Lifelong inspiration, lasting impact

Fournier Group is spreading awareness for Edwards Center, and it could win the nonprofit double their $5,000 to $10,000 and they need your help. Use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. If they reach a combined 500 votes and comments, they win the donation!

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.

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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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Jean Edwards
19 days ago

Fantastic story! Partnerships are the best!

Greg Kuhns
19 days ago

Fournier Group cares so much about the community, what a great cause!

F Chase
19 days ago

Fournier Group, what a fantastic team!

Rosana Carr
19 days ago

Love the work of the Edwards Center to enrich the lives of others.

Heather Chase
19 days ago

We are so lucky to have Edwards Center in our community!

Trish Evanson
19 days ago

Wonderful organization with a mission of enriching lives that would otherwise be overlooked.

Edwards Center
19 days ago

We are so proud to partner with Fournier Group!

Patrice Kleinheinz
19 days ago

Jean, thank you for founding the Edwards Center. Its has been a blessing to our family.

Michele
19 days ago

What a wonderful place

Heidi Lee
19 days ago

So inspiring! Thank you for all you do!

Alex Lee
19 days ago

Thank you Fournier!

Jim Parker
19 days ago

Two of my favorite organizations! Fournier’s commitment to “insurance for good” and Edwards goal of providing “a lifetime of hope ” for adults with developmental disabilities is truly inspiring!

Kristi Cabrera
19 days ago

I love seeing these community partnerships with the Edwards Center!!

MaryAnn Bors
19 days ago

Don’t know what I would do without you. ❤️

Megan Evanson
19 days ago

A wonderful partnership!

Christiana Borromeo
19 days ago

This is such a great organization!!

Jacob Pierron
19 days ago

It is truly an honor to work with an organization that has such a profound impact on our community.

Patti Vassar
19 days ago

Edwards Center certainly is a gift to their community!

Kurt Reeves
19 days ago

All I got to say is fantastic team, and a fantastic cause to get behind.

TIANNA WILLIAMS
19 days ago

Great work!

Heather Scott
19 days ago

I am so blessed to be a part of the edwards family, I have learned so much in my years here at edwards, it is such a joy for me to see what a positive impact we have in the lives of the people that we help daily. It also is so great to have partnerships with people in the community that support all of us here at edwards center thank you to all who support and have the same believes we do.

Debbie Wolf
19 days ago

Great organization! I worked at Edwards Center for 10 years! They are doing an amazing job providing services and homes for their clients!

Maddie Kelly
19 days ago

Amazing! Sharing now.

Amber
19 days ago

Such an amazing foundation

Bill Cordano
19 days ago

Edwards has been a Godsend to our daughter

Adrienne Little
19 days ago

Thank you Fournier Group and Edwards Center on an amazing partnership to help our community!!

Marlene Cordano
19 days ago

My daughter has been receiving assistance from Edwards Center since she graduated from high school.
A true blessing.

Mackenzie Capasso
19 days ago

Wonderful organization doing wonderful things!!

j roth
19 days ago

Wonderful work!

Conner Williams
19 days ago

Edwards Center is a staple in the local community!

John Dougall
19 days ago

Edwards Center has been an incredibly great blessing to our daughter Alison. How thankful we are for it!!

Chris Petryszak
19 days ago

The Edwards Center is such a worthy organization. Congratulations!

Sharon Bech
19 days ago

This is a fantastic partnership and a wonderful cause!

Jan Crawford
19 days ago

A wonderful place…fun things to do

Judy Powell
19 days ago

Edwards Center provides gold standard homes for individuals with developmental disabilities and works with business partners in the community to place individuals in jobs where they thrive and helps them reach their highest potential. Edwards Center is a “go to” organization – their staff is dedicated to the people they serve, believing in the mission.

Sierra
19 days ago

❤️Truly Inspirational ❤️

J Edwards
19 days ago

Love the story and all those associated with making a difference for this population.

Laurie Chambers
19 days ago

This story defines true community involvement and partnerships

Jeff Greer
19 days ago

Great cause and a great team to work with all the way around!!

LeeAnn
19 days ago

Awesome, Thanks Fournier Group for all you do in the community.

Martin Suter
19 days ago

Thanks, to Jean Edwards and all who support her great cause.

Rebecca Pillon Hash
19 days ago

Great charity, keep up the great work!

Megan Evanson
19 days ago

Grateful to be a part of the Edwards Center team!

Carmen Jacobson
19 days ago

Fournier Group is amazing and what a great cause!

Tim Hagan
19 days ago

Loved this: “When we help Edwards Center, we know we are making a real difference for a deserving organization and families with crucial needs,” Fournier said – what a great cause!

Susan B
19 days ago

The Edwards center provides much needed services for members of the community.

Matt Crosby
19 days ago

Great Article!! Inspiring!!

Ron
19 days ago

Very Inspirational

Marcie Dearing
19 days ago

The compassion and the hearts of all that work here to help our participants is amazing this is the most fulfilling dream come true I am blessed to be a part of all of this family

Nancy Prouty
19 days ago

Edwards has given so much to so many! Let’s give back!

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