One visit was all it took.
When John Matter and others from Matter Brothers Furniture toured the five-acre All Star Children’s Foundation Campus of Hope and Healing in Sarasota, Fla., with philanthropist Graci McGillicuddy last year, they made an immediate decision.
“Her optimism and excitement for creating a safe haven for children to heal was infectious. We knew, right then and there, we wanted to help,” said Matter, president of the Home Furnishings Association member, a Top 100 retailer based in Fort Myers, Fla.
The All Star Children’s Foundation, working in collaboration with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, provides programs and services to foster children, with an emphasis on treatment for trauma. It has developed a residential campus opening late this month. It consists of a treatment center, community clubhouse, gardens, playgrounds and picnic areas and six single-family licensed foster homes. Each home has bedrooms for six children and two foster parents, living room, den, dining room, kitchen, pantry, laundry room, bathrooms and covered front and back porches.
“It was immediately evident that Matter Brothers could best serve the foundation by helping them design the interiors of the homes, which would become the backdrop of a new start, renewed spirit and a place a child could finally call home,” the company said in a statement.
“Since that initial visit, Matter Brothers Furniture has donated one entire home of furnishings valued at $25,000 plus provided 36 mattresses for all six homes.”
Matter Brothers, with stores in Tarpon Springs, Naples, Sarasota, Pinellas Park and Fort Myers, is a generous partner in the communities where it does business. It supports All Faiths Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army and many other organizations. It says it has “helped countless families and customers bring the vision they held for their dream homes to life.” But it calls its work on the Campus of Hope and Healing “a project so special and so meaningful it stands apart from the rest.”
And the commitment won’t end, according to Kimberly Dominguez, Matter Brothers’ marketing director.
“I personally plan to volunteer,” she said. “And, as things get worn, we’ll look to replace them.” Other likely projects are “giving trees” during the holiday season, letting employees and customers adopt a foster child for gift-giving. And there are displays in Matter Brothers’ Sarasota showroom encouraging donations of money or furniture to the foundation.
Matter Brothers fully embraced the vision promoted by McGillicuddy, a winner of Florida’s Spirit of Service award and chair of the All Star Children’s Foundation Board of Directors.
“We are profoundly honored to help Graci bring this dream to life and look forward to creating a brighter future for the foster children of the All Star Children’s Foundation,” the company said.