Melmark, a comprehensive multi-service agency for children and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, brain injuries, and other neurological and genetic diagnoses in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, has announced a $21.5 million endowment gift.
The gift from the family of Anne and Brutus Kenan will establish a fund named for the siblings, who have benefited from the agency's evidence-based special education, residential, vocational, and therapeutic services. The lead gift in a campaign to build an endowment for the organization will help secure the future of its adult services and ensure its clients' right to live in high-quality settings of their choice with access to adequately funded life-supporting services. According to the agency, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for its in-person high-quality day and residential programs for individuals.
"We are humbled by the responsibility to steward this gift for future generations of Melmark," said the agency's president and CEO, Rita M. Gardner. "It honors Anne and Brutus's lives and the dedication of so many staff who have worked tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are beyond grateful for this silver lining of the pandemic which will lift us all up and forward as we navigate Melmark's future."
"[I]t is a circle of deep gratitude for Melmark's passion and commitment to those they serve [that made the gift possible,] " said the Kenan family in a statement. "We look forward to the day when major gifts to organizations serving individuals with disabilities are normalized and just as common as major gifts made to other educational institutions."
(Photo credit: Melmark)