We have a new…

Actually we have a new BOD comprised of existing and new members. We had our first combined Board Meeting on Wednesday, November 11th. It was done by a ZOOM call, which is a sign of the times we are living in.

Each of our 16 members gave a brief description of themselves and spoke about how they see themselves contributing to the Foundation’s vision. It was amazing to see how the two distinct groups of people absolutely melded into one.

We are now on an amazing journey together whose sole purpose is to serve our transplant patients and their caregivers. The Evans family looks back at our humble beginnings and are totally amazed where we are at this moment. But even more amazing is the path we are moving forward on.

BIG things are in our future. Plans are in the making to begin a capital fund raising campaign in January 2021. Properties are being explored in an effort to find the perfect location for the Transplant House. Before we know it, all of the planning that has been happening in the background with the help of so many people will be turning into a Transplant House that has been a big part of the vision from Day One.

Thanks goes to Amanda Brown-Olmstead, our PR person, who worked tirelessly to bring on the seven new people, each with distinct experience, skills, networks and passion. We are blessed beyond measure to have her in our corner.

MASKS!

I’m pretty sure that everyone would agree that we are living in crazy times! Depending on where you live, whenever you go out of your house, you are met with people wearing masks. Well….we have a mask story!

Our niece, Becky, who lives in Vancouver, Washington, made and sent to us over 150 masks to be given out to our patients and care givers. I always have a packet of information, which includes the cashmere socks, that I give to each new caregiver when I first meet them. Now the masks are included and my caregivers are overwhelmed that someone has done that for them. Like I told Becky, “you are now a part of the story!”

And if you knew Becky, you would know that she included a very touching note with each mask. There are so many people in this world that over and over deserve our thanks for their contribution to the Foundation, whatever that may be. Sometimes it’s the seemingly small things that matter so much.

Thank you, kiddo! We can never thank you enough. Your cousin, Jeff, is looking down and if you could hear him, he would be saying “thank you, cuz!”

Pencor Construction

Another big day! Bob & Mary had a meeting this morning with Jared Penny and Kyle Martin of Pencor Construction. This is the company that has agreed to be our General Contractor for the build of the stand-alone Transplant House. The meeting began with a phone conversation that included Amanda, but it was extended after the call simply because Mary needed some visual information about moving forward. Bob totally understands what will happen because of his construction background, but Mary was in the dark.

So this is what resulted and now Mary has a clear understanding:

September – December 2020 – Site Selection (Emory’s Executive Park Property). This will involve negotiating a land lease and will include a Letter of Intent which will list the business terms of the lease, approvals and payment agreement.

January – March 2021 – Site Design. This will include things like a land survey, zoning, entitlements and land disturbance issues. A Civil Engineer will be involved.

April – July 2021 – The architect will produce the final product (everything from bricks to landscape to fire control to roofing and furniture) A Structural Engineer and possibly other “experts” will be involved.

August – September 2021 – Permits. This will involve DeKalb County and it’s apparently anyone’s guess about length of time to complete.

October 2021ARE YOU READY? The build will begin.

Apartment #7 Opens

September 10th was a BIG day in the life of the Foundation We opened Apartment #7, which was entirely furnished, top to bottom and every which-way by the Georgia Furniture Mart. Thank you to Mike & Michelle Hall!

The day started with “Open House” signs and balloons announcing the festivities. Media began to arrive and to call in. The day was spent doing interviews, which was both interesting and stressful to say the least.

This took the efforts of a team of people, including the Halls and their assistant, Thaddeus, Amanda and Mary Elise from our PR Firm, Belara Apartment folks and members of our Board. Everyone pitched in to get it done.

And the best part, and most important part, of this story is the fact that on Monday morning a new transplant patient and his caregiver from Emory will be moving in. And that, my friends, is what this is all about!

15 Days of August & September

It was a whirlwind! I’m just going to make a list of everything that happened, day-by-day, for future reference

8/27 – Set up hotels for the Echols Family, due to a water leak in Apartment #2 that required extensive maintenance work. Hilton has a strange way of accepting payment when you are not the guest…JUST SAYIN’

8/28 – Called Carl to order a washer & dryer for #7

8/29 – Checked out repairs on Apartment #2

8/30 – DAY OFF

8/31 – Set up utilities for #7

9/1 – Carpet cleaning for #3 / washer & dryer delivered to #7 / trip to the bank for cash for the washer & dryer / met Amanda, MaryElise and Michelle Hall at #7 for “measuring day”

9/2 – Met Mike Hall at #7 / Gas South turned on in #7 (had to be there)

9/3 – Got dryer in #3 fixed

9/4 – Picked up bedspreads for #3 at the cleaners / Cleaned #1

9/5 – Set up the kitchen & bathrooms in #7 with help from BOD / helped Dryden clean #1

9/6 – Georgia Furniture Mart moved in furniture

9/7 – Welcomed new caregiver to #3 / got boxes out of garage for #7 / replaced lamp in #1 / sent picture of washer in #1 to Renee

9/8 – Picked up bedspreads for #1 from cleaners / bought remote batteries / delivered #3 remote / welcomed new caregiver to #1 / had leasing office activate gate fobs / had washer in #1 repaired

9/9 – Cataract Surgery for Bob – Up at 3:00 a.m. to get to VA by 5:00 a.m. / COVID-19 test / waiting for 2 hours for results / actual surgery / visit with surgeon / home by 3:00 p.m. – ALL WORTH IT!

9/10 – Open House at #7 from 10:00-3:00 – Media attended and called in / interviews all day / visit from AnnMarie / Comcast set up internet

And that was IT! The biggest part of this was 14 round trips from home to the apartment, meaning 1,400 miles on the car and 28 hours in the car!

I’m EXHAUSTED!!

AJC Article

https://www.ajc.com/inspire/transplant-patients-families-find-housing/LQZLJIA4MZD4PFA73MB7Z3MN3E/

On Sunday, August 2, 2020, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a great article about the Foundation..link above.

The best news about this is the exposure that we are getting in the Atlanta area. And this is due to the efforts of Amanda Brown Olmstead and her team, including Mary Elise O’Brien.

The article tells the story well. And I have to admit that I sat down after reading it and experienced a little emotional breakdown. The last 5 years appeared before my eyes and in my mind. All of the countless hours spent on this computer, day and night. All of the shopping done in every antique store, consignment store, junk store and garage sale within 15 miles of home, day after day after day looking for furniture and decor (admittedly the easiest and most fun part of this entire journey!). I will never forget my shopping route! All the hours spent in the three stores that really have owned me: Southern Comforts, The Dollar Store and Tuesday Morning. Moving furniture from one place to another. Sorting and tidying up storage units. Planning and executing fund raisers (whew…it tires me just thinking about that one!). And lastly, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. It’s been an incredible ride and I have loved every minute of it. When you have a passion for what you are doing the work is no longer work.

When I think about having six fully furnished apartments in three short years, having the absolute privilege of serving more than 80 patients and care givers, at times getting way too involved with people that includes the ever present emotional toll, I am simply amazed and blessed more than words can say. Those 80 transplant families have meant more to me, excluding my family of course, than any people ever in my life.

Lord, thank you for assigning me to this job. It’s all been done for your glory, in your timing and in your way. We give you credit for every single person that has stepped up to help in any way. We give you credit for all of the funds that have come our way. You truly have provided every single thing we have ever needed. And we give you all the glory, both for our patients who are well on their way to recovery and for those who are now in your presence in glory. We will continue on knowing this: When the time is right, you the Lord will make it happen!

FURNITURE FUN (Apartment #7, here we come!)

Earlier this week, a group of us including Bob & Mary, Kevin (Architect) & Meredith (Interior Designer) from Richmond Honan, and Amanda and Mary Elise from A. Brown-Olmstead & Associates, met with Mike and Michelle Hall, owners of the Georgia Furniture Mart. Why, you ask? Because the Halls have graciously offered to completely furnish Apartment #7 at no cost to the foundation! We walked the entire show room, which is nothing but spectacular (to the point of overwhelming), so that we could see exactly what they have to offer. Our comments along the way gave Mike and Michelle a feeling for what we like. Now it’s totally up to them as to what they choose to furnish the apartment with. We have total trust in them!

After the show room tour, we sat at a table and discussed the various aspects of the foundation, the layout and feel of the apartment (which will be opened mid-August), and Mike’s and Michelle’s wonderful giving hearts. What we remember Mike saying was this, “we just want to spread a little love!” We are so incredible appreciative! There are truly angels walking this earth. Mike and Michelle just happen to be “furniture angels!”

Board meets Amanda

On Wednesday of this week, we had a special board meeting in order for our board members to meet Amanda Brown Olmstead, our PR person. Because of the times we live in, this meeting had to take place via a ZOOM call, which wouldn’t have been my preference, but it was necessary

We retained the PR services of Amanda at the beginning of May and it has been a whirlwind ever since! She has been in this business for 48 years and her contact list seems to be never ending. But most importantly, she has taken an enormous interest in our foundation. She totally understands the importance of what we are doing and she is sharing that interest with (it seems) everyone she knows! She has educated herself on the world of transplants and readily shares that information in the context of getting our foundation known all over Atlanta.

She began this journey with us by developing a group of media materials that she refers to as 1) a Backgrounder; 2) a Tip Sheet; 3) a Fact Sheet; 4) a Lead Release (this went out to various media and architectural firms); and 5) BOD Bios. All of this information has been shared with many media outlets. She instigated a report on the foundation that was written by David Pendered of the Saporta Report. (It contained such a personal description of what we do that I cried while reading it.)

I could go on and on and on about what she has done for us and what is in the works for the future. I will just say that the names I would mention are part of the Who’s Who of Atlanta.

I will finish this by naming the biggest, most significant efforts to date: 1) she has completed and submitted a grant application to the Carlos & Marguarite Mason Trust; 2) she has obtained an offer from the Georgia Furniture Mart for completely furnishing Apartment #7; and 3) she is diligently working on expanding our Board of Directors.

All I can add to the above is this: EXCITING DAYS ARE AHEAD FOR OUR FOUNDATION We could never have imagined being at this place when be began this journey five short years ago.

Thank you, Amanda, for all you have done. We look forward to all that is to come!

The STAND-ALONE TRANSPLANT HOUSE – Take a look!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t0agsows5u5n5v9/2020-03-02%20Jeffrey%20Evans%20Transplant%20House.avi?dl=0

From the onset of the Jeffrey Campbell Evans Foundation, we have had a dream to build a stand-alone transplant house that will have at least 20 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, fully furnished apartments, plus beautiful and useful communal areas. The reality of that dream coming true has begun.

Kevin Glade, an architect with Richmond Honan LLC, has designed the house for us on a pro bono basis. We do not know how to thank him! If you click on the link, above, you will see the beginning stages of our dream.

Then Jared Penny of Pencor Construction, a division of Richmond Honan LLC, has agreed to be our General Contractor for the build.

The estimated total amount to complete this project is $15M! Sounds impossible, we know. But we also know that NOTHING is impossible with our God. In the near future, a capital fund raising campaign will be initiated. And then the project will begin.

I have a “saying” hanging in front of my eyes at my desk. It says, “Someone, somewhere is depending on you to do what God has called you to do.” I live by that statement. God has placed a lot of “someone’s” in my life and the joy of my life is to do what HE has called me to do. This transplant house will surely enlarge our ability to carry out His plans.

Stay tuned. I will be publishing updates on this project as they happen.

HALF-YEARLY UPDATE!

Once again, I have let time go for far too long. So here’s an update on the JCEF.

First BIG news….We have hired Amanda Olmstead of A. Brown-Olmstead Associates, a PR firm in Atlanta. She has been in the business for 48 years. Her contact list is endless and her enthusiasm for our foundation is incredible. She has been working with us since May 1st and it’s hard to put into words what she “has in the works” for us. Some highlights: 1)  she sent out a press release on June 12th  to over 100 media and architectural firms about the architectural plan for the stand-alone house; 2)  she is working on a Mason Trust Grant, shooting for $150,000, which would be to cover costs for the capital fund raising campaign for the house (which will cost $15M); 3) she is working on strengthening our BOD by contacting many business leaders in the community, who are personal friends of hers;  4)  she has had a meeting with the Woodruff Foundation about possibly funding us “to get us going” on fund raising in general; 5)  she is working on a meeting with Emory University regarding building the house on Emory campus – the Candler mansion property; 6)  she has made contact with a friend of hers that owns the biggest discount furniture company in the country.  He will be furnishing the house! and 7)  she is following up on some NFL leads from Brad that go way back to our beginning.

The Apartments… 1)  We have been running at 100% capacity since January.  COVID-19 has definitely been good for us from this standpoint. We are the only option available to transplant patients at the moment. Our apartments are totally private, whereas other “hospitality houses” have a model of individual rooms for patients with everything else being communal. They are currently closed; 2)  we had our first stem cell patient in one of the apartments, which opens us up to cancer patients; 3)  the apartments are being cleaned by Dryden Joss, our nephew.  He is doing a fantastic job.  The only thing he hasn’t figured out is the placement of all the decorator pillows on the beds!! 5)  back to stem cells and bone marrows….these could greatly increase the demand for apartments.  Between the two, they have said they could keep 40 apartments full.  That remains to be seen, of course, but it’s an interesting idea. 

BOD…1)  We have had two board members turn in their resignations. Both feel they are too busy with life at the moment and that they are not contributing enough; 2)  John Hollingsworth, who was on the board and who wrote our Business Plan and then moved to New York for work and resigned from the board is returning.  He has agreed to write the next version of the Business Plan which will include building the stand-alone house.

Bob & ACE…As everyone knows, Mr. E. makes lots of contacts during the course of a work day!  Lately he has been talking to people about the stand-alone house in regards to construction products being donated. He’s getting some great leads.  Most recently it was for bricks for the outside of the building. 

A lot is going on. These are exciting days in the life of the foundation. And all the glory goes to our Heavenly Father. He is blessing us beyond measure!