Cranbrook Cares and the S.P.R.I.N.G. Nonprofit

Cranbrook Wealth |

One of the best things about being a part of the team at Cranbrook Wealth, is being able to spend our time and resources on causes that are near and dear to our hearts, and that’s the whole idea behind Cranbrook Cares. We’re able to give back and support causes we love, in ways that are truly meaningful to us and to others, and we’d like to share the story of one of those causes that holds a special place in our hearts.

This special cause is a nonprofit called S.P.R.I.N.G., Special Persons Residents in Need of Guardianship, and for the last five years Cranbrook Wealth has had the honor of providing all their funding. While it’s an honor to be able to provide financial support, it’s the personal time spent here that makes the real difference.

Located in Chapel Hill NC, S.P.R.I.N.G. was founded in 2008 by a group of parents who all had adult children living in the Residential Services Inc. (RSI) group homes in the area.

RSI was founded in 1974 when a group of parents, community leaders and University of North Carolina professionals got together to form a private, non-profit organization to provide group home alternatives to institutional settings for people with developmental disabilities.

RSI has done such a good job that many of its residents have outlived their family members.  For example, RSI resident John was 21 when he moved into an RSI home in 1974. He is 70 today.  His parents are deceased, and he has no other family. 

In situations like this the state appoints a guardian.  Unfortunately, the employee of the state who is managing the guardianship may have a hundred-person case load which makes it impossible for them to know or have a relationship with the ward. That leaves the RSI resident alone in the world with nobody that knows them and their needs.

In 2008 RSI approached a group of parents and asked them to set up a new nonprofit.  The purpose of the new nonprofit, S.P.R.I.N.G., was to save RSI residents from becoming orphaned wards of the state.  Thus S.P.R.I.N.G sprung into existence.

The way it worked for John is that S.P.R.I.N.G., the entity, became his legal guardian while at the same time one board member was appointed as his personal advocate. John's guardian advocate has taken the time to get to know John, making sure to have a visit at least once a quarter. The guardian also makes all of John’s medical decisions and ensures that his daily needs are met. That covers things like a birthday gift, Christmas gift, birthday parties, music therapy classes, bowling outings and many other activities that John enjoys.

The goal of John’s guardian advocate is to make a positive difference by making sure that John has good, thoughtful, individual decisions made about his care.

The result for John and the other wards of S.P.R.I.N.G. is that some of the most vulnerable among us have a good person in their corner, advocating for them personally, instead of becoming just another name on a state case worker’s list.

Cranbrook founder Richard Balamucki is on the board of the S.P.R.I.N.G. nonprofit and is also one of its founding members. Richard’s son Alex is one of the RSI residents, making this a very special cause for Cranbrook Wealth.

Richard became the guardian advocate of RSI resident Rodney, when his original guardian passed away. Richard had known Rodney for 18 years through Special Olympics.  Richard stepped in and took over managing Rodney’s care and making sure that he was getting all the support he needed. This continuity and quality of care is something that very few group home resident across the United States receive, making this a huge blessing for Rodney and the other S.P.R.I.N.G. wards.

One of Richard’s favorite Christmas traditions is requesting that his children buy gifts for the residents of Alex’s home in lieu of buying him a gift. The family then gets together for a gift-wrapping party, spending time together and preparing to make sure all the residents in Alex’s group home have a great Christmas. According to Richard, that’s better than any gift he could ever receive.

Cranbrook Wealth is in the fortunate position to help fund S.P.R.I.N.G., and while we give back in a variety of ways, this cause is one of our most personal.


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