Endowment Funds Help L’Arche Tahoma Hope’s Community for the Long-Term
L’Arche Tahoma Hope is a familiar sight at local farmers markets, offering flower baskets, plants, and vegetables. That produce is grown on six acres in rural Pierce County by members of the L’Arche community, people with and without developmental disabilities.
Although the market booths are the most visible part of L’Arche’s work, the 43-year old organization also supports and enriches the lives of its community through a residential program and a new 7,800 sqaure foot welcome center that Executive Director Laura Giddings says invites, “people who are living at home with an adult with an intellectual disability to come and be part of our family. They don’t have to move in, they can just come and enjoy community and make those connections with each other.”
Raising funds to provide care and community every day of the year is a big job. For L’Arche, endowed funds are part of the organization’s sustainability plan. L’Arche has two endowment funds at GTCF. The James Henriot Endowment for L’Arche Tahoma Hope Fund honors the late Eisenhower Carlson attorney. The Father James Boyle Endowment Fund for L’Arche Tahoma Hope honors the Rainier School chaplain who was central to the founding of L’Arche.
“With the lives of people that we are responsible for 24/7, having some place that money comes from that it just comes, is huge. It’s something donors committed to our future that we can count on, and that’s just pretty rare in the fundraising world.”
Laura Giddings remembers Father Boyle’s “listening ear was the reason why they could stay and work through the challenges of caring for people with disabilities and building relationships and learning all your own vulnerabilities in that process. I think he was all about human connection, and all about people with intellectual disabilities having those kinds of normal human relationships that we all enjoy.”
Laura Giddings has seen, “many organizations with 40-year histories that are struggling and going out of business. With the lives of people that we are responsible for 24/7, having some place that money comes from that it just comes, is huge. It’s something donors committed to our future that we can count on, and that’s just pretty rare in the fundraising world.”
“The work that comes before those blooms is really similar to what we talk about with these endowments. They are the hard work, the fruits of a lifetime, that will eventually help us come to that spring.”
L’Arche Development Director Jonathon Ross worked at L’Arche through AmeriCorps before his current role. He sees a connection between the seasons of work at the farm and the work of building an endowment, “We would wake up every cold, wet, winter morning and we would just sit with the difficulty of going out into the world. Imagine having a job that requires presence in the elements, and that requires you to be active with other people on the farm, and then also having a disability that blocks you from accomplishing those things as easily as others would. If you drove up today, before Spring, the farm might not have those colorful flowers of summer baskets at the farmer’s market. But the work that comes before those blooms is really similar to what we talk about with these endowments. They are the hard work, the fruits of a lifetime, that will eventually help us come to that spring.”