Foundation Stories

Motivation for Good

After noticing a slight tremor in his hand, nothing Earth-shattering or overly alarming, Quentin Dastugue was quietly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009. Since that moment, he has made it his life’s mission to raise as much money for Parkinson’s research as possible. And for anyone who knows Quentin and his remarkable wife Penny, when they set their mind to something – it will knock your socks off. Using the NCF as the vehicle, their Kickin’ Parkinson’s Fund has raised more than $300,000 for research efforts last year alone.  

"Our partnership with the NCF has been invaluable in fulfilling our mission to funnel as many dollars as possible to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to eliminate Parkinson’s Disease in our lifetime."

With All Her Heart

Jeremy Hebert, a student at Pine View Middle School in Covington, LA , passed away on September 29, 2011, a day after celebrating his 12th birthday.  Jeremy died in the gymnasium of his school from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).  Jeremy will be remembered for his infectious smile and his two passions, football and playing the drums.  To honor his struggle with heart disease, the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund was established so that future lives could be saved by recognizing the importance of having Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) available in the event of an emergency. The Funds primary mission was the placement of  AED’s in all St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, including supplies and training to make devices operational and functional. 

In March, 2012, just 6 months after the fund was created, every St. Tammany Parish Public School (Elementary, Middle, Junior and High Schools) now had these lifesaving devices.  This was achieved in collaboration and support with the St. Tammany Parish School Board and many generous community organizations and donors. Just two months later, the fund celebrated a life-saving use of an AED on a student at Lakeshore High School.  The Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund honors the staff of Lakeshore High School for demonstrating heroism and skill in the lifesaving use of an AED and CPR.

“Immediately after the death of my 12-year old son from heart disease, God placed a vision in my heart to secure a lifesaving automated external defibrillator (AED) for every St. Tammany Parish Public School. As donations were received, the need for a 501(c)3 fund became urgent. After being introduced to the Northshore Community Foundation (NCF) and recognizing its mission to enhance the quality of life on the Northshore, my heart was filled with peace, confidence, and trust of our funds. With the support of NCF and many generous donors, the students and staff in St. Tammany Public Schools are now ‘heart safe’.” 

—Ann Hebert, Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund

We LIft You Up

"I was looking forward to putting ALL of this cancer stuff behind me. I was prepared to throw out the books, information, hats, scarves, t-shirts; I was ready to rid my life of any and all remembrances of me having breast cancer. I wanted to never talk about it again. However, participating in You Night changed everything, especially how I think about my journey through this disease. Going through the program, I came to see that cancer is a part of who I am, it’s part of my past, and will help form my future.

The inspiring women I met are incredible and have become my newest of friends. We all have a past with commonalities, we have beaten this disease and are stronger, wiser, better women because of it. After this incredible You Night experience, I will no longer hide or tuck it all away trying to forget about it. Instead, I will embrace the fact that I had breast cancer, and actually feel proud to speak of it to let other women see that they too can overcome this disease.

Hopefully one day, breast cancer will be a disease of the past. I now walk into my future with my head held high and yes, my shoulders back!  I also feel that it gave our caregivers at St. Tammany Hospital and MaryBird Perkins the opportunity to see that their efforts and dedication to their jobs have happy endings. I am sure their hearts have felt heavy when their patients lost the battle. This is a wonderful event that stretches far beyond us 23 survivor models. THANK YOU!"  

—Debra Rehage, St. Tammany You Night

Leaving a Legacy

Jinx Vidrine believes that children—the caretakers of our future—must not forget their relationship to the land outside our metropolitan areas. At the Foundation, she created the Legacy School Garden Fund, which brings together master gardeners, teachers and students to plant and harvest vegetables in our schoolyards.

“If we can teach our children to comprehend our total bond to our earth,” says Jinx, “we have succeeded, for then they will take care of it.” Partners include St. Tammany Parish Schools, LSU Ag-Center, Boy Scouts, parents and teachers.

Making Connections

Ironically, when David Fennelly first encountered the Northshore Community Foundation, it was to pick up a check. David was a board member of a local non-profit, New Heights Therapy Center, which the Foundation was supporting with a grant award. The New Heights Board came to meet our Board to accept the donation and visit about each of our missions. A few years later, our Foundation had a donor interested in what New Heights offered. Our donor and staff paid a visit to David and his staff to see firsthand the importance of New Heights’ work. 

From that visit, David realized New Heights needed some strategic thinking for their growth, and he came to the Foundation once again; this time for staff assistance with their organizational evolution. It was during that process that David began to fully appreciate how the Foundation could serve him in yet another way. A few months later, David opened a donor advised fund to partner with the Foundation on his philanthropic journey – not just for New Heights, but in many other ways as well.

That relationship continues to evolve as David uses the Foundation to help him discover and creatively accomplish the impact he wants to have in his lifetime and beyond.

Soaring to New Heights

"In addition to his therapeutic riding on Fridays, my son Walker Haase has been ‘working’ two mornings a week at New Heights Therapy Center. His riding therapist, Rae, clearly cares deeply about trying to "move the needle" with his class.  

I am grateful that every week she is prepared with a lesson that not only builds on our riders’ successes but also addresses areas of difficulty from the previous lesson.  She is a good problem solver and plans with clear intention. Walker has loved his morning job at New Heights and tells everyone about it. He does verbal schedule run-throughs with me several times a week just to confirm that he will be going out to New Heights to work.  

The job skills he is learning out at New Heights will carry over to his vocational preparation in other areas of his life.  One of his greatest challenges is attending and fully completing tasks, and this so much easier when he is motivated. I believe that New Heights has transformed his life and I am so very grateful for that."  

— Mary Ann Haase