BKD Foundation establishes 'dream' fund for disabled

December 8, 2008
Since its founding in 1967, Damar Services Inc. has grown into a comprehensive care provider for people with autism, developmental disabilities and related behavioral challenges.

The organization, which saw $33.6 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, has tried to meet clients' needs with a 38-acre residential campus, group homes and an outpatient mental health clinic.

Now Damar hopes to fulfill some of its clients' wishes as well. With a $10,000 gift from the BKD Foundation, Damar will establish the BKD Dream Fund and award small grants to families for things like a vacation to Disney World or a fishing trip to Michigan.

"We've had families that have approached us for various things," Director of Advancement Nick Parkevich said. "We didn't have the means to make those dreams come true."

BKD LLP is a Springfield, Mo.-based accounting firm with offices in central Indiana. In announcing the gift to Damar, local Managing Partner Robert Pruitt said that, whenever possible, the foundation supports organizations that also involve BKD's own personnel.

Damar has roughly 700 clients, most of whose families cannot support them financially or physically because of their disabilities.

With the first-round gift of $5,000, Parkevich said Damar will be able to make five to 10 grants in 2009. Many more families will turn in applications that will go unfulfilled — at first. Parkevich said the fund-raising team plans to use those applications to appeal to other donors and grow the Dream Fund.

"We anticipate being able to leverage some of those requests," he said.

Often, Parkevich said, donors are asked to write checks to support Damar Services' operations. He looks forward to relaying details about specific clients, and how their dreams were fulfilled, "for that donor to feel they had ownership and connection with that client on a long-term basis."

Parkevich added that making dreams come true doesn't necessarily require much money. Damar's advancement staff will try to drum up in-kind gifts, such as tickets to sporting events or admission to Disney World.

"It might be that a kid wants to meet somebody," Parkevich said. "That could be as simple as us using some of our contacts through the Colts or the Pacers."


Know of a gift that IBJ should feature? Contact Kathleen McLaughlin at kmclaughlin@ibj.com.
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