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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Andrew Gritzmaker, left, head of Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House, accepts a check from Mad Anthonys President Mike Wallace on Wednesday.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 1:00 am

Mad Anthonys donate $125,000 more to Hope House

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

With the addition of a $125,000 check, Mad Anthonys has now donated nearly $2.5 million toward the Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House through the Red Coat Dinner and Charity Golf Classic.

The check was presented to the house – which provides a home-like environment for families of critically ill or injured children – in a ceremony on the Lutheran Hospital campus Wednesday, exactly a week after Hope House Executive Director Andrew Gritzmaker finished his 31-day, 4,164-mile journey across the United States on his bicycle.

“It feels so good to be back home,” Gritzmaker said. “Being on the road for 31 days, traveling 4,164 miles, to be exact, you really appreciate the comforts of familiarity of friends and family.

“I wanted to draw the parallels of what our families experience and what this ride kind of thrust me into. I found a lot of hospitality on the road that made the comforts of being out there so long bearable.”

Mad Anthonys and the Hope House have been partners since 2007. Previously, the Mad Anthonys fundraiser donated money to more than 100 charities around the area.

To date, the total raised over 61 years has exceeded $5 million.

“In 2007, when we entered into this arrangement with Mad Anthonys, what we were provided was instant notoriety in the community partnering with an organization with 50-plus years of philanthropic tradition,” Gritzmaker said. “It's a name that we're proud to carry, and our families benefit from their support each year.”

The funds this year were raised during the Red Coat dinner June 22 where

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and local businessman Doug McKibben were honored.

The dinner was followed by the charity golf classic at Fort Wayne Country Club the next morning.

“One of the biggest things we're proud of, through the generous donations of our sponsorships, Lutheran Hospital and Frontier Communications, every penny from our Red Coat dinner goes directly to the Hope House,” Mad Anthonys board President Mike Wallace said.

The funds raised go toward keeping the Hope House and its operations debt free, as well as helping provide expansions or projects related to the house.

“These funds each year are utilized in the capital capacity,” Gritzmaker said, “so if we need to put on a new roof or new flooring like we did last year, we don't have to take on a loan. We can remain debt free.”

“(Mad Anthonys') support has really helped the long-term viability of the house be insured. We're ready for any circumstance.”

Gritzmaker added that Mad Anthonys and Foellinger Foundation have helped in the addition of a second location at St. Joseph Hospital.

“We're also looking at future sites,” he said. “It's a work in progress, but we know there are families here that still have unmet needs when it comes to hospitality services.

“We're committed to try and make sure that every family will have a place to stay when they have a sick or injured child.”