Ability Tree receives $500,000 donation
■ Plans for a new 10,000-square-foot facility were unveiled at the Nov. 4 fundraiser.
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.
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.