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Winnipeg Sun: Family makes million dollar commitment to DASCH campaign

From L to R: DASCH chair Jack Mutter and DASCH CEO Karen Fonseth along Nancy, Dana and Peter Jessiman hold up a $1 million donation for DASCH’s Double up for DASCH campaign on Thursday, Feb. 15 in Winnipeg. Scott Billeck/Postmedia

Winnipeg Sun February 15, 2018 by Scott Billeck:

The family that helped start a non-profit organization aimed at helping individuals with intellectual disabilities more than 40 years ago left another lasting legacy on Thursday.

The Jessiman Foundation pledged $1 million to DASCH (Direct Action in Support of Community Homes), an organization that began in 1974 with the help of Duncan and Judy Jessiman, two local philanthropists and founders of the Jessiman Foundation.

The donation kicked off DASCH’s ‘Double Up for DASCH’ fundraising campaign. All donations made to DASCH will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Jessiman Foundation up to $1 million.

“It makes a significant difference,” said DASCH CEO Karen Fonseth. “It allows our clients to become more active in our community, have special training, literacy skills as well as keeping all of our homes in a fashion we would like to have.”

DASCH operates out of more than 50 homes spread out over Winnipeg. They provided personalized services for individuals that foster greater independence and new opportunities for people living with intellectual disabilities.

People like Karen Lehr, who lived in a DASCH home for several years.

“When I first moved out, I was heartbroken because I was going to miss my mom and dad,” Lehr said. “With the help of DASCH, it wasn’t so hard. For everything DASCH has given me… I just want to say thank you.”

DASCH has played an instrumental role in the Jessiman family. Duncan and Judy’s daughter Nancy has been a DASCH client for several years.

“It was sort of the impetus for us to get involved, it was so impactful on my father and mother,” said Nancy’s brother Peter Jessiman, who owns Bison Transport. “We never saw DASCH having more than 50 homes, more than 700 clients. It’s just been an incredible success and a big focus for us in our lives.”