The Michael Mulhall Foundation has now completed its 4th year of operation since being founded by Michael’s friends and family in 2015. With the help of our supporters, The MMF has financed the completion of 36 projects to assist families with children that have special needs. These projects have ranged from custom wheelchairs, adaptive tricycles, stair-glides, wheel chair ramps to the purchase of special utensils to allow children to independently feed themselves.
The MMF has grown well beyond what any of us could have possibly imagined when we first started out. In this update, we’ll reflect on the last four years, recap our charitable activities of 2018 and outline our plans for 2019 and beyond.
Reminder - The Purple Ties Stakes is back and tickets are available for purchase here!
The Foundation’s beginnings
While the Michael Mulhall Foundation was officially founded in 2015, it grew out of a scholarship fund at the University of Scranton created to commemorate Mike’s life after his passing in 2010. The scholarship fund began with the goal of raising $50,000 over 5 years, but due to an incredible outpouring of support, that goal was exceeded within a year, reaching $100,000 in under two.
Mike’s scholarship remains fully endowed, meaning the principal raised is invested and the proceeds of that investment are awarded to new scholars each year. The scholarship is awareded to students interested in following in Mike’s footsteps by pursuing a career in special education. 4 recipients have received the scholarship to date and this structure ensures that there will always be a Mulhall scholar at The University of Scranton.
Our founding in 2015-2016
With the scholarship fully endowed, Mike’s friends and family came together and decided to start The Michael Mulhall Foundation in 2015. Since Mike took a great deal of pride and enjoyemeny from his work with children with special needs at Camp Anchor each summer, we all felt it would be a fitting tribute to dedicate our mission to helping those same children and their families.
With a plan in place, 2015 was spent raising funds through some of the same event that previously funded Mike’s scholarship: a baseball game and a 5K run. We then capped off the year with the first of what would become our flagship event: The Purple Tie Stakes. Since our mission of assisting children that have special needs involves a high degree of complexity, we established a partnership with St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. This partnership allowed us to leverage St. Mary’s expertise to identify deserving families and then responsibly deploy funds to meet unmet needs of those families.
With the funds raised from our 2015 events, in 2016 we built 3 wheelchair ramps for patients of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children while also purchasing a custom mobility scooter for one of the children
In 2017, we repeated the same formula that worked in the prior year. In addition to growing our partnership with St. Mary’s, we expanded to working with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Long Island’s Share The Voice.
Funded by increased donations and revenues from our 2016 events, we were able to finance 13 different projects ranging from custom wheelchairs, wheelchair ramps, mobility tricyles and custom stairlifts for families across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In 2017, we completed the process of becoming a recognized 501c3 organization while also seeing The Purple Tie Stakes continue to evolve into a truly special event, with an increased number of enthusiastic participants.
We are happy to report that 2018 was another record year for The MMF, with 20 projects financed for various families. These included mobility tricycles, strollers, and several wheelchairs and ramps that required extensive customization. These also included smaller projects, such as the purchase of a special set of utensils to give a child the independence to eat on his own.
Here’s a letter we received from one of the thankful recipients:
MMF in 2019
The Michael Mulhall Foundation has grown to a size and scale inconceivable to us when we first started four years ago. Along with the current scale of our operations has come certain growing pains and challenges. These challenges mainly stem from:
reporting requirements needed to maintain compliance as a 501c3 organization
administrative weight associated with maintaining partnerships with 3 different children’s organizations across multiple states
organizational efforts from hosting multiple events each year
In addition to the administrative challenges associated with running the foundation, the board has also reached a point where life has presented new priorities: marriage and children for some and new careers for others.
Despite these challenges, the board remains committed to growing the foundation, throwing more great events and helping more families as an homage to our friend Mike. As such, we’re taking certain steps this year to be able to continue to do so in a more sustainable manner.
Scaling back; refocusing on our strengths
The foundation has decided that the best way to move forward is to focus on our strengths, as well as hone in on certain areas that need improvement. To do so, this year we’ve opted to scale back in certain areas.
In past years, we’ve thrown as many as four events. While each of these events requires similar organization effort, one yields the overwhelming majority of revenue for the foundation: The Purple Tie Stakes. Subsequently, we’ve decided to focus all of our efforts this year into making The Purple Tie Stakes all it can be.
We are also refocusing our partnership efforts with St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children and Long Island’s Share the Voice. We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia but have found ourselves spread too thin managing a third partnership. We believe that by focusing on two partnerships, we can do more good for more families in the long term.
We currently have a number of projects underway with St. Mary’s and Share the Voice being funded by last year’s charitable efforts. We’re also funding a special type of therapy for one child to help them regenerate the use of their legs. We’ll provide another update as these projects are finalized.
Sincere thanks to all of our supporters
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost seven years since Mike’s passing. We’re incredibly proud that we’ve been able to take a tragic event, and turn it into something so positive. This positive outcome however, would not have been attainable without the overwhelming and continuous support from all of Mike’s friends and family.
The Michael Mulhall Foundation is incredibly grateful to each and every one of you who has donated, showed up to events, and ultimately helped us keep Mike’s memory alive. We sincerely thank you for your continued support.
See everyone at the Purple Tie Stakes!