Celebrating 12 Years of Giving!

Dear Friends of the Mark Joseph James Foundation:

I am thrilled to share with you the first issue of Friends and a look back celebrating 12 years of giving!

Reflecting on the past 12 years, the hard work of the board of directors and volunteers is clearly evident. Our focus has remained true to our mission: to enhance the quality of life for children in the state of Missouri, while honoring the memory of Mark and his legacy of friendship.

We began in 2000 when we gained community awareness and lowered the speed limit on I-44 from 75 miles per hour to 65 miles per hour and joined MODOT's Adopt-a-Highway program.

The Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments became the recipient of MJJF's first year. The MJJF Bowling Tournament in March 2001 at Brentwood Lanes and the MJJF Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction at Missouri Bluff's netted $50,000! We presented our first check to the center on November 30th at the Mad Art Gallery.

In the next three years the MJJF donated over $150,000 to Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments, Epworth Center, Footprints (a Pediatric Palliative Care program at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital), and Howard Park Early Childhood Center.

In June 2004, we jointed the Partnership in the New Millennium Campaign for Ranken Jordan Pediatric Rehabilitation Center, providing care to children with complex medical needs and support services to help them recover from injuries and illness. In 2009 we honored our pledge of $100,000. The main entrance is named in memory of Mark Joseph James and our Foundation's butterfly symbol hangs high above to catch the children's eyes!

In 2004 we donated the funds for "In Touch... With Your Baby's Development," written by Jo Russell-Brown and dedicated to the Mark Joseph James Foundation. The book's primary targets are pediatric ophthalmologists and children's hospitals throughout the United States.

We traveled to Wentzville, Missouri and visited Therapeutic Horsemanship, an award-winning therapy program for children with physical and mental challenges. We learned that horseback riding allows children with special needs to build confidence, balance, coordination, and physical strength. In 2008 the Foundation donated a check for over $10,000.

Now, it is 2012 and we are celebrating 12 years of giving and over $300,000 donated to the St. Louis charities focused on children!

We are on Facebook, thanks to our secretary John Bettag.

Special acknowledgement to our treasurer Tom Rohlfing for diligently filing our taxes on time and keeping all of our financial records in perfect order. For many years Dave Dressel has been the driving force behind the MJJF's success. Dave's unique personality combines powerful leadership qualities with his laid back, likeable style. He is truly respected and we are lucky to have him as our President.

I believe the best way to celebrate MJJF's proud past is by displaying our passion for the future!

Thank you,
Lisa Alexa James
Founder & Chair

As of 2011 the MJJF has donated $350,000 to local charities in the St Louis area.

Partnership in the New Millennium Campaign
for Ranken Jordan Pediatric Rehabilitation Center.

Provided funds to finance “IN TOUCH With Your Baby’s Development,” written by Jo Russell-Brown, an invaluable resource book for parents of children with visual impairments, as well as doctors, therapists and health care professionals.

Sponsor of MODOT’s Adopt-A-Highway campaign
a successful community awareness campaign to lower the speed limit on I-44.

Recipient of the Virginia Scott Read Award
July 2003

Chosen by Ladue News as one of St. Louis’ top grassroots foundations in 2002.