Giving Youth the Tools They Need to Grow Their Best
The Roessner Family Foundation was founded in 1996 after my wife, Ellen, passed away. The children and I felt we should do something for others to honor her memory. Ellen was kind, compassionate, and a quiet leader. She loved children and animals. She dedicated her life to raising her children. Her love gave our family a solid foundation from which to grow. This love shaped the focus of our mission…supporting young people in hopes to give them a stronger foundation.
Our foundation's first mission was primary education. This stemmed from my experience with Project Link Community School in Newark, NJ. During the 1980's, I was honored to be a Trustee at Project Link. The founder of Project Link, Sister Vivian Jennings, had a vision of educating youth in inner city Newark. The 1967 civil unrest had devastated the city and Sister Jennings wanted to help heal the city through educating its' youth. She created a caring, private school environment in which these children thrived. She felt that "if you help a child early on, he or she would have a link to a brighter future". Inspired by her hard work and altruistic passion, I was proud to do what I could to help. I watched her vision and philosophy come to light as the graduation rate among LINK students surpassed all the other Newark city schools. This opened my eyes to the need for early education and how it impacts a child's life going forward.
As our foundation has grown, so have our areas and regions of giving. Each of my children have brought their own personal stories and what they care about into our foundation's giving. We have involved the grandchildren and broadened their idea of philanthropy and the world around them. We have also included Ellen's love of animals in our giving. She always felt that animals 'help us'. Supporting organizations in which animals are heroes for children is the most wonderful way to honor her memory.
Over the last 22 years, we are proud to say that we have helped over 72 organizations whose mission is to improve the life of a child through academic, social, emotional or physical well-being programs. Our service areas have included New Jersey, Florida and the New England states. We look forward to supporting many more charitable programs in our areas and regions of giving. I firmly believe that "if you help a child in the beginning, he or she will have a better chance later on in life." We look forward to hearing from you if you share our belief!
John K. Roessner, III
Founder and Board Chairman, RFF