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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Hattie Larlham Foundation

                                                                Blurb: Comfort, joy and achievement for  children and adults with developmental disabilities.



     For an assignment in my Nonprofit Management  I class, I was pleased to research the Hattie Larlham Foundation. This nonprofit organization is dear to my heart. I worked there as a recreational assistant for three summers when I was in high school. I then became a habilitation assistant during college. Now, despite my own disabilities, I volunteer once a week to read books, play with toys and otherwise try to engage the residents with one-on-one interaction.

     Hattie Larlham was a nurse who became aware of the lack of services for children with developmental disabilities when she took in a neighbor's child in 1961. Soon she had ten disabled children living in her small farm house. When the waiting list reached 100 individuals, she decided to create an organization to help care for children with severe disabilities. The Hattie Larlham Foundation was legally established in 1963.

            The mission of the Hattie Larlham Foundation states, "Because we believe that life is sacred, Hattie Larlham enhances the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through our commitment to comfort, joy and achievement." Their vision is that "Hattie Larlham will  provide services of the highest quality, inspiring people with disabilities and their families to dream and achieve... Hattie Larlham and her family worked with hope, love and faith to address the physical and emotional needs of children with disabilities and their families through the following values: advocacy, research, excellence and services."

     The Foundation now has seven locations and provides care for 1,500 children and adults. Services include medical, nursing, therapy, residential, respite and home care, foster care, training, toys and technology, vocational, recreational programs, educational opportunities, research, Support Our Brands, Hattie's Cafe and Gifts, Hattie's Doggie Day Care and Boarding, Hattie Larlham Creative Arts, Hattie's Preschool, Hattie's Garden, Hattie's Hook and Constant Companions.

     Funding is collected through a variety of ways and services. To begin with, there is the "Circle of Caring," or people who donate time and services to help raise money for Hattie Larlham. Their biggest event is a fancy gala which includes a live and silent auction. They call this "fund-a-need." All proceeds go to a certain program or need. In 2012, funds were given to the ventilator program. Some other  annual events that benefit Hattie Larlham are Bingo Night, Go to Bat at Good Year Stadium in association with Cleveland Indians Charities, Chocolate Celebration and a motorcycle run. This year's "Hustle for Hattie" run and walk will raise money for the new Hattie's Preschool and summer camp programs.

     Individual donors are important to Hattie Larlham. People are welcome to give in many ways. Legacy gifts involve bequest charitable gifts, annuities and charitable trusts, assets such as stocks and bonds and retirement assets. Cash gifts are also accepted. Donors may choose a specific service to fund. All donations are tax deductible. People are encouraged to volunteer, donate items and support Hattie businesses.

     Corporation sponsors assist in raising funds for Hattie Larlham. Corporations can sponsor an event. They are guided on how to increase visibility at Hattie Larlham. Corporations also provide in-kind services, products and material, grants, employee gifts, company matching of employee gifts, third-party events that donate proceeds to the Foundation and direct gifts.

     Hattie Larlham has several businesses that raise funds and provide a "safe  and educational environment where people with disabilities learn valuable and rewarding skills as they contribute to their  community. Hattie's Cafe and Gifts, located in Hudson and Akron, is an example. Patrons can purchase baked goods, chocolate, sandwiches, unique gifts, gift baskets and corporate gifts. Many products are available from their online store. They also provide catering services.

     The Hattie Larlham Foundation is a wonderful and highly successful nonprofit organizations that serves the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. The foundation has steadily grown since its creation 52 years ago. Funding is strong and stable because it comes from many sources. I love Hattie Larlham and know that it will continue to flourish in the years to come.





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