He told us he tried to commit suicide at age ten, in the softest, calmest voice you can imagine. Mark Mathabane, author of Kaffir Boy, held us in his storytelling grip at a benefit for Bridge Meadows, a future community for foster children in the Portsmouth neighborhood. One might wonder what a South African author that grew up during apartheid in his country has to do with the 15,000 foster children we currently have in Oregon. But the message was hope. Rhonda Meadows of Portland, made the trip several years ago to Chicago to visit a groundbreaking community that "promotes permanency, community, and caring relationships for adoptive families of foster children while offering safety and meaningful purpose in the daily lives of older adults." Over the 14 years of the Chicago Generations of Hope, 90% of the foster children have been adopted. Rhonda brought back the concept to Portland, the city has furnished the former John Ball Elementary school site, and $3,000,000 has been raised towards the project.
Mark Mathabane didn't kill himself those many years ago. His mother convinced him he had value. Mark painted a picture for us, years from now, where one of the graduates of Bridge Meadows will be standing before us, telling us how they discovered the vaccine for Aids, or changed peoples lives with a book they had written.
Windermere has been raising money for the last three years, through our Windermere Foundation, to fund one of the buildings at the community. I'm proud to donate part of every transaction I have to the Foundation, and to work for a company that is part of my community.