Spirit of Philanthropy Award

Talbert & Leota Abrams Foundation Next Gen Grant Makers: Breanna, Riley, & Sophia Patzer

Spirit of Philanthropy Award

Nominated by Leader Dogs for the Blind

“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” -Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

As Abrams Foundation Next Generation Grantmakers, Breanna, Riley, and Sophia Patzer are shining examples of what it means to serve their communities with passion, creativity, and generosity. Each of these philanthropically minded young women have taken their roles within their chosen nonprofit organizations very seriously. They understand that philanthropy is a way of living and comes from a sincere, heartfelt desire to make this world a better place.

While Breanna, Riley, and Sophia each have their personal areas of interests, unique passions, and individual approaches, they all have a selfless desire to help those in need and a dedicated commitment to make a lasting impact in this world. Their combined years of service have touched the lives of countless individuals and families in their communities and across Michigan. Their unselfish, “others first” perspective is what sets them apart. The impact they are making is far reaching and more than just financial, as the girls immerse themselves in devoted service to the organizations that call them ambassadors.

Breanna has spent the past five years working with Leader Dogs for the Blind. She has not only grown to embrace the mission, but her involvement with the organization has grown along with her age. Understanding how young Breanna was when she began the relationship with Leader Dog, they tailored their grant request to ensure it was interesting for her. What started as a relationship around puppy training tools has matured over the years to veterinary equipment and culminated this year with custom harnesses. Breanna has taken on the responsibility of training a Future Leader Dog, Harley, who will hopefully graduate and need one of those custom harnesses. She now truly understands the way her selfless contributions can change lives! Through her daily care and training, Breanna is laying the foundation Harley will need to become a trusted guide dog for someone who is blind. Her dedication in working with Harley for one year will forever change the life of the client who will someday walk side by side with the guide dog.

Riley has supported the Special Olympics of Michigan not only financially, but also in service. Riley enjoyed her time participating with the Unified Games and peer-to-peer programs in high school. She is also actively involved in the Special Olympics of Michigan Fall Games, volunteering her time, and encouraging participants. Now away at college, she has joined a local club and comes back annually to volunteer to work the games. Her innate ability to relate to people, helping them discover new strengths and experience success, is testimony to her philanthropic heart.

Sophia has generously given her time and talents to various organizations over the years, primarily focusing on the wellbeing of women and children. Most recently, she has been involved with the Soldier Support Group. Sophia has participated in the restorative work of those who have faithfully served our country and are working to reestablish themselves and their families. Her connection with these heroes has shown her what it means to be a part of the healing process of the men, women and families who have sacrificed so much.

In their combined 51 years of life, these three young women have identified, shared, and executed more life changing opportunities than many will participate in during a lifetime. Their exemplary service to others is certainly to be commended and admired among their peers and in the philanthropic community. As Next Generation Grant Makers, Breanna, Riley, and Sophia are not only inspiring those with whom they serve, but also their high school and college peers, who are watching them live their lives with outstretched hands and hearts wide open. Individuals, families, and communities are being changed because of these philanthropically minded women.