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Lifelong inspiration, lasting impact

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Thanks to Fournier Group reaching their 500 votes + shares, Edwards Center won a $10,000 donation from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance to further their mission to enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and help them reach their highest potential. Congrats to the team and thank you for supporting them!

You could say that Dirk Fournier was destined to work with Edwards Center.

In his childhood, Fournier, CEO of Fournier Group in Portland, Oregon, played soccer with a classmate who had Down syndrome—and the two forged a bond he remembers fondly.

Edwards Center founder Jean Edwards and Fournier Group CEO a Resident at a volunteering event
Edwards Center founder Jean Edwards and Fournier Group CEO Dirk Fournier hang out with a Resident at a volunteering event.

A similar story led to the founding of Edwards Center, which enhances the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and helps them reach their highest potential.

Decades ago, founder Jean Edwards met a neighbor with Down syndrome—a lifelong friendship that shaped Edwards’ career path, as she eventually became a Special Education professor at Portland State University. It also sparked her to establish Edwards Center in 1972.

Edwards looks on as Fournier speaks with a Resident at a volunteering event.

Still making an impact

And today, both Fournier and Edwards continue to make an impact for these individuals.

The center serves adults ages 18 and older with autism, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, and other developmental challenges, said Edwards, who now serves as president emerita for the organization. From vocational and recreational programs to housing in group homes, offerings are aimed at long-term benefits—providing participants with the best chance to be a part of the world around them.

“Some come to us who otherwise could face homelessness, or who have an aging parent that can no longer care for them,” she said. “We want to preserve their dignity and independence, while giving them opportunities in all aspects of their lives.”

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Dirk Fournier had the MC duties at the 2019 Annual Luncheon benefitting Edwards Center and held at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

An MC — and much more

Fournier first got involved in 2012, after learning about Edwards Center from a client. For the past five years he has emceed the annual gala, which is the center’s biggest fundraiser. But his volunteering—as well as support from others in his agency—goes far beyond just one event.

“When we help Edwards Center, we know we are making a real difference for a deserving organization and families with crucial needs.”

Dirk Fournier, CEO, Fournier Group

Between 5-10 Fournier Group employees participate in various projects for Edwards Center about twice a year, including book drives, group home renovations, and more. And while COVID-19 limited volunteer opportunities, a group from the agency recently helped staff a vaccination event at the center, monitoring residents for side effects, taking temperatures, and even directing traffic and parking.

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When Edwards Center received the Covid-19 vaccine, Team Fournier showed up to park cars, take temperatures, help with social distancing and paperwork, direct traffic, observe participants after their shots, and safely see them back to their vehicles.

‘Life-changing work’

“When we help Edwards Center, we know we are making a real difference for a deserving organization and families with crucial needs,” Fournier said. “It’s not a household-name nonprofit with a high profile. It doesn’t have a big endowment or operating budget. It’s a local organization that cares deeply about enhancing the lives of the people it serves, and does life-changing work. Jean’s energy is contagious—she and Edwards Center inspire us to do better.”

A 2021 Make More Happen Award—and a donation of up to $10,000 for Edwards Center from Safeco and Liberty Mutual on behalf of Fournier Group—will help make a difference, too.

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When the Edwards Centers' 2020 benefit gala, "Coming Home," had pivot to a virtual event and online auction, Dirk Fournier, CEO (center), stepped in to help host the event. With his help, Edward Centers virtual benefit raised a record $418,514 to help provide a lifetime of hope.

That amount could fund an evacuation and warming center, along with beds and meals, in times of crisis for Edwards Center participants.

“Having Dirk as an advocate has opened so many doors for us,” she added. “He believes in our work, speaks passionately about us, and has helped us reach higher goals. We consider Dirk and the Fournier Group team part of the Edwards Center family.”

Help Fournier Group spread awareness about Edwards Center, and help them win $10,000 at the same time! Use the social share buttons and leave a comment below to help them get to 500 combined votes and comments. Learn more about Fournier Group and Edwards Center.

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Amy McCann
3 years ago

Amazing work!

Paul T Strassmaier
3 years ago

Wonderful people doing amazing things for others!

Gary R Justus
3 years ago

For many years, I drove a bus for young adults like these to take them to and from their homes and their “program,” as they called it. These were the most rewarding passengers of all I had, for they were honest, funny, straight-forward and real people who were coping well with life and their different situations. They had families who cared for them and local organizations to assist them, just like Edwards Center does. EC deserves every bit of help they can get in their noble mission!

Claudia McClain
3 years ago

Great job, Fournier Group! Your community is blessed to benefit from your generous efforts!

Jim Nagy
3 years ago

What an awesome program.

Mary Tomjack
3 years ago

Edwards Center is an example of love in action.

Jason Marquoit
3 years ago

Great program!

Jason Mitchell
3 years ago

The Edwards is a fantastic organization. It is great to see organizations partnering together.

Sally Wilson
3 years ago

What a wonderful mission. Such essential help for people and their entire families.

Carol olson
3 years ago

Great partnership

Lauri Burns
3 years ago

Great opportunity, partnerships supply much needed resources!

Mark Olson
3 years ago

Thank you Edwards Center for the care and support you give my son Darin and the other people

Carol Olson
3 years ago

Community support is so necessary-thank you

Donna Nichols
3 years ago

Fantastic cause! Very inspiring!

Carol Rinnert
3 years ago

A great group doing such important things! Thank you for sharing this heart-warming story.

Jill Mitchell
3 years ago

Such an inspiring story

Michael Rausch
3 years ago

What an uplifting story, it warms my heart to know there are such good people helping to make life better for those that need our love the most.

Sharon Bech
3 years ago

We are so proud to be a part of THE EDWARDS FAMILY! Kimberly Bech& Mom

Kevin K
3 years ago

Great work here

Kristin Parker
3 years ago

So inspirational! The perfect partnership!

Carol Nichols
3 years ago

Great cause

Jane Kleinheinz
3 years ago

Thank you for all you do. Jane Kleinheinz

Angela Hult
3 years ago

With deep gratitude to Jean Edwards and the entire Edwards Center team for their vision, compassion and commitment to people who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. The impact of Edward’s Center is immeasurable.

Alice Wiltshire
3 years ago

My little sis loves attending daily classes at the Edwards. What other “job” allows you to sit around, yak with friends, create art, learn, dance and sing? Thank you, Edwards Center, for all you do.

MaryAnn Bors
3 years ago

Fournier Group is dedicated to serving the lives of people with disabilities. Thank you Dirk and Jean. Together you make the best partnership this community. I have been to those found raisers and you both are amazing people. Many,many blessing and thank you!

Renate Charbonneau
3 years ago

Thank you Fornier Group for your partnership with Edward Center

Betty Golden
3 years ago

Wonderful organization!

Doug Hurlburt
3 years ago

Absolutely amazing work by these amazing people! Thank you for all you do for our community.

Jennifer Hurlburt
3 years ago

The Edwards Center and the Fournier Group – A Wonderful Partnership!

Sigrid Walker
3 years ago

Edwards Center is a wonderful caring organization fot those who need these services. Great caring staff.

Kelly W
3 years ago

The Edward’s Center is an amazing organization

Maxwell Bennett
3 years ago

The Edwards Center is an incredible organization!!!

3 years ago

Thanks for all you do!

Jennifer Hurlburt
3 years ago

The Edwards Center and the Fournier Group – an Amazing Team helping adults with developmental disabilities every day!

Bill Cordano
3 years ago

Wonderful people that care

Kevin Brinkley
3 years ago

Edwards Center has enriched the life of our daughter for years and will so for years to come. That could not happen with out the support of organizations like the Fournier Group and individual supporters like those leaving their comments here and on social media. Thank you all!

John Lee
3 years ago

The Edwards Center has been a fantastic support to our son. We appreciate them from the bottom of our heart!

John R Wilkins
3 years ago

Edwards Center is a vital asset to the community!

3 years ago

Great work!

Mark-Carol Olson
3 years ago

Edwards Center is a blessing to their clients-providing care and support for both client and family-THANK YOU!

Donna Douthit
3 years ago

Edwards Center is fantastic and there is nothing that compares

DONNA Douthit
3 years ago

Wonderful Center

Heather Jarrell
3 years ago

Edwards Center empowers people with disabilities to live lives with meaning. I’m blessed to have learned and grown from my time with them. The way in which the clients, the staff, and the organization are making good things happen is truly inspirational.

Gail Grodem
3 years ago

Edwards is our answer to prayer for our daughter

Gail Grodem
3 years ago

We are Grateful and Thankful for Edward’s

Erin Grodem
3 years ago

An amazing organization and partnership!

Gail Grodem
3 years ago

The Edwards Center is an answer to prayer!

Kevin Maginnis
3 years ago

I like my house and my friends!

Mike Maginnis
3 years ago

Our whole family is grateful for Edwards Center Inc. Thank you for giving him a full and happy life!

Janet Y. Maginnis
3 years ago

Our son is very happy living in an Edwards group home. And we have great peace of mind knowing that his future is safe and secure. This is a blessing beyond words to express.

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