Concert benefits Brianna Fund for kids <Video>
Published: Saturday, 15 January 2011, 10:00 PM EST
Brianna Johnson Makes a Way for Others
UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College
SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The Brianna Fund has raised close to half a million dollars to help kids who can’t get around their own home.
On Saturday, hundreds of sponsors, donors and supporters were at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Springfield for a benefit gospel concert.
“There’s a clear mission, there’s a clear focus and there’s a clear outcome. There’s nothing like seeing a child have a new way of getting in and out of a home. its concrete stuff,” said Ronn Johnson, co-founder of the Brianna Fund.
The Brianna Fund helps families who have children with mobility issues. They provide grants for everything from wheelchair ramp vans to home modifications.
Brianna N. Johnson was the first recipient.
“It means so much to me just to be able to help people and to see that I’m making a difference in the lives of other people is really great”, said Johnson.
Saturday’s gospel concert was the 13th annual benefit concert.
In total the Brianna Fund has helped 42 Springfield area families including Betel Arnold and her son, Billy.
“One of the things that I find in the community with a child like my son is everybody says they care but the Brianna Fund, not only says they care….they say…now we’re here, let us help you.”
And the Brianna Fund is asking for your help.
You can mail a check to P.O. Box 1702, Springfield, MA 01101 or log on to www.briannafund.org to make your donation.
Local television station WWLP-22 recently reported on the philanthropic work of the Brianna Fund.
On January 15, hundreds of sponsors, donors, and supporters joined together at Evangelical Covenant Church in Springfield, MA for the 13th annual benefit gospel concert. The proceeds went to the Brianna Fund for Children with Physical Disabilities, a local organization that raises money for families who have children with access and mobility issues. The concert raised a record $14,000 on that evening.
The Fund is named for one of UMass Amherst’s very own: Commonwealth Honors College senior Brianna Johnson.
When Johnson was eight years old, members of her family set out to increase her access to the community. They were successful in raising enough money to off-set a van that would transport their child and her power wheelchair. In 1998, Johnson’s family and friends extended their efforts to other families and launched The Brianna Fund for Children with Physical Disabilities. Within the first year of its existence, the organization raised more than $100,000. Over the last decade, the Brianna Fund has raised close to a half a million dollars, and has given 42 children in the Greater Springfield area an enhanced capacity for living a full and productive life.
Even as a double-major in Legal Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Johnson still manages to contribute to the work of the Brianna Fund year-round. As the face of the Brianna Fund, she often speaks about philanthropy. “At first” said the Springfield, Mass native, “I thought philanthropy was about money. Maybe it’s not at all about money. It’s about wanting to do something with your life that helps other people. You have to put (your intentions) into action – that’s what makes you’re a philanthropist.”
In 2009, Johnson was awarded the young philanthropist of the year award from the Western Massachusetts chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.