Nearly a quarter of a million dollars has been donated to Sunflower Diversified Services, thanks to the generosity of a Lyons woman who had an affection for people with special needs.
The Vera Elliott Finnin estate recently contributed $249,800 to the non-profit agency that serves people with intellectual disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
“We are totally excited about this more-than generous contribution,” said Jon Prescott, Sunflower executive director. “And the timing could not have been more perfect.
“We have placed these funds in the Sunflower Foundation to replenish some of our reserves, which were affected by the pandemic and other unexpected costs.”
Prescott noted that Sunflower is considering some long-term needs also. “But, at this time, we haven’t yet assigned any of these proceeds to these particular needs.”
These types of gifts create stability for Sunflower and the individuals it supports, Prescott emphasized.
“They are critical to our long-term existence – especially in light of budget concerns at the state level,” Prescott said. “We pray that Gov. Laura Kelly does not reduce our funding for people with disabilities.
“Gov. Sam Brownback cut our funding by 10 percent one year. This nearly destroyed several agencies such as ours across the state.”
Prescott also noted that clients and their families, along with employees feel “blessed” to be among the beneficiaries of the Finnin estate.
Everyone associated with Sunflower is indebted to Scott Bush and Jim Johnson, Prescott commented. Bush is the attorney for the Finnin estate, as well as Sunflower’s attorney. Johnson is the retired executive director of the agency.
“They invested their time and talents many years ago to meet with Mrs. Finnin and share with her what we do here at Sunflower,” Prescott said. “They helped explain the critical nature of our support services and the impact our agency has on clients’ lives as they strive to achieve higher levels of independence.”
Bush noted that “Vera had a genuine fondness for people with disabilities. Her charitable bequests were also weighted to healthcare and retirement concerns.”
Finnin was born and raised in Rice County, which is in Sunflower’s service area. She and her husband, Pete Finnin, lived in California for his job in the aircraft industry. They returned to Lyons in the 1980s.
Vera passed on April 2, 2019, 20 years after her husband’s passing.
Johnson said Sunflower is “blessed to be one of the organizations Vera cared deeply about. I never cease to be overwhelmed by the generosity of people and their concern for children and adults who rely on Sunflower for the services they need.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 54th year.