What would you do with $100,000? That was the question our firm posed to four hard-working, grass roots organizations back in 2012 as part of our Community Builder Contest. Each group was asked to detail a project that would be greatly impacted by a gift of $100,000. None of the charities even knew what they were being considered for at the time of submitting. We then put the power of the vote into the public's hands. Utilizing our interactive website and large following on Facebook, we asked everyone to not only vote online for his/her favorite cause, but to also share the opportunity with others.
Over 25,000 votes were cast and the three runner-ups plus a write-in candidate were each awarded $25,000. The $100,000 grand prize was snagged by Gaylord Specialty Healthcare who campaigned hard and for good reason. With its grant, Gaylord bought an Ekso bionic exoskeleton: a robotic suit that enables paraplegic patients to walk again.
This motorized suit, built by a California company called Ekso Bionics, is designed to help patients with lower-extremity paralysis or weakness resulting from a spinal cord injury. The device transfers its 50 lb. load directly to the ground, so the wearer doesn’t bear any of the weight. To date, thanks to our grant, Gaylord is the only facility in Connecticut to offer this unique therapy that’s been shown to improve the overall physical and emotional health in patients.
Although chosen by the people, it was a most fitting way for our firm to be able to give back and empower those affected by a catastrophic injury. It was also a breath-taking moment to watch Sarah Anderson, an ambassador for Ekso with a severe spinal cord injury, stand up at our Community Builder Contest celebration and do a live demonstration before a completely awestruck crowd.