Last week you met our Community Partner Dreammaker winner, Inver Hills Community College. The week prior it was volunteers from SecondHand Hounds. And before that it was Self-Advocate, Peggy Mehen. This week we introduce our fourth and final winners, Walt and Mary Jo Roberts, this year’s Donor Dreammaker Award winners. All will be celebrated at the Transforming Lives Gala on August 18, and we sure hope you can join us in thanking them for their advocacy and support.

Walt and Mary Jo first came to Living Well in 1973 when our first home opened. They were looking for a place for their son John to call home. They wanted somewhere he could be among friends, caring staff, and where he could live his life fully with community. Since the moment John came to live with us and through today, Walt and Mary Jo along with their entire family have been committed advocates. We are grateful for all they do to support our mission.

Walt and Mary Jo first entrusted their son John’s care to Living Well when we were known as Dakota’s Children. John was the fifteenth person to move into our Marie Avenue home and lived there for many years before moving to our Highview home in 2000, and lived with us until his passing in 2018. During the years that John was with us, Mary Jo was a regular presence at his home and across the organization.

Together, Walt and Mary Jo supported Living Well’s fiscal health by generously donating each year to the organization and attending our annual Galas. Even following John’s passing, the Roberts have donated funds continuing the passing of the philosophy from parents to siblings for involvement with Living Well. Investments and supports donated at Highview include a heated garage, asphalt trails in the back yard, perennials and a sunshade for the deck. All made the house feel like a home and continue to be enjoyed to this day.

Rod Carlson, COO, Says, “Walt and Mary Jo have been very generous with their time, talents, and resources over the years. They have been members of the Finance, Program, and the Services committees for many years.” Mary Jo chaired the program committee for three terms, and led the committee with passion, energy, and a singular focus on meeting people’s desired outcomes.”

Rod adds, “Mary Jo developed a long-term relationship with Ellie at Edgewood. She spent time with Ellie every week without fail for several years. They knitted together and spent time in the community enjoying coffee, Dr. Pepper and just spending time together. This relationship carried on even after Ellie left.”

Walt and Mary Jo understand the importance of our mission to transform the lives of people impacted by disabilities through the delivery of exceptional services. They understand it and fully immerse themselves in the philosophy and culture, making the homes they visit better with every interaction. The financial and emotional commitment is beyond reproach, and we are forever grateful.

Thankfully for Living Well, people who know what we do love to support us. With gratitude in our hearts, we look forward to celebrating these incredible people at the Transforming Lives Gala on August 18th. We hope to see you there!

(The Donor Dreammaker award Honors an individual, family, company or foundation whose financial support has created/generated/underwritten/provided for exceptional services that transform the lives of people impacted by disabilities).