Giving back

The unfortunate illness of a child has led to a million-dollar gift and the launch of the Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley, a newly formed charitable organization.

The gift — $1 million over the next 10 years from the Residence Inn by Marriott and the soon-to-be-constructed Courtyard by Marriott Centerra Park, both in Lebanon – was engineered by hotelier David Leatherwood, whose newborn son developed breathing problems shortly after birth and spent 11 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD). Today he is a thriving six year old, but Leatherwood said he never forgot the extraordinary compassion and expert care his family enjoyed at CHaD.

Wanting to give back to the community that supported his family, Leatherwood and hotel business partner Jenny Williams have established the Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley. Fifty percent of the funding will go to CHaD, and the balance will support other projects that improve the lives of children in the local community through quality health care, child care, arts and educational initiatives.

“We want to create a groundswell of philanthropic support for worthy local causes,” said Williams. “We hope other local businesses and entrepreneurs will follow our example.”

Williams will serve as executive director of the fund.

The Children’s Fund also plans to develop projects that will help educate local youth about philanthropy and community service.

For more information, call Jenny Williams at 802-649-1740. — CK

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