In 1996, whilst leading a photographic safari in southern Africa, Paul Templer was attacked by an enraged hippopotamus. As a result, his left arm ended up being amputated and his life was ripped apart. In 1997, Paul Templer met with Dave Williams, a successful businessman and philanthropist in Michigan, USA; Dave had the vision, drive, wherewithal and competence to establish Make-A-Difference as a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Dave and Paul started Make-A-Difference, primarily to service the needs of amputees (mostly children who were land mine victims) in southern Africa.
Dave and Paul’s collaboration led to an international fund-raising event called the ZZAM expedition. This publicity campaign was chronicled globally by various news agencies (print, radio and television) and became the launching pad for all future Make-A-Difference endeavors.
In 2005, Paul’s four-month-old daughter Erin had surgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan to remove a brain tumor. The surgery didn’t accomplish everything they’d hoped it would. Being exposed to this population (terminally and chronically ill children and their families), particularly those living below the poverty line, inspired our current focus – including our efforts relating to people living with PTSD.
By 2008, Make-A-Difference had established itself and was regularly providing financial, material and pragmatic support to various programs around the world, most notably:
- Supporting terminally ill children in Detroit, Michigan U.S.A.
- Supporting disabled and terminally ill children globally (Currently in Africa and South America)
In order to address the concerns of a rapidly changing world, in 2008 Make-A-Difference was re-chartered and renamed the Templer Foundation and began an evolution to respond to ever increasing and demanding need. To do this, a new board agreed to assume responsibility for ensuring that the spirit of Make-A-Difference would continue and that the Templer Foundation would be able to respond to those in need; filling in the gaps as we find them so that people can live with dignity.
- 2015 – Present. Erin’s Light – the Templer Foundation’s Early Intervention Program was launched in Zimbabwe, Africa – see video) In the developing nations when a special needs child is born into a family – who are often barely surviving themselves – the child’s chances of surviving, let alone thriving given their challenges, aren’t great. The chances of the family or the child living with dignity, remote. Added to which, the stress and sadness experienced by the affected parents is a burden, many of us in the so called developed nations, can hardly imagine. Knowing that something is wrong with their child and not knowing what it is or what they can do to help their children places unimaginable additional stress upon the parents and affects the way that they interact with each other and their family at large; lowering individually and collectively their chances of survival. Erin’s Light – the Templer Foundation’s Early Intervention Program has been successfully piloted and launched in Africa (Zimbabwe) and South America (Nicaragua) – informing and educating parents and heath care providers to provide basic support in diagnosing and addressing the needs of special needs children so that the children and their families can optimize the opportunities at hand and enhance the dignity of all parties concerned. To date over x-thousand people have benefited directly from the programs and both the content and the footprint continues to evolve and grow.
- 1998 – Present. Ad Hoc: Help where needed – usually emergency medical; education and healthcare support. Illustrative examples:
- In Africa (Zimbabwe), we have provided financial and practical support to existing programs that support disabled and terminally ill people, primarily lepers, amputees and AIDS orphans. We’ve provided and continue to provide prosthetic supplies and financial support for extremely disadvantaged people (+/-$500,000 worth of support).
- In Detroit, the limited financial and pragmatic support we have provided to a local nonprofit service provider, enabled the program to continue to support terminally ill children and their families who live below the poverty line.
- We’ve made financial donations to Children’s Hospital of Michigan and supported various other worthwhile endeavors (including ad hoc projects).
- An example of an ad hoc project: We were able to provide financial support to a 10-year old terminally ill child who was eligible for experimental cancer treatment in Texas but could not afford the travel costs to take advantage of that opportunity. Coordinating with Children’s Hospital of Michigan, we enabled his mother to take him to – and stay with him – whilst he was undergoing his treatment at the hospital in Texas. Though the treatment was ultimately unsuccessful and the child died, he and his mother were able to move through the process with dignity.
- Partnership with Kids Wings to provide free air transportation to terminally and chronically ill children to distant medical facilities when commercial air transportation is either unaffordable or impractical.
To date the Templer Foundation has relied exclusively upon volunteerism and has been funded primarily by the Templer family with additional support coming from self-generated capital projects, private donations, corporate sponsorships and special events.
The Templer Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our primary purpose is to provide financial and practical support to people in need.
© 2019 The Templer Foundation
Making a change one step and one action at a time.