Dick Wilson’s philanthropic history starts in the late 1980s when he co-founded the Louisville Dream Factory at the request of Jane Eubank & 5 other friends of her:
Today they now have over 33 chapters nationally with over 25,000 dreams granted & 1500 locally.
Another local charity which Dick wholly founded was the Robin Hood Project-by taking corporate excesses like computers and voice mailboxes, from motels etc.… and distributing them to the poor through the coalition for the homeless coordinated 24 shelters throughout Louisville.
Dick states he has founded or cofounded dozens of charities with the basic model of BEG-BORROW & SCROUNGE
Dick has also been instrumental in a recovery center @ 25TH & Market that now serves 800+ folks in weekly recovery meetings. In addition to supplying over 1,400 jobs in the last 13 months with MS-IL staffing as a collaborator, as well as, maintaining <2% drug test failures as well. All with a non-paid staff and all expenses are level with self-supporting donations.
Prior to Dick’s philanthropic efforts, he served in the Vietnam War as a combat photographer and graduated from the University of Louisville.
Dick & his lovely wife, Ardi, have a real mission for philanthropy. To show you how passionate they are, here is a list of the several charitable organizations, they have had an instrumental hand in founding or co-founding including:
In recognition of his dedication to his community, Dick has received numerous awards & distinctions.
A few awards include:
When he’s not working directly with or guiding the many organizations he supports, you can find Dick spending quality time with friends & family.
His favorite hobbies include collecting cars, art and antiques, and traveling with his wife: the ever-lively & beautiful Ardi Wilson.
Jay Davidson was born in Denver in 1942. At age 12, he went to work cutting grass and started paying rent to help cover living expenses, due to an absentee father. When he was 14, he started work at an amusement park. There he began his drinking career, consuming glasses of leftover liquor from the patrons who partied the night before, but still made good grades and became a leader in his high school’s ROTC program. It foreshadowed what he would become: a highly functioning alcoholic – a successful, rank-climbing Army officer by day, a drunk by night. After finishing high school, He found a job with GMAC and applied for admission to West Point Military Academy but was denied, which, fed his inferiority complex. He stayed with GMAC, rising steadily in the ranks, and attended night school studying accounting at the University of Denver’s Night School & hated it!
In 1963, he met Carolyn Sue Miller and they married on Nov. 22, 1963, the day JFK was assassinated. He was 21 and she was 19.
In 1965, the Vietnam War was escalating, and with his wife’s approval, he decided to enlist, but his wife discovered she was pregnant. Jay might have received an exemption, but he chose to go. Their baby son, Erik, was born with a lung disease & died 36 hours later. Jay buried his son by himself.
In June 1967, Jay was shipped to Vietnam and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. He was promoted rapidly – “Combat was the Key,” he says. If he had stayed 2 more weeks, he would have had another promotion, but “I had had enough.” “I saw life snuffed out, men reduced to a mass of flesh,” he says.
In 1969, Jay returned from the war and he and his wife adopted a boy. After, they had their own son. However, the marriage would not last and she filed for divorce.
In 1974, Jay met his 2nd wife-Shirley – both divorcees & they married in Connecticut and within a year, Jay’s son’s, Matthew and Jeffrey and Shirley’s 2 daughters soon went to live with them. Now he was a family of 6!
Now in his 30’s, a family to support, his drinking had become such an addiction that on the commercial flight home he “got really plastered” and his commander told him he would kick him out of the Army, no pension or promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, unless he got control. Also, he was assigned 1 summer to supervise an ROTC camp. Work started at 6 a.m., leading cadets. He stumbled, slurred & smelled. People noticed. His superior officer, Ike Smith, warned him: “Get clean, or you’ll be discharged without honors.” These 2 incidences changed his life, so he dried out, & overtime was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In 1986, he retired highly decorated receiving:
Soon, he was restless & unfulfilled, so in 1988 he took a job in Saudi Arabia as an adviser to the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force. However, in 1991, now back in Louisville and pursuing a social work masters, he was asked to take over the Morgan Center., a homeless shelter for alcoholics and it was “the last thing” he wanted to do. But in December 1991, soon 2 key staffers left and Jay had to run the place himself.
So, in 1992, at age 50 and retired from the military, Jay created The Healing Place, a unique model for residential treatment programs. It is a combination of a “wet/dry shelter” – a homeless shelter and a recovery program. It is a social model, not a medical model, drawing strength from the participants.
In 1995, Jay launched a program for female alcoholics and addicts, modeled after the men’s.
In 1997, Jay’s professional peers tried to close The Healing Place. The Healing Place was accused of treating clients without a license and even mistreatment of clients. Jay and two of his colleagues were criticized and their social work and drug and alcohol licenses questioned. Finally, the Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky ruled that The Healing Place was not a treatment program but a recovery program. All claims against it were deemed unsubstantiated.
The acrimony wore Jay down. “It was the year from hell,” he admits.
In 2005, Kentucky government chose The Healing Place as a “Recovery KY” model and replicated it in 10 new centers.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has recognized it and Dr. Burns Brady, a nationally-known expert in addiction medicine, called it “the best recovery program in the world.”
Today the Healing Place campus is expanding & has several thousand alumni with a 75% recovery rate.
Rebecca & Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage.
Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allan Poe.
On the seventh day of a ten-day retreat at a Vipassana meditation center outside the historic Indian city of Kolhapur, Phoebe Hunt intrinsically felt the life leave her namesake’s body on the other side of the world.
The story of how she came to be known as Phoebe — a tale woven subtly into the whimsical threads and spiritual contradictions of Shanti’s Shadow, her new record — has the humor and richness of a Vedic myth. Her parents met at a yoga ashram in the Lower West Side of Manhattan in the Seventies, where they spent seven years as disciples of Guru Swami Satchidananda, famous in America for having been the opening speaker at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Years later, near the end of her pregnancy with Phoebe, her mother felt a strong compulsion to name her child Shanti, a Hindi word meaning peace. There was only one minor complication — she had already promised the child’s paternal grandmother, Phoebe, that she would be named after her. In a compromise, Hunt’s parents named their child Shanti Phoebe Hunt, but out of deference to the grandmother, she would grow up being called Phoebe.
Years later, on the 2016 trip that would inspire the creation of Shanti’s Shadow, Hunt and her husband (and mandolin-playing bandmate) Dominick Leslie entered the meditation retreat in India, surrendered their possessions, and, with only a wool blanket given to them upon arrival, committed to a sequestered ten-day vow of silence. It was during that stint at the retreat that Grandma Phoebe passed away. Hunt remained in India with Leslie and a team of musicians who had joined the couple to study with master violinist and vocalist Kala Ramnath at an ashram outside the city of Pune. While there they found themselves spending as many as ten hours a day honing ragas, melodic structures that, in the Indian classical tradition, are believed to have the capacity to color the mind of an audience. The entire experience, ripe with creative efflorescence, formed the core of a bittersweet irony for Hunt. While in pursuit of her spiritual namesake — the Shanti of peace, tranquility, creativity, and bliss — her familial namesake passed away.