The 50th Anniversary Celebration was a fitting tribute to five decades of service!
Mary Lee Foundation celebrated its 50th Anniversary on March 1, 2013 at its greenbelt space on Lamar Square Drive. Mary Lee Foundation representatives were joined by friends, state and local representatives, members of the Austin community, partner organizations, and many of the individuals served and their families.
Stuart Hersh, Consultant for the Mary Lee Foundation took on the role of master of ceremonies. In addition to introducing speakers and recognizing important supporters, he also presented letters of congratulations from Governor Rick Perry and US Representative Congressman Lamar Smith. Sandy Edwards, the Regional Director of US Senator John Cornyn’s office came out on behalf of Senator Cornyn to read and present a letter of congratulations. City of Austin Council Member, Laura Morrison personally presented Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s Proclamation declaring March 1, 2013 “Mary Lee Foundation’s 50th Anniversary”.
Peggy Van Wyk, President of the Board of Directors of the Mary Lee Foundation represented the Board as well as the parent of a forty year resident when she thanked the Mary Lee Foundation and Charlene Crump for the five decades of service and dedication to helping individuals with disabilities. Peggy Van Wyk coordinated with Southpointe residents Caron Shiever and Laura Van Wyk, who surprised Directors Charlene Crump and Don Lilljedahl when they presented each of them with a framed photo collage, handmade by residents of Southpointe, consisting of photos of all of the current Southpointe residents.
Founder and Executive Director, Charlene Crump humbly took the stage and professed a favorite saying of hers, “that differences are made by those who show up” and that she just kept showing up. Over the past five decades she was not showing up alone and had many people to thank, Board Members, private donors and foundations, local banks, state and local representatives and agencies, neighborhood association, and staff. She invited Don Lilljedahl, Director of the Mary Lee Foundation for the past forty-four years and Janie Martinez, Administrator of Operations/Consultant, with Mary Lee for forty-eight years to the stage in recognition of their lifelong commitment to the Foundations mission. Charlene noted that her true heroes are the clients we serve; they face extreme challenges with dignity and strength and overcome them.
The Mary Lee Foundation received many noteworthy honors for its years of accomplishments and reaching this milestone 50th Anniversary. Several of these honors were revealed to the crowd by Stuart Hersh including the Mary Lee Foundation being recognized on the day of the Anniversary celebration by Congressman Lamar Smith having a United States flag flown over the US Capitol and State Senator Kirk Watson having a Texas State flag flown over the Capitol here in Austin. Both flags will be presented to the Mary Lee Foundation with an honorary note and certification that they were flown on March 1, 2013 in honor of the 50th Anniversary. On February 21st Mary Lee Foundation representatives headed to the Capitol and were honored at the State of Texas House of Representatives with House Resolution 433 sponsored by State Representative Elliot Naishtat. The following week on February 27th, on the other side of the Capitol, Mary Lee Foundation representatives were honored at the Senate of the State of Texas with Senate Resolution 278 sponsored by State Senator Kirk Watson.