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Clarence Day: A legacy that lives on through successful lives

April 4, 2010

Clarence Day poses for a picture with Becky at the Girls Center on the Bartlett campus. After leaving the Bartlett campus, Becky went through the Transitional Living program. After graduating college, Becky married and is living in the Memphis area.

The children, young people and staff of Youth Villages mourned the recent death of philanthropist Clarence Day, a supporter of the organization since it began in 1986.

Day, who was 82, was fatally injured in an automobile accident.

“Mr. Day was a member of the Youth Villages family,” CEO Patrick W. Lawler said. “He constantly challenged us to look ahead, to do more to help more children and young people.

“He proved that one person with an unwavering commitment can make a really big difference for children. He is greatly missed.”

Day’s grants to Youth Villages touched many different projects and programs at Youth Villages; his challenge grants spurred construction of the Youth Villages Girls Center for Intensive Residential Treatment and the Operations Center.

He was a co-investor for Youth Villages in the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot. The initiative helped Youth Villages secure $40 million to allow the organization to help 50 percent more young people over five years.

But Day’s greatest legacy may be the Youth Villages Transitional Living program, which helps former foster children as they move into adulthood. The program, which has become a national model for providing home- and community-based support for young people who age out of state custody, began in 1999 through a grant from The Day Foundation. Day continued to support the program in Tennessee and assisted its expansion to other states. A $1 million donation in 2009 allowed Youth Villages to offer Transitional Living help to young people in North Carolina for the first time.

Since it began, the Youth Villages Transitional Living program has helped more than 3,000 young people transition to adulthood in Tennessee, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Washington, D.C. and Texas. Counselors in the program help young people find housing, continue their education, seek and keep employment, and learn independent life skills.

“Current and former foster children in the United States have lost a unique and powerful advocate for their well-being and success in life,” Lawler said. “Youth Villages has lost a dear friend, tenacious counsel and generous supporter. “Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Day’s family, his amazing granddaughter, Natasha Davis, who worked as a counselor and later as a business development specialist at Youth Villages, and the many others whose lives were touched by this great, generous man.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Megan Talbot permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:46 am

    I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Day, i knew him when i was at YV… GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY, AND FRIENDS

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