Good People, Good Causes: The Bridge Fund
Writer / Kathi Moore
Sometimes a charity exists in a covert manner, quietly funding the needs of others, allowing them to thrive better in the community.
Such is the case with The Bridge Fund, a Lawrence-area nonprofit organization that is loosely attached to the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township Foundation and “connecting deserving students with opportunity.”
Three years ago, Chad McCune’s father, Dr. Bob McCune, DVM passed away, leaving behind a legacy of volunteer work with the Lawrence Exchange Group, a service group. He challenged Chad and longtime friend Mark Pressley to continue his work with youth locally rather than globally.
The men started hearing stories. Stories about good kids who made decent grades despite often having to overcome some enormous odds against them.
One pair of siblings walked more than a mile to high school each day from their motel-home, worked two jobs each, yet still managed to maintain a B average in their classes.
A counselor told them about another teen who came into her office one morning and as they talked, he consumed half of the Twizzlers in her jar. When asked if he had eaten, he told her the free lunch at school was the only meal he got every day. Still another student was living last winter in an unheated barn.
“Many of these kids quit school by their junior or senior year to go to work,” Pressley explained. “We want to be their advocate, to help them stay on task through graduation.”
That’s what The Bridge Fund does. It opens small accounts at Lawrence Central, Lawrence North and McKenzie Center to work with the counselors and teachers in each school. An athlete who can’t afford cleats might be granted the money to buy some, caps and gowns are frequently funded, SAT/ACT fees, calculators, specialty tools like stethoscopes and even prom tickets.
But it’s very covert. Pressley is adamant about not embarrassing the kids. The Bridge Fund wants to give a boost to otherwise good and deserving teens, and allow them to participate in school activities.
“If every person helped just one other person…” Pressley suggested. “We concentrate on those kids who will have a better chance at success if they’re more involved at school, as not all can afford to pay the fees for extra-curriculars.”
Otherwise, there are no specific guidelines. Recipients are usually identified by counselors or teachers as, “kids you’d personally reach into your pocket to help.”
“I can’t say no,” admitted Pressley.
If you’d like to help, donate at BridgeFundIndiana.org. Or join them on Sept. 18 at the 2nd Annual Golf Outing at Pebble Brook with help from Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri. The golf outing honors Dr. Bob McCune and all dollars go into The Bridge Fund.