Business Planning in the Evans’ Think Tank


June 18, 2015

Mary woke up every early today and began thinking about the scope of the project and potential Board members.  Her thinking followed the discussion of yesterday.  This is, of course, a baby step in this process and she is only putting it here in order to compare what actually happens

  1. Build out Piedmont space – Will ultimately be owned and managed by Piedmont Hospital
  2. Discussion with transplant teams of Emory and Piedmont to help with #3
  3. Educate people about transplant through media exposure
  4. Raise awareness about transplants – Golf tournaments/5K runs/concerts – Make Atlanta the “awareness center” for transplants
  5. Make a plan for awareness projects
  6. Build the first house in Atlanta which will be the template for future houses in other locations.  Template will be sold to future hospitals to help fund the endowment fund for the Atlanta house.
  7. The Atlanta house would possibly have space for Bob and Mary to live in and possibly space for the Georgia Transplant Foundation’s office
  8. Build a house in Augusta
  9. Start a South Carolina Transplant Foundation
  10. Build a house in Charleston (this is where Britt got his heart)
  11. Research other states or cities that need transplant houses and continue the momentum working the local hospitals.

Possibilities for the Board and the reason including expertise and diversity…

  1. Mary Evans
  2. Bob Evans
  3. Brad Evans
  4. David Williams – Finance
  5. Betty Mills – Banking
  6. Bill Kaufmann – Business Planning
  7. Chip Grizzard (or Cox Curry Person ) – Fund Raising Experts
  8. Donald Jansen – Cardiologist, St. Joseph’s and Emory
  9. Andy Smith – Transplant Doctor, Emory

Bob and Mary Meet Another Heart Transplant Recipient

Heart at the human hands

June 17, 2015

After meeting with Bill, Bob and Mary were introduced to a young man named Britt Bentley ( – 678-776-2383).  He works in the Media Department of First Redeemer Church.  He received a heart transplant 8 years ago.  We had a lengthy discussion with him about his transplant, which included a lot of new information for us.  He basically told us the “nitty-gritty” of a heart transplant and the post-transplant experience, which the medical team, by their own admission, could never fully describe.   A person would have to live this experience to truly describe it.  For Bob and Mary, it was very humbling to know what our Jeffrey would have lived through, and with, if he had, indeed, received a transplanted heart.  There are two sides to the story and neither side is easy.  Britt told us he would do whatever he could to help; we just had to ask.  He has a degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Public Speaking

Beginning the Business Plan


June 17, 2015

Bob and Mary met with Bill Kaufmann, who has volunteered to develop a business plan for the Foundation.  In preparation for this meeting, Bob and Mary worked off a template for a non-profit foundation business plan and brought that to Bill.  Then the discussion began.  Bill is all about being “big thinkers.”  His theory is that if you have a “big thinking plan” and the right Board of Directors for your foundation, there is no end to what can be accomplished.  The Evans family has been “thinking big” from the beginning and we totally agreed with what Bill was telling us.  The meeting went extremely well, with Bill agreeing to be a member of our Board.  These are the things that Bill will be working on in preparation for our next meeting:

  1. Read over our material
  2. Draft a comprehensive mission statement
  3. Draft a comprehensive project plan that leads to an Open House Celebration Event within 24 months
  4. Draft the types of individuals needed for not-for-profit Boards
  5. Draft a flyer that can be used to invite specific individuals to join our Board
  6. Draft the business plan structure that leads to the review/approval of the Board
  7. Identify the location/scope and funding of the Home within the next 6 months
  8. Set up a project website for us to use to collect information and share it between Bill and the 3 Evans

We talked a lot about the kind of people we will need on the Board.  We will need some “monied” people and a great variety of expertise among the members from financial, marketing, fund raising, it.  We also, as already mentioned, will need a diverse Board, ethnically speaking.

The “scope” of the project was also discussed.  We need to branch out from a local transplant house to something much bigger.

Response from Piedmont

piedmont foundation

June 11, 2015

Brad heard back from Mendal at Piedmont, saying he had a good meeting on June 7th with his steering committee.  They still have several key financial issues they need to address.  He hopes to have more information in a couple of weeks.  He asked us to give serious thought to where our first lead gift of support for this project would likely come from.

Expanding the Vision


Week of June 8, 2015

Bob and Mary had many discussions about where we wanted to head with this project and those discussions led to researching percentages of transplants that are done on different ethnic groups in the Atlanta area.  And that led to the decision that we must have a diverse Board of Directors.

Bob spent endless hours this week adding to the spreadsheet of possible financial donors.

Still Moving Forward at Home While in a “Waiting Pattern” – May & June 2015

Bob continues to expand our foundation’s contact data base of people and organizations . Shown here below is the beautiful logo Bob designed. It symbolizes our love of life, family and the commitment we share to embrace the lives of all who pass through our doors.


Jeffrey Campbell Evans Foundation

Another idea….Over the entry door, there will be a sign that says:


June 1, 2015

Mary contacted Pat at the GTF to see if there was any feedback from our meeting with the Board.  Mary was told “no” but that Pat would get back to her later.

June 4, 2015


Bob and Mary met in our “outdoor office” (pictured above) and began going forward as if we had to do this project “on our own.”  We decided to begin the process of obtaining 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.  We will begin working on a business plan with the help of Bill Kaufman.  We will actively contact transplant houses that are already in operation through the U.S. We will contact David Mimms, a personal friend, to get an understanding about actual available property in the Atlanta area.  We will make contact with an organization that can guide us through the process of starting a foundation.  We will begin thinking about Board members for our foundation.   And we brainstormed a lot of idea about creative ways to fund the decorating of the house.

Brad Meets with Mendal Bouknight of Piedmond Hospital

piedmont nurses

May 22, 2015 

Brad met with Mendal Bouknight as a follow-up to the meeting our family had with the Piedmont Foundation.  Mendal proposed a different idea for “the house.”  Piedmont has a part of the hospital that used to be used for nurses in training.  It is apparently set up much like a dormitory.  Their idea is to remodel this area in the way we want it to look, to be used just like “the house” would be used.  The family discussed the possibility and agreed that it was a viable option.  We would have to see the facility at some point to see what we would be dealing with.  Mendal asked us to give him 3-4 weeks before we discuss it further.

Notes:  The family agreed that all we really want is a place for patients to be comfortable and for families to find peace and hope as they live through the transplant experience.  And we also agreed that Jeff would be totally on board because we all know that Jeff would not care what form this project takes.  His heart would only desire the best for all involved.  So we will wait before we begin writing a business plan, as requested by the GTF.

Our wishes would be that this facility would be home-like and comfortable; not anything like a hospital setting.  We assume the rooms could be made to be much like we envisioned for “the house” and that any entry way, possibly from an elevator, would be warm and invitingly cozy.

The Georgia Transplant Foundation Board Member Meeting

kilpatrick townsend building

May 19, 2015

Bob, Mary and Brad met with members of the GTF Board.  In attendance were Dr. Jennie Perryman from Emory Hospital, who wrote the original grant for the Mason House (she is Co-Investigator and Director of Policy and Outcomes Management for Project ACTS (Advocates for Organ and Tissue Donations); Ben Barkley, GTF Board Attorney; Brian Calkins, GTF Board Treasurer, Dr. Andy Smith, Cardiologist and Medical Director for Heart Failure, Transplantation and VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) Programs at Emory.  We began by telling Jeff’s story, which of course concludes with our lives changing forever and with the reason for our passion to build this house to not only honor our son, but to help others that will be walking that long, long mile in our shoes.

We left the meeting knowing the following.  The people that represented the GTF will get together to further discuss everything that was said at the meeting and hopefully (from our standpoint) decide if we will, indeed, partner up with the GTF to go forward.  And we will develop a business plan.  We will also start the process of applying for a 501(c)(3), if for nothing else but the endowment fund that will eventually have to be set up.  A new angle, so to speak, was to open the house up for patients other than transplant patients and their families.  This was brought up by Dr. Perryman and Andy Smith went on to explain to us what that meant.  As we understood the conversation, there are other cardio patients that could use this service, including those who are being treated with a VAD.  The Evans family is totally open to making the house available to those patients.  We feel like we are now getting into the “nitty-gritty” of this process and that’s a great thing.

We also knew that the GTF representatives picked up on the absolute passion the Evans family has for this project.  So we will do our part in developing the business plan and will look forward to more discussions with GTF.

So Many Are Willing to Help

friends 2

May 15, 2015

Bob and Mary had lunch with David and Michelle Williams, who were very involved with the earlier fundraising for Jeff.  They are on board for helping in any way possible.  Also on this day, Lanny Everett met with one of the VP’s of Grizzard, a fund raising non-profit, who said that after we have a business plan, we should contact Chip Grizzard, the CEO, to discuss help from them.  Also on this day, Brad met with an executive from Cox Curry, another fund raising non-profit and he expressed his desired to help.  And one more addition to this…Bob met with Bill Kaufmann, who is a Business Plan Developer and he is willing to assist us in writing our business plan for the house.  I add this day as part of this blog to simply show how, as we reach out to various people, we get positive responses and offers to help in the future.

First Meeting with Piedmont Healthcare Foundation Team

piedmont foundation

May 8, 2015

Bob, Mary and Brad met with Mendal Bouknight, President, Piedmont Healthcare Foundation; Dr. Chris Fowler, Executive Director, Piedmont Transplant Institute; Edward Lovern, Chief Operating Officer, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital; Julie Webster, Senior Director Cardiovascular Services, Piedmont Heart Institute.  We told them our story and our vision. They told us the history of Piedmont and their transplant program. Heart transplants have only been done at Piedmont since 2012. The tone of this meeting was less emotional; more “business.” We discussed Piedmont’s participation, which immediately led to the discussion of finances. We felt they were trying to figure out if we knew what we were really getting into. And we feel like they got the answer they were looking for. We know that this will not be easy, it will take a lot of money, but we are absolutely committed to doing it. Our passions run high. Brad, especially, connected with Mendal, arguably because of the “Club” and the possibility that they know some of the same people.   They will communicate further. Bob and Mary discussed the newly formed relationship with GTF, and Piedmont’s main concern was that The House would be available for all transplant hospitals in the Atlanta area. We assured them it would be. They were of the opinion that the partnership made sense.  When we brought up a location, Mendal mentioned that we will run into zoning issues, but as we were leaving, he indicated that he had a couple of ideas in his mind about location. So going forward….Brad and Mendal will meet on Thursday, May 21st.  The “Piedmont Team” will meet together to further discuss what was said at the meeting.  And Bob and Mary realized that we have to get with the program in regards to social media. The main take-away was very positive and Piedmont will be involved.  How will become evident at a later date.

One very interesting discussion revolved around how big our dream really is. Mary told Mendal to please not laugh at her, but her vision was to make the area of transplants as big as the area of cancer, i.e., the Susan B. Koman Foundation. Mendal asked this question….”do you know who Nancy Brinker is?” Well, she is Susan Koman’s sister who early in 1980 sat in front of Mendal and expressed her desire for what is now Susan B. Koman For The Cure. So Mendal said, “no, Mary, I’m not laughing at you.”