Last week you met our Community Partner Dreammaker winner, Bluestone Physician Services. The week prior it was volunteers Kathy, Heidi and Alora. And before that it was Self-Advocate, Denise Anderson. This week we introduce our fourth and final winners, Mike and Tina Douglas, this year’s Donor Dreammaker Award winners. All will be celebrated at the Transforming Lives Gala on August 19, and we sure hope you can join us in thanking them for their advocacy and support.

Mike, Tina and David at the 2018 Gala.

Mike and Tina Douglas are more than donors to Living Well, they are family. Mike’s brother David has lived at our Thompson home since 1996. You may remember reading about that home back in March when we did a piece on the unique aspects of the house—top take aways, they have a cat, and David LOVES his family and clowns. But what makes Mike and Tina extra special is that long before Mike’s bother came to live at a Living Well home, our mission was already close to their hearts. They grew up in the same neighborhood and were lifelong friends with Jonathan Pate, the brother of Betsy Pate and the son of Living Well founders, Karen and Galen Pate. When Jon tragically passed away unexpectedly in 2021, it was tragic to all who knew him. Losing Jon was a loss that reverberates to this day, but his legacy lives on.

Jon and Betsy Pate.

Jon’s sister, Betsy, was the first person to call Living Well Home, when it was Dakota’s Children in 1972. He was a born advocate and a committed supporter. When he died and Living Well was listed in his obituary, we saw donations increase at unprecedented level. His reach was as big as his personality, and his charisma lives on through his friends and family, especially his two children, Jessica and Zach.

Cindy Pate, Kathy Douglas, Julia Douglas and David Douglas.

Jon, Mike and Tina were gifted the opportunity to grow up understanding that people with disabilities were simply people with disabilities. Their siblings and friends were included in daily activities and enjoyed opportunities like other children. Their advocacy is special because they deeply understand the mission of transforming the lives of people impacted by disabilities through the delivery of exceptional services. Their collective advocacy is what helps us move forward with confidence and has a direct impact on the lives of the people we serve.

Some donors want their name on the building, while others, especially those rooted in the Midwest, take a quieter approach, like Mike and Tina. They do not give because they want accolades or high fives. Like Jon, Mike and Tina give because they are passionate about our mission of providing exceptional services to people with disabilities. They see our mission with every visit, volunteer experience, and dollar donated.

The Douglas’s took this award as an opportunity to honor Jon, and as a way to show others the importance of giving. When Tina was younger, she was a Gala Girl, who helped volunteer at the Living Well Gala for years as teenager. Now, Tina and Mike have raised their grown children to support the causes they hold dear—passing on the importance of community involvement and giving. Their commitment to supporting people with disabilities is obvious in their affection and love for David, and the way they talk with joy when sharing memories of Betsy and Jon.

Thankfully for Living Well, kindness, advocacy and philanthropy are contagious. With gratitude in our hearts, we look forward to celebrating these incredible people at the Transforming Lives Gala on August 19, 2022. 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).


You can register to watch, attend or donate to the 2022 Transforming Lives Gala here.