MANCHESTER — Eddie B most certainly would have approved.
The Edmund A. Bednarowski Jr. Charitable Foundation — more commonly known as the Eddie B Foundation — is dissolving after 17 years of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for causes throughout the greater Manchester area.
Kara Salvas, Bednarowski’s daughter and a member of the foundation’s board of directors, said the board decided the time was right to end the program, and it has been donating some $340,000 of the foundation’s remaining assets.
“Over the past year or so we were kind of thinking about closing,” Salvas said this week. “We felt that we had done so much good in 17 years, but we had kind of come full circle, and we made the decision to close.”
Salvas said the board chose eight organizations to receive the remaining assets, which were awarded in substantial donations that caught many groups by surprise.
“To end with such an impact is very emotional, but very powerful and meaningful, and that was really what we were going for,” Salvas said.
The Foundation on Wednesday wrapped up its season of giving with a $50,000 donation to Emily’s Place, the shelter for women and their children at the YWCA in Manchester.
“We have invested very well over the years. We took what we had invested and chose eight organizations,” Salvas said. “It’s been an amazing journey,” Salvas said this week. “It has absolutely, for 17 years, been a labor of love for all of us.”
Bednarowski, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Central Paper Products Co., died in July 2001 of an aortic aneurysm at age 58. Known for his philanthropic efforts, Salvas said friends of her dad’s approached the family with the idea of establishing a foundation in his name.
“His loss was felt by so many people. He was a larger-than-life person, and they said ‘We can’t just let this go. We can’t let this be in vain. We have to continue his good work,’” Salvas recalled.
Before the liquidation, the Eddie B Foundation had gifted more than $168,000, plus $79,000 in scholarships, around greater Manchester.
Salvas said the foundation invested well over the years and was able to use a percentage of the interest for the donations and scholarships.
That still left more than $300,000 in assets, which the foundation chose to disperse to groups representing some of Bednarowski’s favorite causes. And because Bednarowski loved Christmas and children’s causes, the holidays seemed like a good time, Salvas said.
“He sort of was Santa,” Salvas said. “After he passed, we had so many people come up to us and say, ‘Did you know what your dad did for me?’ Most often we said, ‘No.’ We had no idea.”
Last week, the foundation presented the Union Leader Santa Fund a check for $10,000. The day before, the foundation announced its plans to dissolve during the WZID “Christmas is for Kids” radiothon benefiting Child and Family Services of New Hampshire. Another $20,000 went to the radiothon the next day, when members of the foundation presented a $30,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Manchester, which has a leadership program in Bednarowski’s name.
The Webster House children’s home in Manchester received $20,000; Liberty House in Manchester, which helps veterans in need, received $40,000; Camp Mayhew on Newfound Lake, for boys in need, received $50,000; and Bedford’s Camp Allen, for people with developmental and physical challenges, received $70,000.
The Camp Allen donation was particularly personal, Salvas said, because her father lost a brother, Robert, who had suffered from muscular dystrophy.
“In those days there was no support for the caretakers. My grandparents cared for him 24 hours a day,” she said. “To give these kids’ and adults’ families some respite, that was really the draw for us with Camp Allen.”