$21.5 Million Gift

Historic Endowment Donation

November 18, 2020 – Berwyn, PA, Andover, MA, Charlotte, NC


Melmark is pleased to announce the receipt of a $21.5 million endowment gift from the Anne and Brutus Kenan fund to further secure the not-for-profit organization’s mission well into the future. Melmark provides clinically-sophisticated evidence-based special education, residential, vocational and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, developmental and intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries and other neurological and genetic disorders. The historic and generous endowment gift is from two siblings whose lives have been transformed by Melmark’s programs and establishes the Anne and Brutus Kenan Fund.


Anne and Brutus have benefited from a life well lived within the Melmark community, as a result of the compassionate care provided by Melmark’s highly skilled workforce. The brother and sister have reached their best outcomes while supported by staff who maintain a steadfast focus on integrity in everything they do through the use of evidence-based practices.


The gift honors and recognizes the joy Anne and Brutus bring to all they meet. The establishment of this fund will allow Anne and Brutus’ lives to continue to positively impact countless other individuals who need and deserve Melmark’s specialized evidence-based programs. As expressed by Anne and Brutus’ family, “it is a circle of deep gratitude for Melmark’s passion and commitment to those they serve” that made this gift possible. “We look forward to the day when major gifts to organizations serving individuals with disabilities are normalized and just as common as major gifts made to other educational institutions.”


This transformational gift will provide the foundation for Melmark’s campaign to increase its endowment with a primary goal to ensure the future of adult services, while continuing a deep commitment to honor all individuals with disabilities served at the not-for-profit organization and beyond. Melmark has remained a tireless advocate for national policies ensuring adults with intellectual disabilities and autism have the right to live in high-quality settings of their choice with access to appropriate funding for these life-supporting services. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the significant need for in-person high-quality day and residential programs for individuals such as those Anne and Brutus receive at Melmark.


Rita M. Gardner, M.P.H., LABA, BCBA, President and CEO of Melmark, thanked the family for their commitment to both the adults and children served at Melmark through this generous gift which will reap results for years to come. “We are humbled by the responsibility to steward this gift for future generations of Melmark. It honors Anne and Brutus’ lives and the dedication of so many staff, who have worked tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gardner. She added, “We are beyond grateful for this silver lining of the pandemic which will lift us all up and forward as we navigate Melmark’s future.”


Melmark has expended more than $2.9 million in COVID-19 related costs while providing in-person services. Expenses range from virus mitigation measures and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff bonus or ‘hero’ pay and technology purchases to ensure a continuum of services when individuals are unable to attend in-person programming.