Supporting Youth Causes
Since 2005, Harry's Foundation has contributed over $ 200,000 to youth causes in southwest Michigan. Through the amazing generosity of our sponsors, volunteers and event goers, and the dedicated effort of our Board of Directors, we have changed and saved lives.
The more funds we are able to raise, the more people we touch.
Since 2005, Harry's Foundation has been providing scholarships to students at Plainwell High School, the same school Harry attended. The criteria for Harry's Scholarship are a bit different than most as we sought to reward character and compassion. (Criteria and recommendation forms below)
In 2010, Harry's Foundation expanded the scholarship awards to neighboring Otsego, with an award in the memory of the late Amy Winter who served on our board.
2005 – Tim Carrier, Katy McHugh
2006 – Melanie Washburn, Liana Rohr
2007 – Elizabeth Ablan, Lauren Lincoln
2008 – Jenna Sheets, Michael Boulter, Andes Weeldreyer, Jackie Vick
2009 – Molly Wells, Dillon Dolby, Macy Rose, Michael Williams
2010 – Keaton Adams, Jordan Rife, Matthew Darnell, Sara Weyenberg
2011 – Amy Obreiter, Ryan Rakowski
2012 – Justin DeBruyne, Molly Meddock, Dustan Colyer
2013 – Alex Pylat
2014 – Jonathan Nord
2015 - Mitchell May & Trenton Monroe
2016 - Samantha Bartz & Luke Woltanski
First Day Shoes www.firstdayshoefund.org
When Harry was nine, he took what amounted to half his net worth and bought a struggling classmate a pair of new shoes. He placed them in his locker anonymously forgoing the recognition and accolades associated with doing something so kind. Harry knew he had everything that was truly important; a family that loved him unconditionally, great friends, and the belief that anything was possible.
Since 2006, The First Day Shoe Fund has distributed approximately 12,000 shoes to students in Kalamazoo County.
In 2013, we distributed a record 2,900+ pairs of shoes to Kalamazoo Public Schools and Comstock Public Schools. We launched a trial shoe distribution at Comstock Public Elementary schools with the assistance of Comstock Community Center. We look forward to continuing our shoe distributions with Comstock in fall 2014.
On average, 70% or more of the students in schools we currently serve qualify for free or reduced lunch (the factor which is used to determine eligibility for new shoes through FDSF).
FDSF also works in conjunction with Project Connect to reach families in Kalamazoo County who are in need, but who may not attend a Kalamazoo public school.
Wes Leonard's Heart Team www.wesleonardheartteam.org
Harry fest teamed up with Wes Leonard's Heart Team in 2013 to assist them in their effort to place Automated Emergency Defibrillators (AED's) into area schools, along with teaching emergency action plans. Harry and Wes's story's are quite similar, and their legacy's live on with this incredible effort.
Wes had a love for life and for the “game” that was infectious. His enthusiasm was inspiring. He was truly happy playing any sport he could. He was often heard asking his mom for a little more time to play “Just One More Game”. Wes was taken from us far too early. While we don’t believe that this was his destiny, we will make sure his legacy will be carried on for many years to come. We are going to work with the same enthusiasm, drive and love he had every day to honor him and other children lost to SCA providing others a chance at “Just One More Game.”
Big Brothers/Big Sisters http://www.bbbsmi.org/
Joe Stout, Harry's father and the Executive Director of Harry's Foundation, was a Big Brother in the 80's. His little brother, Steve Hunkins and his wife Michelle, drive to Harry Fest from Wisconsin each year to volunteer and celebrate. Joe and Steve know firsthand the importance of BB/BS, and how it positively changes the lives of young people.
For more than 100 years nationally and more than 50 years locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and children (Littles), ages 6 through 18. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
Harry Stout Rocks
In 2008, Harry Fest introduced "Harry Stout Rocks" as a way for local schools to win thousands of dollars of musical equipment from RIT Music.
In just four years, Harry's Foundation was able to provide area schools with $ 40,000 of retail value band equipment.
Schools Benefitting from Harry Stout Rocks...
In addition to our annual contributions to the entities listed above, Harry's Foundation has also provided much needed financial resources to local young people battling medical expenses. Out of respect to the recipients, we do not list them on our site. However, Harry's Foundation's contributions to these families exceeds $ 12,000 since 2005.