A grant from the Regional Development Authority got the fundraising effort for the project off to a great start. That was followed by a wonderful response from many other individuals, families and organizations. One of those organizations was Brittany’s Gifts, a not-for-profit named after the late Brittany Manders that supports two organizations that were dear to Brittany, one of which is HDC where Brittany’s sister Angie receives services. Brittany’s Gifts made a generous donation to the canopy project. Part of that contribution was made possible by this year’s Bix 7 Race’s Beat the Elite runner, Joy Ripslinger.
Over the years, the Manders and Ripslinger families spent a lot of time together. Living right next door and with children of similar ages, the families became very close. Brittany’s father, Jeff Manders, said, “Brittany used to take Joy and (sister Rose Ripslinger) underneath her wing and she used to call them her two angels.”
Ever since Brittany’s Gifts was established by the Manders, the Ripslinger family has been one of its biggest supporters. When Joy was chosen to participate in the Beat the Elite competition, she knew exactly where she wanted the prize money to go. Because she was soon to become an NCAA athlete, running for an elite college program starting in the Fall, Joy was unable to accept the prize money associated with the Beat the Elite challenge. So, when Linda Manders told her about the canopy project, Joy was thrilled to be able to help. “I’m so happy that I can do that. I never thought I could give back in that way,” said Joy.
Funds for the canopy project have now been secured thanks to so many, like Joy, who shared their resources to make it happen. Plans are being made to get started on construction before the Midwest winter weather sets in. Participants at the Brady Street building are grateful for everyone’s gifts to this project. It will bring them much joy.