December 2019

End of year    Where did 2019 go?  I last updated this blog on October 2nd and today is the 27th of December!  So much has happened in the meantime.  The day-to-day stuff for the foundation is always on-going and keeps us on our toes.  We submitted our 990 Tax Return for Non-Profits to the Feds and also to the State of Georgia.  Thank you to Mindy, Liz and a professional tax accountant for getting that done.  Mary got on-going help with cleaning the apartments from a former care giver, Annelouise and her friend, Linda.  What a blessing!  A local florist now provides a fresh flower arrangement for every new family.  A special touch!  We now have two great friends who offer the use of their trucks to pick up and deliver furniture.  A sometimes hard and physical job.  We set up Christmas trees and some other Christmas decor in each apartment.  We signed lease renewals on a couple of apartments.  We had a BOD meeting, which included visiting two of the apartments so some of our board members could see them for the first time.

And, most importantly, during October – December, we had a total of 14 transplant families come and go.  We could never have imagined where we would be at the end of 2019, when we first jumped off that cliff in July of 2017, not knowing where we would land!  Our growth has been phenomenal.  Last week we welcomed our 63rd transplant family to the apartments.

Sadly, we lost one of our patients the first week of December, which is always a sad time for the family and for the foundation.  Mary & Brad attended the funeral, which was a beautiful tribute to the patient by his friends and family.  His 13-year-old daughter was the last to speak about her daddy and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Finally, as another year begins, please know that we are forever grateful to all the people who support us.  Family members, old friends, new friends, acquaintenances, and strangers, all can take credit for helping us accomplish the mission we set out to do, which is to take care of, and to love on, transplant patients and their care givers.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  We have met the most wonderful people during our journey.  People who are going through, probably, the most traumatic time of their lives.  People who are all too willing to admit that they are depending on God to get them through.  We have shared many tears, much conversation and a lot of laughs with them.  Every day we are reminded of how important good health is.  And we are grateful to the doctors, nurses and social workers for their God-given skills to help in the healing process.  What we are doing truly involves a team of professionals, volunteers, givers, servers, and prayers.  And we are grateful for each and every one of you!   May 2020 be good to all of us.




Apartment #6 was put together over the weekend of September 27th, and a transplant family moved in on September 29th.  What’s unique about this one….we now rent all four apartments along one walkway, so our patients and care givers can see each other at a place other than the hospital.  It forms a bit of a community.

“It takes a village” best describes the “putting together.”  On Friday, Phil & Julie Graiser arrived to help.  Julie took care of setting up the ENTIRE kitchen, which is a big job that requires washing every single item and putting everything in it’s place.  Phil did what I refer to as the “man jobs”….things like putting together the vacuum cleaner and installing the hand-held shower.  On Saturday, Anne Marie came by and made all the beds.  And for the hardest job of all (at least in Mary’s opinion), our friend, Dennis, showed up to put the bunkbeds together.  And true to the character of Dennis, what I heard all day long was, “what else can I do?”  Both days Brad was there and his main job was to get rid of all of the cardboard boxes, which is a monumental task, requiring trip after trip after trip to the dumpster.  Everything came together perfectly!

A few unique items in this apartment:  1)  the quilt on the couch in the living room.  It was made especially for us in memory of Marge Mitchell by her quilting groups in the Seattle area; 2) the quilt hanging in the bunkbed room, which was made especially for us by Mary’s childhood friend, Moira Leavitt; and 3)  if you look closely, you will see a fresh flower bouquet on the dining room table.  A local florist, “The Flower Post” in Vickery has offered to provide us with fresh flowers for every new apartment. These are the things that bring so much meaning to the foundation.

Now, I must mention the HUGE donation of furniture.  Thanks go to Dave and Debbie Stinebaugh.  Early in the year they moved to Florida from a very large home in Alpharetta to a much smaller one and almost all of the furniture in this apartment was donated to us from them.

And lastly, we thank Garry & Marilyn Ball for their continued financial support to the foundation.  We owe them more gratitude than we can express.

#6 Opens Next Week!

6th We are getting ready to open our 6th transplant apartment on September 27th!  What we have found out along this journey is the incredible need for what we are doing.  Over the last couple of months we have turned away more than 20 transplant families and that is a true heart breaker from our standpoint.  Another amazing statistic is the number of transplant families we have served in just over three years….52!

We could not have imagined in our wildest dreams how our foundation would impact so many people.  We always describe our beginnings as “jumping off a cliff.”  We literally had NO IDEA where we would land, but we have indeed landed in the most wonderful place.  God has been good; he has provided everything we have needed at exactly the time we needed it.

The next week will be a circus around here!  Final preparations are being done.  Things like washing sheets and towels, buying last minute items, staging the move (in order to get it done in the fastest and most economical way possible)….staging works!  Our garage is a mess.  Our storage units are a mess.  But the mess is necessary to get to the final product….THE MOVE!

The movers will arrive around 9:00 a.m. to load things up from our garage, drive over to storage, load up the truck from the two storage units, and deliver everything to the apartment.  There we will be met by members of our board, willing workers who will help unpack and set up.  Exciting times!

Lastly, on top of all of the good news, above, we already have a family waiting to move into #6.  Their daughter is in the hospital recovering from a kidney transplant and the family is staying in a local hotel until the apartment is ready.  They are waiting for the call that says “come on over!”

Then, I guess….it’s on to #7!!



Scott Holliday Warehouse (2)   Last week, Bob and Mary visited a person that Mary had been referred to by a fellow networker.  The referral was given months ago, but there was no follow up until now because there had not been a need up until now.

The person we met was Scott Holliday.  According to Scott’s business card he is “A Liquidator of Mattresses, Furniture and Home Goods to Charities and Charitable Retailers.”  The name of his business is “Heart In Your Hand.”

We drove up in front of an enormous warehouse, walked in, sat down in front of Scott, and told him our story.  He then took us into the warehouse, where we saw more stuff than you can imagine.  Mattress were stacked all over the place.  Boxes were sitting around that were filled with sheets, towels, bedspreads, shower curtains; you name it (he buys up what Macy’s can’t sell).  In additional there was furniture, lamps, etc.

So here’s the best part:  Whatever we need for future transplant apartments that is in the warehouse is ours at NO COST to us!  Can you even begin to imagine what that means for us?  It’s huge!  Scott asked us to send him our apartment inventory list.  When the time comes, he will stage whatever we need that he has in stock and will hunt for what he does not have in stock.  Then he will stage it in order for a mover to easily pick everything up and move it to an apartment.

There is a Christian song that Mary listens to all the time while driving between home and the apartments.  One line says this:  “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard all that is in store for those who pray.”  Our Heavenly Father is, indeed, good to his children!”




We have a new BOD Member

Annlouise Peroutka, a former care giver in one of our apartments, has agreed to join our Board of Directors.  Her husband, Thomas, had a double lung transplant at Emory.  She brings an incredible amount of value to our team.  Her background is in the financial sector, as well as in non-profits. From 1997-2000, she was the Ohio Credit Union Foundation Executive Director.  As a CEO, she dealt with her Boards of Directors.  She was also a Board Member at Coco Cola Credit Union.  

Welcome, Annlouise!   We look forward to working with you as our incredible foundation moves into the future. 



Trip to Seattle

Turning Point  During the last week of July, Mary & Brad flew out to Seattle to meet with Liz Truong Doyle, our Foundation consultant.  To say it was a valuable time together would be an understatement.  Our foundation is at a critical turning point in regards to moving upward and we needed advice on how to get that process started.  We came back with so much information about decisions that have to be made.  All of that information has been summarized and will be shared at our Board meeting this week.  We have two ways to describe our relationship with Liz.  One is “she’s been there and done that.”  The other is “no reason to reinvent the wheel.”  Liz has been where we are with the Seattle Transplant House, with great success.  We have followed that model from the beginning with opening transplant apartments.  Now we’ll see where we go from here.

Ferry  And, of course, since we were “home,” we made a few trips down memory lane, riding two ferries being one of them.  If you want to see the real beauty of Seattle, ride a ferry!  We also took a day trip to Eastern Washington to visit one of our favorite campsites where Brad and Jeff spent many a summer day.  We stayed with Uncle Ron & Aunt Karen, who live in a house with the most fantastic views of Puget Sound.  A lot of time was spent relaxing on their deck over looking that view.  And then a true highlight of our visit was dropping in on Aunt Betty and our niece Cathy, along with our nephew, Donald and six of his 20 kids!  Donald and his wife, Amy, have adopted 13 of those 7 kids, many with disabilities.  The kids arrived like a tornado and by the end of the evening, Brad and I were totally in love with every single one of them.  We had the BEST time on this short, mostly unplanned, trip.  It ended with a red-eye home, Seattle-San Francisco-Atlanta.  Only one thing can be said about that….red-eyes are horrible!

Coffee Money Fund Raising Campaign

SO…we have accomplished Phase 1 of the Foundation.  We have 5 apartments up and running, almost always occupied.  In fact, we are running at 94% capacity, which is amazing!  When we began this journey, we described it as “jumping off a bridge, not knowing where we would land.”  Now we are moving on to Phase 2, facing another bridge, so to speak.  This phase will add five more apartments by the end of 2020.  In order to do that, we have begun our “Coffee Money Fund Raising Campaign.  And it looks something like this, all based on donating an amount less than a cup of coffee per day!

Coffee Fund

Our goal is to get at least 200 people who would sign up to donate $25.00/month on a recurring basis.  This can be done on our website  Follow the instructions on the circle, above.    If we reach our goal, we will be able to easily open five more apartments, which will ease a very pressing problem for transplant patients in Atlanta.  The need is great.  In the last four weeks, we had to turn away 15 transplant families.  It’s easy to see how these donations will help.


Where we are….where we’re going

Where we're going  Sometimes a picture says a 1,000 words.  This picture illustrates where our foundation has gone over the last three years and explains that we have been very successful.  Statistics show that 90% of non-profits fail in the first year of operation, and 97% fail within the first three years.  We’ve made it through that!!!  We’ll call that “Phase 1.”  The straight line indicates that we could continue on as we have over the last three years “forever.”  We know the model and the model is successful.

But our goal is to move up the trajectory.  We’ll call that “Phase 2.”  And that will take two things:  money and staff.  Currently we are sitting in the circle called “No Man’s Land” and we have to figure out how to pass through that circle.  To facilitate that, Mary & Brad are heading out to Seattle next weekend to meet with Liz Truong Doyle, our Foundation Consultant.  She has “been there, done that,” so there is no need to “reinvent the wheel.”  We have our lists of questions ready for her and we hope to come back to Atlanta armed with exactly what we need to move forward, through the circle.  Get ready, Liz!  And thanks for sharing your expertise.