Published November 18, 2003
Volume 11, Number 11

Taylor Family Foundation Helps Sick Children Build Fond Memories  

Nothing is more heartbreaking than a child who’s young life and activities are limited by illness or disabilities. While many of us look on helplessly, others, like the Taylor Family Foundation, take an active part in helping such youngsters experience the same joys as other children who don’t face the challenges they must accept.

The Taylor Family Foundation (TTFF), a private non-profit organization, was formed in 1991 by Elaine and Barry Taylor to preserve the wellness of children. The Foundation raises money to support programs for children in Northern California with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities. The Foundation has helped thousands of children who have HIV/AIDS, are burn victims, or who suffer from child abuse, cancer and other life-threatening diseases by providing medical care, psychological support, and a summer camp experience.

“Elaine and Barry Taylor were approached many years ago by the March of Dimes to do a project at their home in Lafayette,” says June Johnstone, executive director for the Taylor Family Foundation.. “It was successful enough that they became interested in starting their own foundation to direct the money exactly where they wanted it to go.” The initial beneficiary of the Taylor’s new group was the Childrens Hospital in Oakland. “At that time, the pediatric AIDS program at Childrens Hospital was really falling through the cracks and that was really the start of assisting children with life-threatening illnesses,” Johnstone says.

Starting in 1992, the foundation began sending children to camp. “We didn’t have our own camp at that time, but we would spend our funds on different social and psychological programs associated with these groups of children with life-threatening illnesses,” Johnstone says. “So, we would do our Day in the Park and holiday parties and use the money to send kids to other people’s camps. After many years of sending kids to other camps, we decided that we wanted to build one of our own.” The Foundation’s facility is called Camp Arroyo. It took about five years to build and has just celebrated its third anniversary.

The Taylor Family Foundation raises most of its money through its annual Day in the Park event, which typically takes place the last Sunday in August. It includes a live auction, a silent auction , and raffles. “This event really brings in celebrity faces and corporate sponsorships,” Johnstone says. Past auction items have included dinner with a celebrity, a mini-camp for 10 kids with the 49s, and other one-of-a-kind packages. Celebrities on hand for the event have included ABC 7 television’s Cheryl Jennings, Dan Ashley, Dan Noyes, Ed Baxter from KGO news talk 810, baseball’s Vida Blue, and football’s Steve Young.

Attending Day in the Park and participating in raffles and auctions isn’t the only way to support the Taylor Family Foundation. The annual fundraiser requires about 200 volunteers but throughout the year, the Foundation is always seeking help in the office doing things like direct mail, computer input, helping with solicitations on the phone, or volunteering to work at the camp. The Foundation also accepts donations throughout the year as well as corporate sponsorships. Hacienda companies involved in supporting the Taylor Family Foundation include Unisource and Assist Tel-Com.

For more information on the Taylor Family Foundation, contact June Johnstone at (925) 455-5118. You can also visit the Taylor Family Foundation’s website at www.ttff.org.


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