly, she would not be able to share with him how his generous donation would be used and how many individuals and families would be affected for many years to come. Another example of how life really is about timing.
Foster and Lynn Friess made a donation last year, one of their very last, because they trusted a friend who remembered the invaluable service provided by the staff at Kids Who Count. “Don’t judge each day by the crop you reap,” Robert Lewis Stevenson recalls, “but by the seeds you plant.” Everyone in our community and at Kids Who Count will benefit from these seeds planted in January by the Friess Foundation. Mr. Friess can truly rest in peace. For more information on Kids Who Count services, visit www.kidswhocount.org. Kids Who Count has been helping families in the Nebo School District for over 30 years with early intervention programs and has recently been able to add autism services to their organization. They have touched the lives of so many children, including Knox, 1, who has been receiving services for several months. Her mother put it well when she said, “As a first-time mom, hearing and acknowledging that your child is late can be stressful. Learning the skills, techniques and resources to help your child succeed has been extremely beneficial. We cannot express our gratitude for this wonderful organization and the difference it is making in the lives of our family.
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