Donor Profiles

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Click on the name to read each profile

Genevieve "Gez" Ebbert - Planned Gift

Genevieve “Gez” Ebbert has a long family connection to The Children’s Institute dating back to our founding. Gez’s great-grandmother, Mrs. James I. Kay, was one of the original organizers of The Industrial Home for Crippled Children in 1902. Mrs. Kay was also the third Board Chair from 1915-1918. In fact, many of Gez’s family members have been deeply involved at The Children’s Institute including four other Board Chairs, as well as current Vice Chair of the Board Lisa Fagan and Associate Board member Anne Ebbert Sullivan. In addition, Gez is related to the Nimick family and is proud of the family legacy created at The Children’s Institute through The Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden.

Gez recently notified The Children’s Institute that she plans to continue her family legacy by providing for our amazing kids through her estate. While Gez notes that her family connections are an obvious reason to include The Children’s Institute in her estate plans, she was actually inspired to do a planned gift as a result of her career as an educator. During her 40 years as a teacher, Gez taught over 6,000 elementary children. Many of her students had special needs including autism, Down Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome and other medical complexities. Gez says that “a great part of my passion for teaching had to do with the love and challenges of dealing with these special children, and any financial contributions I am able to make to The Children’s Institute through my estate plans are therefore most appropriate.” With her estate gift, Gez joins the Mary Irwin Laughlin Society — a most appropriate membership given her ties to our founding.

Pirates Charities – Foundation Gift

Pirates Charities are generous supporters of The Children’s Institute, raising approximately $260,000 for the organization over the past three years. Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle, whose young daughter has Prader-Willi syndrome, brought the Wins for Kids program with him when he joined the Pirates’ organization in 2010. Each season since then, fans pledge a dollar amount for every Pirates’ win, and the funds are shared between Pirates Charities and The Children’s Institute. Wins for Kids supports our The Children’s Institute’s Center for Prader-Willi Syndrome. The Pirates’ support of The Children’s Institute doesn’t stop there. Recently, Pirates Charities presented The Children’s Institute with a $200,000 grant from the proceeds of the annual Pirates Auction on ROOT SPORTS, a live on-air auction at PNC Park in August. This generous grant was used to support The Children’s Institute’s Centers of Excellence, including specialized programs for Prader-Willi syndrome, acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, and autism. There’s even more – for the past two years, the Pirates have hosted The Day School’s entire senior class for a VIP experience at a spring game. Pirates Charities has been an Amazing Donor to our amazing kids.


Quincy's Quest - Community Fundraiser

Quincy Sims was born on a Wednesday. Two days later, doctors told his parents he had suffered a stroke that affected 60 percent of his brain, leaving him blind and deaf.

“They gave us timelines for when he was going to die,” said his mother, Jessica. “My husband and I were like, ‘We really think you’re wrong.’ Our work, our community, were praying for us, praying for Quincy. We wanted to do something to pay them back. So, that’s why we do Quincy’s Quest.”

Quincy just celebrated his fourth birthday in May with the Quincy’s Quest fundraiser, where more than 120 runners raised an estimated $2,100 to benefit The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. Though he did not run, the Sims family hopes he will walk someday.

“Through Quincy’s Quest, the Sims family is introducing a whole new audience to The Children’s Institute’s mission, while raising funds and awareness for our amazing kids,” said Emily Peters, Director of Development at The Children’s Institute. “We deeply appreciate them and the time and effort they devote to organizing this important community event.”

The 5K event took place at Shawnee Lake in rural Bedford County, Pa. And some of the participants were rather intense, Jessica said.

“People are very serious about their [5K] times,” she laughed. “A runner came in at 20 minutes, 21 seconds” – a seven-minute mile – “and he was proud he did that well.”

Though Quincy gets physical therapy at The Children’s Institute, he doesn’t see occupational therapist Tess de las Alas. That didn’t stop the Bedford County native from trekking to her former stomping grounds to take part in Quincy’s Quest.

“Right before the race, Quincy’s dad said a few words about The Children’s Institute and they were nothing but kind, good words for the therapists he’s had,” Tess said. “I thought that was important because that part of Pennsylvania doesn’t know much about The Children’s Institute but we do get a lot of patients from there.”

Raymond "Ray" Wojszynski - Individual Gift

Raymond “Ray” Wojszynski made his first gift to The Children’s Institute in January 2017 and has already made four additional gifts since then! In such a short period of time, Ray has emerged as a passionate supporter of children with special needs, as well as music therapy. He has combined his interest in these two areas with philanthropic support for The Day School’s music education program and The Hospital’s music therapy program. In the past two months, Ray has donated new musical instruments and an iPad for The Day School. He is also providing drum lessons for students in The Day School, as well as sponsoring the Café Concert series for the Adult Prep Program. His largest gift to date came on March 7th when Ray gave $15,000 to cover the cost of music therapy in The Hospital. Ray shared that he is personally using music therapy to recover from the recent death of his wife of 30 years, and he decided that he would like to give the gift of music to children with special needs to honor his late wife’s values of giving back and helping others. Ray worked in sourcing, mainly as a buyer of metals, for Westinghouse, later Curtiss Wright, most of his career, and he volunteers for the VA Hospital now that he is retired. The Children’s Institute gladly welcomes Ray to our community and deeply appreciates his generosity to our amazing kids.

The Buncher Company - EITC Gift

Did you know that The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is an approved Educational Improvement Organization (EIO) and can receive gifts through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program? Corporations and business can purchase tax credits that may be applied against the tax liability of a business for the tax year in which the contribution was made.

The Buncher Company recently gave a $10,000 gift through EITC based on The Jack Buncher Foundation’s involvement with our organization. Donations such as this fund our Kids on the Block and Amazing Kids Workshops programs, which show students how people with physical and/or learning disabilities are just like everybody else, even though they face a distinct set of challenges.

Kids on the Block (KOB) uses interactive puppetry to teach children about disabilities. Informative and engaging skits show children with disabilities as active participants of society. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer period at the end of each program. Last school year, KOB served 7,159 children in grades K-5 in 25 schools from 15 school districts in western Pennsylvania.

Disability physiology is a key component of the Amazing Kids programming for middle school students (as well as a component of Kids on the Block). Amazing Kids Workshops and Assemblies (AKWA) employ short videos, simulation activities, guided group discussions and follow-up assignments to help students identify and empathize with peers who have physical, learning and other types of disabilities. Social issues affecting youth with disabilities are also explored.
Last school year, Amazing Kids programming nearly doubled the number of students served to 6,436 youth in grades 6-8 in 19 schools and 14 school districts in western Pennsylvania. The following disabilities were highlighted in AKWA: dyslexia, dysgraphia, spina bifida, deafness and traumatic brain injury. We also implemented a program with a greater focus on understanding autism. 

Please be in touch with Laura Sohinki, Corporate and Foundations Relations Manager, at or 412-420-2205 for more information about making an EITC donation or if you have a suggested business or corporation we should contact.

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