What happens when a foundation takes on a life of its own? The Travis Roy Foundation story

July 27, 2016

Travis Roy’s story is well known: in 1995, the rising college hockey star suffered an on-ice injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down after only 11 seconds of his first Boston University game. That tragic accident ended Travis’ hockey career, but it marked the beginning of his decades-long commitment to helping others through the Travis Roy Foundation.

The Foundation’s fundraising ambitions were modest in the early days. The hope was to keep Travis’ name associated with positive works while raising enough in donations to assist those in need of adaptive technology.

But sometimes, deeds take on lives of their own. Travis’ popularity, charisma, and dedication to his mission elevated the Foundation, and he surpassed his initial fundraising goal after a few years. Friends and strangers enjoyed his events and his presence and joined him in giving back. In twenty years the organization has raised and granted millions to aid both individuals and research programs.

As the Foundation grew, Travis faced a critical question: how can a grass roots organization powered by volunteers manage growth and sustain its impact without a sophisticated support structure?

The friends and family team behind the Travis Roy Foundation faced this challenge with the same resolve as its leader. They viewed each milepost of growth with these keys to success in mind:

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