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Forward Foundation Promotes Ownership

When it comes to helping the needful and underprivileged, social welfare only seems to take us so far. Band-Aid policies that grant assistance help those who require a leg up, but dependence is not independence, no matter how well intentioned. Human beings want to be engaged, and this is where Carolyn Hodge’s Forward Foundation takes assistance one step further.

Forward Foundation is a newly established nonprofit in Eugene that donates mobile homes to struggling but upward-moving families stable enough to take over the necessary finances. The idea, Hodge says, is that ownership instills in folks a sense of engagement and dignity — something sometimes lacking when people get stuck on the cycle of social welfare.

“It’s going to be kept very simple,” Hodge says. “The trailer will be donated to them. The only thing that we really ask in return is two things — that they be willing to donate 15 to 20 hours of their time over the next year toward refurbishing trailers for other people, and then we’ll give them a month to settle down and we’ll have a celebration.”

Bonnie Paquin and Sandy Barnett, the foundation’s other members, are fully on-board with Hodge’s vision. “We’re looking for people who already have some commitments,” Paquin says. “The nice thing about this program is it gives a family a home, so that they can move in and have some of their dreams. This is really a focus for people who are working their butts off. This is an opportunity for them to do that.”

Barnett agrees. “It’s like a hand up to help people who are already struggling,” she says, noting that right now they are building “direct support” from the community through fundraisers and outreach.

Forward Foundation already has a slew of local fundraisers on slate. The Never Ever Band plays a benefit at 8:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 22, at Sam Bond’s; Rocktopia rocks another fundraising event Sept. 28 at Cornucopia on 5th; and a Masquerade Ball is set for Oct. 27 at Cozmic, featuring music from Davy Jones’ Locker Combo, The Effies and Cash Only.

Hodge says she’s hoping to get their first family into a trailer by spring. “I want to bring it nationally,” she says of Forward Foundation.

To learn more about Forward Foundation, visit forward-foundation.org or call 606-9193.