When Doug and Diana Berthiaume offered to match up to $500,000 in large gifts from others, they gave Ironstone Farm three years to raise the money.
Less than eight months later, the match was complete.
The Berthiaumes of Andover offered to donate $500,000 to Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm by matching any new gifts of $5,000 or more from individuals. They surprised everyone with this announcement during a Sept. 27, 2013, reception at their home.
The event was the kickoff of a multi-year capital campaign meant to expand the programs and opportunities at Ironstone Farm.
“Through years of riding and volunteering at Ironstone Farm, our daughter opened our eyes to the extraordinary work being done by their talented and caring staff. This local, Andover organization has touched our hearts and we’re very pleased to support it. We’re extremely excited about Ironstone’s potential and future growth,” according to the Berthiaumes.
But no one expected the match to be met so quickly.
“It’s a miracle of miracles that we attribute to an incredibly generous community that rose to this occasion – including our board and advisory board members,” said Executive Director Deedee O’Brien.
The final $25,000 needed was donated by Andy Stevens, whose late husband Ed Stevens served as a mentor and always inspired the nonprofit organization to reach for ever-greater heights.
“It is a major milestone for Ironstone Farm. We couldn’t be more grateful,” said Executive Director Deedee O’Brien.
When the Challenge Grant was first offered, word of the generous donation received significant coverage in the Sunday Lowell Sun and Eagle-Tribune, and in the Andover Townsman.
Through its two therapeutic arms, Challenge Unlimited and Ironstone Therapy, Ironstone Farm serves more than 480 clients a week with the help of more than 200 volunteers.
While its focus has been on children with special needs, newer offers include therapeutic programs for veterans with post-traumatic stress, cancer survivors and others.
Top doctors and major medical institutions refer clients to Ironstone Farm because of its programs and reputation. Peter Raffalli, attending physician for child neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital, is a member of the Ironstone Therapy board, and also attended the campaign kickoff.
“Therapeutic riding uses the horse to deliver traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapy in a unique way – providing integration of fine motor, gross motor, speech and sensory integration in one experience,” says Dr. Raffalli.