Patrick B. Gillespie, Sr. was a founding member of the Fred’s Footsteps Board of Directors, serving for over 17 years until his death on August 29, 2022. He was Fred DiBona’s dearest and most cherished friend who, together with his wife, Arlene, and kids, became one of our organization’s most dedicated supporters. Pat was a longtime business manager for the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, former Pennsylvania state representative, and Army Vet. He forever changed the physical and economic landscape of the Philadelphia region.
The goal of Pat’s Projects is to expand Fred’s Footsteps’ ability to support home renovation and accessibility projects that provide safety and independence for children in our program.
While Pat accomplished many things during his professional career, he was most passionate about serving his community and helping others. In the early days of Fred’s Footsteps, Pat advised on how the organization could tackle home improvement projects for families who needed to increase accessibility for their child.
Over the years, the requests for home infrastructure projects have grown, but given the expense, Fred’s Footsteps is limited in the number of projects we can support each year.
With this new fund, Fred’s Footsteps will both honor Pat’s legacy as a laborer and help more families make their home safe for their child.
Examples of projects that will be funded through Pat’s Projects include:
- Bathroom renovations to improve accessibility with adaptations such as larger space and doorways, roll-in shower, grab bars, lowered sink, and other needs, all helping a child or young person receive the dignity of care in a safe and private environment, as well as improve the caregivers’ ability to help care for them.
- Wheelchair ramps, lifts, and stair/chair glides to allow a child to safely enter and exit their home, securely move from upstairs to downstairs, and be more engaged in their living space and the outside world.
- In-home equipment such as Hoyer lifts, ceiling track systems, and specialized beds for a child to be moved, and sleep safely in their home, and to assist their caregivers with these needs.
All funds raised through Pat’s memorial donations will go towards Pat’s Projects. Each year, a portion of our overall funds raised will be allocated to the fund as well.