The PETIT FAMILY FOUNDATION exists because of a tragedy: the senseless murders of a mother, JENNIFER LYNN HAWKE-PETIT with multiple sclerosis, and her two daughters, HAYLEY ELIZABETH PETIT, 17, a recent graduate of Miss Porter’s School preparing for her freshman year at Dartmouth College, and MICHAELA ROSE PETIT, 11, a rising 6th grader at Chase Collegiate School. William A. Petit, Jr., husband and father, escaped the basement to seek help with his feet still bound after being beaten with a baseball bat. At the public memorial service graciously hosted by Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT, Dr. Petit asked those gathered to “help a neighbor, fight for a cause, and love your family” to honor the memories of his family and make the world a little bit better place to live.
This dreadful event prompted a flood of generosity, literally from around the world. It was felt that one, central fund could help streamline the donations that were pouring in and allow the family to direct those funds to the causes that they felt would best represent the interests and the example of the Petit women. Appropriate papers were filed with the state and the IRS by Joseph Meaney, Michael Ziebka, and Ronald Bucchi in 2007. By March 14, 2008, the IRS had granted the Petit Family Foundation full 501c (3) status.
From the outset, scores of people have volunteered to help, from the close friends who helped set up the Foundation (PFF), to the friends who ran the first golf tournament in October 2007 and raised over a $100,000 dollars, to the Heslin Brothers who organized the first GE 5k Petit Family Foundation Road Race in July 2008. Thousands donated a dollar, $5 and more; others had whiffle ball tournaments, or accepted donations to the Foundation in lieu of wedding gifts, and many others have donated their time, talent and treasure. The gifts of Cronin & Company were donated to design the distinctive PFF logo of the three doves, a mother bird enveloping the two younger birds in her wing in a heart shape.
Additional funds established include scholarships at Cheshire Academy (in honor of JENNIFER), Miss Porter’s School (in honor of HAYLEY), and Chase Collegiate School (in honor of MICHAELA, KK), and an annual award at Cheshire Academy in JENNIFER’s honor for a student distinguished by helping others and having matured the most over four years. Neighbors and friends, as well as strangers, created gardens at the site of the former Petit home at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive in Cheshire; the Loureiro Engineering Associates built a gazebo in Norton Park in Plainville for all in town can visit, to sit and reflect in memory of the Petit women. Sharon General Hospital, where JENNIFER trained as a nurse, has begun a scholarship in her name; the CT Nurses Foundation is attempting to do the same. Cheshire Academy has created a garden surrounding the Richardson Health Center on the grounds of the Academy, and a private memory garden and patio at the Petit Family home in Plainville in honor and memory of JENNIFER, HAYLEY, and MICHAELA is now in place, thanks to great work done by Old Farms Landscaping of Granby, CT. A well-established fund at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society—Connecticut Chapter, the Hayley’s Hope and Michaela’s Miracle MS Memorial Fund, which is designated to provide scholarships to students with MS or whose parents have MS and to fund family and caregiver education and respite type programs. A Hayley and Michaela Petit MS Youth Award has also been established.
It is our hope, the PETIT FAMILY FOUNDATION goal, that we continue to raise and distribute funds to fulfill our mission to help educate young people especially those with interests in science, to help support those with chronic illnesses, and to help protect those affected by violence. We have all seen the many great things which have been inspired by the lives and memory of JENNIFER, HAYLEY, and MICHAELA PETIT, which enable us in turn to follow their example to help more and more people each year. This is a tall order, and we look to all who care to help us attain these goals.
PLAINVILLE WINGS AND WHEELS
GE 5K ROAD RACE
RIDE FOR JUSTICE
MICHAELA’S GARDEN PROJECT
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Mar 6 - PFF Running Team founder Brian Hetzel's blog about his long trip back
Feb 25 - Daniel Caminiti set for Cycling Fundraiser
Nov 18 - Join the community, contribute to the conversation, and share your thoughts and photos on the Michaela's Garden Facebook Page!
The latest photos & videos are here ELEGY
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