Ball Family Endowment

Ball Family Endowment

In the late eighties Douglas Ball was seriously considering joining his father's farming business when he enrolled in the engineering program at Wake Tech and his life took a different path. He ultimately started Ball Rentals, a real estate and development company in Garner, North Carolina. As an alumnus, Douglas always appreciated the bridge Wake Tech served in helping him advance in his career and joined the Wake Tech Foundation board in 2014 as a way to give back.

Jane Ball also found success in real-estate as the broker and owner of Be Home Realty. Together they have three children and a shared passion for helping others. Especially when it involves their daughter, Caroline, who has been and continues to be an inspiration for goodwill, joy and love.

When Douglas and Jane learned Caroline would be born with Down syndrome and an atrioventricular septal defect, a severe heart defect requiring corrective surgery at just three months old, they were terrified by the fear of the unknown. They agonized over limited and often outdated resources for answers. Yet as genetics counselors were leading them down a dark path, their hearts were leading them on quite another.

Early on they knew they had to do something to help other families that would be facing the same decisions. By Caroline's third birthday, Douglas and Jane established The Caroline Ball Fund, a 501(c)3. They raised awareness by buying books on Down syndrome for their local library, funding Special Education teacher scholarships, and holding road races, raffles, and other community efforts. Their community support initiatives continue today, and they are a source of hope and inspiration for many families.

When Jane and Douglas learned of the impact a planned gift could have, they looked for an initiative that aligned with their personal charitable goals and discovered Wake Tech's Pathfinders program. Pathfinders provides education and work-based training for adults with disabilities who want to prepare for the workplace. As they toured the campus and saw these young rising stars pursuing their futures, Jane noted:

"The Pathfinders students didn't seem nervous or anxious, they were laughing and learning. We could easily envision Caroline participating in each class we observed. Knowing there are options to help Caroline navigate life as independently as possible and with a job that gives her confidence and pride is all any parent could want."

While most parents have a vision of what their child can independently work for and achieve, children like Caroline are not able to propel themselves into future success. Parents must lay each yellow brick for their next sure-footed step.

The Ball Family Endowment will create an annual distribution to support Wake Tech's programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This gift will ensure that all students who wish to attend college and pursue a career may do so regardless of their economic situation.

"While Caroline won't be a recipient of this endowment, others following her yellow brick road will. This goodwill is perpetual, and priceless to the growth of others." Douglas Ball

Planned gifts are one of the most impactful ways to support the causes you care most about. You too can create a transformational gift at Wake Tech. Contact Roxanne Miller at rmiller1@waketech.edu to get started.


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