Making a Lasting Impact:
Don and Margo Blumenthal
Margo Blumenthal recalls fondly a certain brainstorming session during a ChildServe Board of Directors retreat in the early 1990s. ChildServe had recently added a number of services, including an adaptive equipment line and the acquisition of the Des Moines Hearing and Speech Center.
Under the vision and leadership of newly appointed president and CEO, Lloyd VanderKwaak, the organization was on the cusp of unprecedented growth and expansion of services, transforming the former Convalescent Home for Children into what is today the largest pediatric rehabilitation center of its kind in the Midwest.
“At that retreat, we came up with the idea that eventually led to the formation of ChildServe‘s respite program, says Margo. “Caring for a child with special healthcare needs is a tremendous responsibility. Caregivers need a break from the day-to-day demands of such. That’s where respite can help.”
With generous support from Margo and her husband Don, ChildServe launched a respite program that today provides relief to more than 700 families who have children with special healthcare needs. Under the program, respite care is provided to children to give families a break from the challenges of caring and supporting their child with special healthcare needs.
Making a profound impact on central Iowa nonprofit organizations and the individuals they serve has become habit forming for the Blumenthals, who generously support many local charities.
“That’s what makes our community so vibrant and such a great place to live,” says Don. “We made our living here, and we want to give back here. And ChildServe is one of our top causes.”
“That’s what makes our community so vibrant and such a great place to live. We made our living here, and we want to give back here. And ChildServe is one of our top causes.”
A Des Moines native, Don was introduced to the scrap metal business by his father and learned the trade from the ground floor up by driving and unloading trucks. After 35 years in the steel distribution business, the company was sold. Since then, the Blumenthals have launched and operated other successful businesses from office equipment to storage facilities.
The couple was introduced to ChildServe through Margo’s association with Junior League and from a friend, the late Lou Pomerantz, a former ChildServe board chair, volunteer and benefactor.
The Blumenthals now rank among ChildServe‘s largest cumulative donors and recently became members of the ChildServe Legacy Roll of Honor, a society established to recognize those individuals and families who have included the organization as a beneficiary of their estate plan. The future provision will establish an endowment designed to provide resources in perpetuity.
“As we enter this phase of life, it is important to create something that will have a lasting impact, and establishing an endowment through our estate plan is the best way to achieve this goal,” said Don.
Since beginning services at ChildServe at nine months old, Rylie has attended occupational therapy and physical therapy to help improve her independence and range of motion. At the recommendation of her therapy team, Rylie began an intensive eight-week therapy program in November 2016 in addition to her weekly therapy sessions.
A Special Birthday Gift In 2015, ChildServe in Ames received a special birthday present fit for a 15-year milestone. Reece Sodders, an Eagle Scout from the Ames area, chose to make a uniquely accessible picnic table for the ChildServe - Ames respite center as part of...
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ChildServe improves the health and well-being of more than 4,500 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, acquired injuries, and other special healthcare needs.