By MATT CRANE
With the help of the Mississippi State Treasury and a team from ABC’s Good Morning America, the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus received quite a surprise earlier this year.
Director of Marketing and Communication for the Palmer Home Katharine Hewlitt said funds were received last year after the passing of one of the organization’s supporters.
“We had a very generous donor who left money in an estate,” Hewlitt said. “That trust matured over about 10 years and was dispersed in Dec. of 2011.”
Unbeknownst to the Palmer Home, Hewlitt said stocks associated with the trust were never to the organizations for which they were intended.
“We were notified in April of some dividend money and that’s how we found the stock,” she said. “The bank that had the trust legally had to turn over the stock to the Mississippi State Treasury office and that’s how Good Morning America got involved.”
As a consumer correspondent for the national morning broadcast, Elizabeth Leamy started her “Show Me the Money” series which reunites everyday Americans find unclaimed funds. According to the ABC website, Leamy claims at least $32 billion in unclaimed funds are being held waiting for the rightful owners.
“The State Treasury has a relationship with Good Morning America and got them involved,” Hewlitt said. “The check we received in the cash value of The Palmer Home’s percentage of that stock.”
Hewlitt said the non-profit organization was thrilled to receive the money that totaled $108, 977 from the Cox family trust.
“It is amazing that people plan ahead and think of us when they pass away,” she said. “It’s nice to be a part of this history coming to life.”
On July 25, Palmer Home families, volunteers and supporters gathered as State Treasurer Lynn Fitch presented the check to Palmer Home President and CEO Drake Bassett, and said she praised the Cox family for their support of organization’s like the Palmer Home.
“They are touching lives through dollars because they believed in the Palmer Home and what you’re doing,” Fitch said. “The Palmer Home touches lives every day…and it warms my heart to see lives changed every day.”
Hewlitt said her work with the Palmer Home as been wonderful and rewarding since starting her job in April.
“It’s a wonderful organization that provides adequate family structure for children who don’t have that,” she said. “It’s amazing to work with the children because they have such big hearts, and not only are they recipients of these generous donations, but they give back to the community as well.”
Hewlitt said she praised the efforts of the house parents for instilling wonderful values in the children the Palmer Home serves, and realizes the greater purpose behind her job and the Palmer Home’s mission at large.
“It’s about bettering the lives of others,” she said. “This job is so much bigger and better than I ever thought it would be.”
The Palmer Home’s story is scheduled to air Monday during the “Show Me the Money” segment on Good Morning America.
For more information on the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, visit http://www.palmerhome.org .