Thursday, May 19, 2016

MTE EdFund Luncheon: Part II

The following are my comments from the luncheon.
Delivery time was 7+ minutes.

MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND
Inaugural Luncheon - Wednesday 5/18/16
WOW
That documentary is a tough act to follow. Reliving it always causes my emotions to rise to the surface and it’s not that I am afraid to cry in front of you … it is just that it is very difficult to cry and talk at the same time. 
If I need to, I might stop, take a few deep breaths, but then continue. IF I AM ABLE to get through to the end of my thoughts, I will ask you to raise a glass of Prosecco in a toast.
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Victoria … Members of the Board, Sol, Staff, and Volunteers of La Casa Norte … Student Scholarship Recipients … Family and Friends
I am HONORED, is it humble to say HUMBLED?, and a bit OVERWHELMED standing before you today. 
Welcome and thank you for being here to support the MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND as administered by La Casa Norte.
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Twelve years ago, during the 29th year of our relationship, Gregory and I received the diagnosis of his having Dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s Disease. Knowing that the road ahead would be a difficult one, we recommitted our love to each other saying, “I love you NOWMORE THAN EVER.” 
To this day, since Gregory died on October 4th, in the 41st year of our relationship, I find that I think of him ALL the time, speak OF him and TO him as if he still was present (if only in spirit,) continue to use the word “WE,” continue to speak of him in the present tense, and continue to love him … MORE THAN EVER. 
Yes there IS continued grief and sorrow in the death of a best friend, confident, lover, soul mate, husband … especially after so many years together …but PLEASE believe me when I say that today the feelings of JOY far outweigh the sorrow.
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Gregory and I have been involved with La Casa Norte almost since its inception. We have, like many of you, made donations, attended galas, been part of the silent auctions.
Over time, many clothing donations have been made to La Casa Norte … as I outgrew my clothing … and as Gregory … always the tall thin one … maintained his wardrobe which needed to reflect his profession as high-end architect and interior designer. 
Both Gregory and I imagined with joy, the vision of a young person, coming to the “closet” at La Casa Norte to find a suit for an upcoming interview, only to discover one of Gregory’s donated suits by Armani, Ferragamo, or Gucci waiting for them.
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Much like people talk about what they would do if they won the lottery, MANY YEARS ago, when we were YOUNG, Gregory and I talked about wishing we could help others in a significant way. We talked about how this would look and decided that probably the best way to help was through supporting young people who were seeking to better themselves through an education … but who could not afford to do so.
Last year, when Gregory and I re-visited our wills and re-evaluated our finances and investments, we realized that NOW THAT WE WERE OLD, we WERE in the position of doing good for others, to pay forward our own good fortune.
I called Sol Flores, Executive Director of La Casa Norte, and long time friend, and told her about our decision to make a sizable bequest in our will to La Casa Norte for the purpose of providing funds for educational support to the youth with whom they work. That call was the catalyst for the MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND and this inaugural luncheon.
With the help of a portion of Gregory’s life insurance, I am pleased that we are able to begin providing scholarships and other forms of education assistance NOW and do not have to wait for the bequest to take effect upon my death. 
Gregory and I will continue to support the scholarships given this year, over the next three years, to make sure that the youth beginning their studies will be able to see them through to their completion while the MTE Ed Fund continues to grow and establish itself.
I am SO grateful that La Casa Norte will be helping us fulfill this dream of ours. WE LOVE …  EVERYTHING about La Casa Norte!
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One thought on using the term “homeless youth.” First I want to change the term using a people first descriptor … not homeless youth but rather YOUTH confronting homelessness. 
The label serves its purpose in letting us identify the situation in which these young people find themselves. They do not always know where they will spend the night. They may not know where their next meal will be coming from. They work helping to support their families while trying to continue their education. They look to the future for an improved place in life.
… but these youth are SO MUCH MORE than just “homeless.” I would not want to use the label homeless to classify them and then for us to just move on. 
Like Gregory, who was NOT a VICTIM of Alzheimer’s Disease but rather a HERO … these young people are not VICTIMS of homelessness, which is only one descriptor of who they currently are, but they are amazing HEROS and examples of success as well!
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This inaugural event today, wears Gregory’s and my faces. The MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND is described as “established by Gregory L. Maire and Michael A. Horvich.” Over time the Gregory Maire and Michael Horvich Scholarship Fund will be ONLY ONE of many funds under the umbrella MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND. 
With support FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU and support from the business, religious, education, and social services communities … there will be many other funds under this amazing umbrella legacy whose DEEDS will speak to the great potential available to La Casa Norte. I invite you to join us under the umbrella.
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PLEASE RAISE YOUR GLASS AND JOIN ME IN A FIVE POINT TOAST: 
TO ALL OF YOU … who have supported today’s inaugural celebration of the MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND
…TO A LONG LIFE for the fund and it's ability to provide educational opportunities to youth confronting homelessness
TO LA CASA NORTE for their good works 
TO THE YOUTH here today and the youth joining this adventure, who will take our support and love with them as they study hard and are successful in their endeavors
 … and … TO GREGORY … who in many ways has made this all possible. Thank you so much for being here today and for your support.

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