EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 27, 2013

Family donates to therapy farm

ANDOVER — A local family has issued a challenge to anyone with a philanthropic itch to scratch: help us help Ironstone.

Doug and Diana Berthiaume, two Andover residents, have offered to donate $500,000 to Ironstone Farm, a non-profit organization that uses horseback riding and a farm environment to provide therapeutic opportunities to help both children and adults with a wide range of disabilities.

The donation comes in the form of a challenge, according to Ironstone Executive Director Deedee O’Brien.

The $500,000 donation comes through matching individual donations of $5,000 or more, totaling up to $500,000, O’Brien said.

Donations made by companies or businesses aren’t eligible for matching, according to O’Brien.

The announcement came at a recent reception at the Andover family’s home, marking the kickoff of a capital campaign geared to expanding Ironstone Farm’s programs and opportunities.

The campaign, “Campaign for Ironstone,” seeks to expand and complete the Ironstone Farm campus and improve the use of the on-campus facilities. The full campaign seeks to raise a total of $5 million, according to the campaign’s case statement.

With $500,000 matching another $500,000 in donations, O’Brien said the challenge is in effect a $1 million investment that will put a significant dent in the campaign early into its life.

“All of this is coming together with several different arms,” she said. “There are five arms to this campaign that we’ve decided to attack at once. We’re working now on priorities and where it will go first.”

The commitment from the Berthiaume family came after a child in the household spent years volunteering and riding at the organization, according to Diana Berthiaume.

“Our daughter opened our eyes to the extraordinary work being done by their talented and caring staff,” Diana Berthiaume said.

While Ironstone has been developing the campaign, “this takes it to a whole new level,” O’Brien said. “We’re putting together all the pieces to try and raise the funds against (the challenge) as quickly and efficiently as we can and still meet the needs or desires of the donors.”

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