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Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs

Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation

The Friendship Circle is pleased to honor the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation for their generous contribution to creating a space where adults with special needs will be able to work.

My father was an unflappable businessman who had a soft spot for helping children and those who were in need. My mother was always on hand to volunteer for community and school functions, and her love of all children was apparent throughout her life. They especially believed in helping the underserved and special needs children.

In 2000, my father was diagnosed with Myelodysplasia, a blood disorder. During his long struggle with this disease, he gained an appreciation for the need to assist physicians and those who are suffering. With the encouragement of his colleagues and family members, he created the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation (VJDF) that would ensure powerful philanthropy for years to come. He died in 2012, but his and my mother’s legacy live on through the philanthropic efforts made by the Foundation. This has been a gift to all of us and I am honored to be able to help so many people in so many ways.

I was first introduced to Friendship Circle several years ago by a fellow VJDF board member. I visited Weinberg Village and observed FC’s Lessons For Life program. Having had experience with friends' children and a family member with autism, I was impressed and inspired by the possibilities that the Lessons for Life program kindled. At the same time, I wondered what would happen to these kids when they grew up. When Bassie and Levi approached the Foundation about the Soul Center concept, I was intrigued and drawn to the idea that we could help adults have fruitful lives despite their disabilities. As a result, in 2014 the Foundation established the $1,000,000.00 Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Soul Studio and Café Endowment.

Lori Dresner, President, Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation

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