It's impossible not to think of the Boston Red Sox whenever Tom or Jean Yawkey's names are mentioned. After all, they owned the iconic team for more than half a century. The legacy of the Yawkeys and the Red Sox are very much intertwined.
For those of us who were privileged to know Tom and Jean personally, for those of us who work at the Yawkey Foundations, and for those many individuals whose lives have been touched by their generosity, the names of Tom and Jean Yawkey bring to mind a second legacy: deep and unwavering generosity to the people of Boston, New England, and Georgetown County, South Carolina.
Since 1977, the Yawkeys - through the work of their Yawkey Foundations - have granted more than $450 million to hundreds of organizations, enriching the lives of thousands of people.
The Trustees of the Yawkey Foundations have sought to emulate Tom and Jean's tradition of giving - of walking alongside people and organizations as they work to address problems and alleviate suffering. We work to continue Tom and Jean's legacy by supporting the causes and interests that were so important to them.
When we remember the Yawkeys, we remember Tom Yawkey's actions after learning that a Red Sox scout's child had significant disabilities: he ensured the child had access to a supportive school. We think about Jean Yawkey taking an interest in an employee's child who was deaf and then quietly researching schools and paying the tuition so that the child would have the support he needed to be successful. We reflect on Tom and Jean's long association with Dr. Sidney Farber and the Jimmy Fund, and the commitments they made that helped transform Dr. Farber's laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital into what is now the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, one of the world's leading cancer institutes. We remember the Yawkeys' work with Tara Hall Home for Boys in Georgetown, South Carolina, and their instrumental role in the establishment of the Family Inn in Brookline, a home for families whose loved ones were receiving medical care at nearby hospitals.
These are some of the stories - of quiet philanthropy that made a difference in people's lives - which the Trustees of the Yawkey Foundations use to guide the Foundations' mission and grant making.
This approach gives us the opportunity to see and understand challenges that may not make the headlines. One area of special focus by both the Yawkeys and the Yawkey Foundations has been supporting individuals and families with disabilities. Since 2002, the Foundations have committed more than $10 million to this initiative. Through this work, we have come to know the many organizations and families who are struggling with the significant reduction in public funding that happens when children with disabilities turn 22 years old. Every family, regardless of circumstances, wants the same things for their child - to contribute to the community through employment or volunteerism, to live in a supportive environment, and to have a network of peers. We recognize that providing these opportunities for children with disabilities as they age into adulthood is no easy task, but we owe it to all of these children and their families to provide them with the resources to ensure that they continue to have enriching lives.
There are many organizations that work with children with disabilities, particularly as they age into adulthood. In this year's Grants Report we highlight four of them: Cardinal Cushing Schools, Melmark New England, Nashoba Learning Group, and Perkins School for the Blind. Each organization is trying to tackle the daunting task of preparing young adults with disabilities and their families for life after age 22. In all of these organizations there are dedicated staff members who are committed to creating fulfilling, happy, and successful days for these young adults. We meet them working in gardens, art studios, greenhouses, a radio station, and kitchens. We hear about their trips to museums, malls, grocery stores, and restaurants. We witness first-hand the commitment these organizations and their staff members have to enriching the lives of their students. We are honored to provide some of the support to help ensure their lives are as full and meaningful as possible.
We hope that you enjoy reading about these wonderful organizations in this year's Report. The Trustees of the Yawkey Foundations are honored to carry on Tom and Jean Yawkey's tradition of giving by making an impact on so many worthy organizations, which in turn have made life better for thousands of deserving people throughout our community. This is the Tom and Jean Yawkey we knew and we celebrate.
John L. Harrington
Chairman and Trustee
James P. Healey
President and Trustee