Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation (WHRF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing transformational experiences that foster hope and healing for children with special needs, recently received grants totaling $10,000 from the Phoenix law firm of Perkins Coie and Push America, a fraternal service organization.
Perkins Coie provided matching funds for a $5,000 grant from Push America, resulting in a unique opportunity for both organizations to collaborate on a service project to enhance accessibility at Whispering Hope Ranch.
Members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity recently converged on the ranch as part of Push America’s Give-A-Push Weekend and completed a project to expand accessibility to a currently unused portion of the 45-acre camp facility, as well as a number of other much-needed maintenance projects. The additional program space also opens the possibility for the foundation to add new amenities and programs.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for Perkins Coie to leverage the grant awarded by Push America to Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation. The collaborative nature of this project, including the volunteer labor provided by Pi Kappa Phi, maximizes the contributions of everyone involved to the benefit of the children with special needs served by Whispering Hope Ranch,” said Jodi Feuerhelm, a partner at Perkins Coie and WHRF board member.
This is not the first time Perkins Coie has supported WHRF. Last year, the law firm donated six aquatic wheelchairs utilized at the camp’s fully accessible splash pad.
“Magical things happen at Whispering Hope Ranch that extend beyond our borders,” said Mary Clark, executive director of WHRF.
“The connection that happens between a child and an animal — both of whom have special needs — as well as those experiences and connections that occur human to human. The feeling of belonging when friendships are formed with others who face similar challenges. The sense of community forged.
“The gifts from Perkins Coie and Push America are about creating an environment and providing the opportunity for that magic to happen.”
WHRF collaborates widely with organizations in Arizona’s special needs community, providing summer camps for children facing myriad challenges at a beautiful, 45-acre mountain sanctuary outside of Payson. More than 60 animal residents that were born with anomalies or were abused or abandoned or suffer from chronic conditions reside at the ranch. The heart of the Whispering Hope experience lies in the healing bond that grows between the campers and these gentle animals.
While WHRF partners with organizations that bring children and teens from throughout the state, roughly 90 percent of participants come from Maricopa County. Built from the ground up to accommodate those with special needs, the ranch exceeds ADA standards.
For more information about WHRF, call (602) 266-2216 or visit www.whisperinghoperanch.org.