Abil­ity Tree re­ceives $500,000 do­na­tion

■ Plans for a new 10,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity were un­veiled at the Nov. 4 fundraiser.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - From Staff Re­ports

At the sixth an­nual Laugh­a­bil­ity fundraiser on Nov. 4, Abil­ity Tree an­nounced a $500,000 gift from the Soderquist fam­ily. The or­ga­ni­za­tion also un­veiled plans for a pro­posed 10,000-square­foot fa­cil­ity on Tahle­quah Street dur­ing the event.

The fundraiser, held at Sim­mons Great Hall, in­cluded a si­lent auc­tion, din­ner, photo booth and en­ter­tain­ment by co­me­dian Jon­nie W.

The do­na­tion from the Soderquist fam­ily sup­ports Abil­ity Tree’s mis­sion of serv­ing fam­i­lies af­fected by dis­abil­ity and con­tin­ues a new phase of growth for the seven-year-old or­ga­ni­za­tion, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease from Abil­ity Tree.

Jeff Soderquist spoke about the ex­tended fam­ily’s com­mit­ment to giv­ing that they learned from their par­ents, Don and Jo Soderquist.

“The Soderquist fam­ily ac­knowl­edges that our wealth has been en­trusted into our care by the Lord,” Soderquist said. “We re­al­ize and ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity that God has given us as ste­wards of that wealth to be faith­ful. We want to be in­ten­tional in our giv­ing and be proac­tive in look­ing for key op­por­tu­ni­ties. The fo­cus of the Soderquist fam­ily’s giv­ing is to in­vest in or­ga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple that change lives.”

“Abil­ity Tree is deeply grate­ful to the Soderquist fam­ily, and we are hon­ored that they would part­ner with us to serve fam­i­lies in our re­gion,” stated Rod Reed, chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors of Abil­ity Tree.

Af­ter sev­eral years in a small fa­cil­ity in down­town Siloam Springs, Abil­ity Tree has pur­chased land on Tahle­quah Street, across from the high school, for a new, 10,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity that will ap­prox­i­mately triple its ca­pac­ity.

Dur­ing the fundraiser, held at Sim­mons Great Hall, at­ten­dees

took vir­tual tours of the fa­cil­ity through vir­tual re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy pro­vided by the ar­chi­tec­tural firm Har­ri­son French and As­so­ci­ates of Ben­tonville.

“Jen and I are over­whelmed by the gen­eros­ity of the Soderquist fam­ily,” Abil­ity Tree co-founder Joe But­ler said. “We thank God for their in­vest­ment into the mis­sion of Abil­ity Tree to pro­vide needed rest for fam­i­lies im­pacted by dis­abil­ity in the North­west Arkansas area.”

Joe and Jen But­ler moved to Siloam Springs with their fam­ily in 2010 to found the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter sev­eral years of min­istry in New Jersey and Penn­syl­va­nia. Over the course of the past seven years, Abil­ity Tree has de­vel­oped daily afterschool kids’ pro­grams, Fri­day night events that give par­ents rest, in­clu­sive sports leagues, art pro­grams, com­mu­nity events, and sum­mer camps for fam­i­lies with dis­abil­i­ties.

In 2016, these pro­grams served over 80 fam­i­lies in the Siloam Springs area. In 2017, Abil­ity Tree launched af­fil­i­ate branches in New Jersey and Florida to serve fam­i­lies im­pacted by dis­abil­ity in those ar­eas.

More in­for­ma­tion about Abil­ity Tree is avail­able on­line at abil­i­tytree.org.

Im­age sub­mit­ted

An ar­chi­tec­tural ren­der­ing by Har­ri­son French and As­so­ci­ates of Ben­tonville shows the de­sign for Abil­ity Tree’s pro­posed 10,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity on Tahle­quah Street. Plans for the fa­cil­ity were un­veiled at the an­nual Laugh­a­bil­ity Fundraiser on Sat­ur­day night. Dur­ing the evening, at­ten­dees were able to take vir­tual tours of the ar­chi­tec­tural ren­der­ings.

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