April 2022 Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 4
Message from John Laine
TRP's Executive Director
Dear Friends,
As we move into the pleasant spring weather it should get easier to pull volunteers together to build ramps. I was able to get volunteers to help with a ramp near Texarkana last Saturday and the client was extremely happy to be able to use a new four-wheel scooter that he had been unable to effectively use outside of his home.  
Unfortunately, these ramps will be used even after a fall may have taken place. Let’s try to eliminate as many of those as we can. While these unsafe ramps are a stopgap solution for the client, we know these can be worse than no ramp at all – too steep, no handrails and usually poorly supported.
Most gratefully, John
New Faces
TRP is pleased to announce three new coordinators. Tammi Ellison has stepped into the coordinator position in the Abilene region. She replaces Kelly Jones. Will Reese has replaced Tom McAllister in Hunt County, in the North Central Texas East region. And Michael Noell is assuming responsibility for Rains County in the East Texas Emory region, replacing Gene Strause.

Welcome Tammi, Will and Michael, and many thanks to Kelly, Tom and Gene for their many years of service to the Texas Ramp Project.
March Grants and Donations
Elo Zinke, a long-time and good friend of the Texas Ramp Project, passed away on February 19 in Avinger. Elo was a private plane enthusiast and graciously lent his hangar as a warehouse for the Texarkana East region.

Elo’s family suggested memorials to the Texas Ramp Project, and more than $5,000 has been received. A wonderful tribute to a fine man.

Other grants and donations received in March are as follows:

  • $35,000 for statewide use from the Harry E. and Eda L.Montandon Charitable Trust.
  • $15,000 for Amarillo from the Mary E. Bivins Foundation.
  • $6,000 for Austin East from Fayette Resale, Inc. Second Chance Emporium.
  • $5,000 for Austin North from Georgetown Health Foundation.
  • $2,000 for San Angelo from the First United Methodist Church.
  • $1,500 for San Antonio Central from Oak Hills Church.
  • $1,500 for Dallas from the TI Foundation.
  • $1,500 for Austin Central from Rotary Club of Austin Southwest.
  • $1,000 for San Angelo from the Eldorado Game Association.
  • $1,320 for Hunt County from the Golden K Kiwanis Club.
  • $1,222 for Houston from Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.
  • $750 for Austin East from Colorado Valley Telephone Cooperative.
  • $500 for East Texas Jacksonville from Woodman Life Texas Chapter 303.

Volunteer of the Month
Don Barlow
Coordinator, Austin West Region

Don Barlow is a jack of all trades. He has worked in a variety of fields, including land surveying, home remodeling and construction, music engineering and management, and the entertainment industry. As Austin West coordinator, he does the same variety of things, from site surveys to procurement to bookkeeping to, yes, weatherman.
Don built his first ramp, for a disabled veteran, on Veterans Day in 2010. He was immediately hooked. A year later he was managing the region. Over the years, the Austin West region, which includes Burnet, Llano and Blanco counties, has provided over 200 ramps, including 32 last year despite the pandemic.
Don’s outreach does not end with the Texas Ramp Project. He began taking Red Cross training classes in 1998 and became part of the local disaster response team. A year later he qualified to respond to major national disasters and has been involved in dozens of events over 20 years, including every major hurricane and many western fires. He was assigned to Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11.
Don is joined in these missions by Julie, whom he married in 2003. Julie was a widow with seven children, four of whom were adopted. She had also welcomed about 40 foster children over the years. Don gained a ready-made family that now counts 20 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Click on the text link as you don't want to miss the "rest of the story."

Texas Ramp Project Insurance Policies
At our recent Statewide Conference in Austin several of you asked me about the type of insurance the Texas Ramp Project carries. I am also often asked for a certificate of insurance that we need to show to a mobil home park owner before we can build a ramp within their park. Additionally, all AAA organizations within your regions will require a certificate of insurance as well as some other agencies with whom we work.
We currently carry $1,000,000 single occurrence liability insurance and we have an accidental injury policy covering anyone who is hurt while building on one of our ramp sites. This does not cover travel to or from the site, but is will cover any accident that occurs on the build site itself. 
To make it easier to obtain a copy of our liability insurance certificate, we have posted it on the website where it can be reviewed and printed if you need a copy. If you have any questions about our insurance coverage or have an accident on a build site, please give me a call or send me an email.
It was wonderful seeing and visiting with many of you in Austin … what a great gathering that was. As always, many thanks for all you do.
Garner McNett
President, Board of Directors
Tel:  972-693-4099
Email: garnermcn38@gmail.com
National Volunteer Month
April is National Volunteer Month. The Communities Foundation of Texas kicked off the month in Dallas on April 1 with a networking event to match up nonprofits with companies looking for service opportunities. TRP’s Garner McNett and Kay Champagne attended, finding interest in our work among both businesses and other nonprofits.

Gary Stopani and the Dallas region have participated in CFT’s National Volunteer Month celebration for the past five years. This year the Dallas region was specifically requested by Texadia Systems, which built three ramps last September 11 in honor of Freedom Day. Texadia will build three ramps with TRP on April 13.
Kay happily talking about TRP
Garner and Kay
Everyone is having a great time
Funding Opportunities
Call on Banks for CRA Funding
We are just starting to explore working with banks to claim some funding through the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA is a federal regulation that was first passed in 1977, requiring national banks and certain others to invest in their communities. They do this either by providing loans in low-income neighborhoods or by partnering with nonprofits that provide housing assistance to low-income families.
Like Habitat for Humanity, the Texas Ramp Project is eligible for this funding.
This year we will be working with larger banks to see if we can secure some of this CRA funding. We have been advised that we should focus on their branches in small cities, towns and rural areas.

So for you at the regional level, give some thought to calling on banks when you go looking for local funding. Ask for their CRA officer or compliance officer. Tell them our story, provide brochures and fact sheets, and stress that we are CRA-eligible. This may help you get some funding at the local level.
A Tax-Saving Way to Donate
Did you know that you can tap your Individual Retirement Account when you give to TRP or any other nonprofit organization? If you are an IRA owner age 70½ or older:

  • You can transfer any amount up to $100,000 per year directly to a nonprofit organization.
  • Your gift is excluded from your adjusted gross income.
  • You pay no income tax on the distribution.
  • If you are required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), your gift can satisfy all or part of your RMD obligation.
This popular gift option is commonly called the IRA charitable rollover, but you may also see it referred to as a qualified charitable distribution, or QCD for short. Since the gift doesn’t count as income, it can reduce your annual income level. This may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.
It never hurts to consider all your options when you consider your charitable giving. IRA is a very viable and tax-effective choice.
Sunny Smiling Faces from Many Organizations
Social Media Editor: Madison Lopez
The sun is out, and so are our volunteers. This past month, many organizations and individuals shared online their wonderful builds and fun moments of service. These posts featuring TRP garnered an audience of nearly 3,000 people. Way to go!
From college groups to churches, and new and old volunteers alike -- everyone wanted to take advantage of the blue skies and spring weather in their photos. Because we had so many wonderful posts this past month, we've decided to share some of our favorites.

If you haven't followed some of these groups, find them on Instagram or Facebook through their names and handles listed below. We want the TRP community to connect with one another, and connecting virtually is one of the many ways we can create a community.
Thank you to everyone who participated in sharing their photos this month. You made TRP look good thanks to your smiling faces.

Remember to continue tagging TRP in your posts, mentioning us in your comments, and using the hashtags #TRP and #TexasRampProject.
Featured social media posts caome from:
  • Quorum Architects: @quorumarchitects
  • CoServe: @coserve
  • UT Health San Antonio's Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2024: @uthealthsa_dpt2024
  • Hill Country Region PCA: @hcrpa
  • East SA CDC: @eastsacdc
Remember, you can use the hashtags #TexasRampProject or #TRP to share with our community. Tag us in your photos, and follow us here:
Building Basics - Switchbacks
by Roy Harrington

Ramp of the Month
Tarrant County
Little Louise S. is an infant whose family currently uses a stroller to transport her. Louise has multiple disabling conditions and requires numerous pieces of medical equipment. As she grows, she will need to use a wheelchair. Not having ramp to help the family safely navigate the steps at their home with Louise was dangerous. The family now has a new 16-foot ramp from their back door to their car. Four volunteers from Gateway Church donated 10 hours of labor to build Louise's ramp. The referral was from Cook Children's Medical Center.
Pass the Newsletter On to Others
Also, do send email addresses of people in your region who should be receiving it, along with their name and TRP region, to Sandy Knutson at sjkbits@aol.com.

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The newsletter only does its job when it is dispersed and shared with all who might be interested. We encourage you to liberally pass it on to others in your region.