As a pediatric physical therapist, Brett Fischer saw that families raising kids with disabilities were struggling not only physically, but also emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. This led him to build the organization, Victory Lane, with the mission to help families discover the power of connections and community.
Natasha Hamilton, Victory Lane’s Fundraising Assistant, explained further, “Victory Lane’s purpose is to take families of children with special needs and families of children without special needs and teach them to grow together. Connections made between families through Victory Lane lead to lasting friendships where families support one another through the stresses and joys of life all year long; it also empowers and equips those families with children with disabilities.”
Like many relational and community focused organizations, Victory Lane was faced with challenging times throughout 2020. Though their purpose never changed, and they were able to use virtual efforts to continue connections, they still experienced the difficulties that come with covid-restrictions and concerns. Having to cancel their traditional fundraisers, many events, and their annual summer camp sessions, they needed extra assistance.
After learning that the Henry County Community Foundation offers grants for operational expenses, Victory Lane decided to apply. They wanted to use the funds received to cover costs within the office in order to use the money saved from operational costs to offer more services and opportunities for connection within the community.
Life-long Henry County resident and long-time grants committee member, Lisa Pfenninger, was glad to be part of the process with Victory Lane’s application. She shared, “They serve families here in Henry County and are drawing people in from other areas. It helps their support system and brings people to Henry County and supports the community when they come here for activities. By interacting with all kinds of entities in the county, we can weave together and help each other. I think Victory Lane has done an awesome job of that.”
Also impressed with how Victory Lane adjusted during Covid, Lisa recognized Victory Lane’s creative efforts to remain linked during the pandemic. “It was cool to see. These connections are so good. Kids have been isolated, but having that link to someone who understands and acting in support for each other is really important,” she expressed.
In the grant decision process, Lisa likes to consider what an organization does in our economy to foster growth and utilize local resources. She appreciated Victory Lane and their ability to find sponsors for fundraisers and camps in past years. “They’re really good about finding that other support. They’ve projected on what their long term needs are. They have grown so much over the years. I think the way they have developed their program and their way of financing has been really crucial for them,” she said.
Victory Lane fulfilled the community connection that Lisa had anticipated. They were able to take the grant funds to cover their operational needs and put it back into local businesses. Working with six different Henry County resources, they had marketing development work, book keeping, telecommunications, accounting expenses, office supplies, and printing services all covered through the work of local small businesses.
Now that they have these operational costs covered, they are finding more ways to grow within the community and reach more families. “Victory Lane’s ability to reignite, grow, and serve has been achieved through the help with the Henry County Community Foundation grant. Victory Lane has been able to reach families that are suffering in isolation and seclusion instead of using funds to keep sustaining the business,” explained Natasha.
Through all of the ups and downs of the last year, Victory Lane has been able to keep their doors open and continue to serve families in part because of the grant they received from The Foundation.
Lisa loves to see the Foundation be able to support organizations like Victory Lane. She expressed, “I really feel the Foundation serves such a crucial part of the Henry County Community.” She recognizes the incredible opportunity both for the Foundation to be able to grant money when there is a need and for people to be a part of the process by donating their money to the Foundation to continue these efforts. She continued, “It’s such an investment in the Henry County Community when you make a donation to the Foundation. You really see your money invested and going to amazing projects like Victory Lane.”