Turning Tragedy Into Hope: One Woman's Journey to Honor Her Loved One

Standard Chartered Founder Talk with Joy Fowler of A MIRacle Foundation, Inc. Moderated by Debra Thomas and Chloe Petrich.

The Standard Chartered Women’s Entrepreneurship Program at the Zahn Innovation Center kicked off its spring speaker series with a Black History Month Founder Talk with Joy Fowler. She is the  co-founder of A MIRacle Foundation, Inc.

In 2012, A MIRacle Foundation, Inc. was formed by Joy and her husband Allen after the loss of their son, Amir. Amir had a neurological disorder, developmental delays, and was deemed medically fragile by age five. He was 13 years old when he succumbed to this degenerative disorder. When he passed away, Joy knew she had to do something for his memory to live on. In Amir’s honor, she decided to create a foundation to help other families, children, and caregivers. 

It started with a one simple initiative, supplying a snack wagon for the medical staff at Randall’s Children’s Hospital, where Amir had regularly frequented for treatments. The doctors and nurses could grab snacks on the go and stay fueled throughout their busy day. This year marks A MIRacle Foundation’s 10 year anniversary, and its impact is seen throughout Oregon. The organization has installed accessible playground equipment for special needs children at a Portland park, helped subsidize medical equipment for families where insurance doesn’t cover the cost, and partnered with the City of Portland to provide 200 children with computers and internet service in a quest to eliminate the great divide. Most recently, they collaborated with Culture City to create a sensory room at the Portland International Airport, for anyone with an invisible disability that needs some down time.

Joy admitted that running a non-profit is challenging, but being a planner by nature has really been an asset. Having spent time carefully thinking about the organization’s purpose and who she wanted to focus on serving has helped them design highly impactful programs. Running an organization with your spouse isn’t for everyone, but Joy and Allen have found a way that works for them. Joy shared, “We operate differently. It is like night and day…We both think our way is the right way, but we let each other move through the process in our own way. We both end up at the same destination.”

To hear the full conversation moderated by Debra Thomas and Chloe Petrich, of Standard Chartered, click here.

The Standard Chartered Speaker Series continues in March, in celebration of Women’s History Month. You can find details of our upcoming events here.

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