Research has revealed that performing good deeds—such as making charitable donations or volunteering with a nonprofit close to your heart—can stimulate your brain’s pleasure and reward centers, resulting in what researchers have dubbed “helper’s high.” Just ask ORIX USA Director Larry Hermann, who has been involved with the Juliette Fowler Communities (JFC) for about six years.
Founded 125 years ago, JFC was originally created to fulfill the vision of Juliette Peak Fowler, known as Dallas’ first female philanthropist: to create a faith-based community for elders and children. Over the years, the nonprofit has evolved to meet the changing needs of society, and it is now an intergenerational residential community in East Dallas, which serves more than 500 individuals each year.
Throughout its 25-acre campus, the organization offers a host of residential services and care offerings for older adults, such as independent and assisted living options, as well as memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. Children who are in need of short- or long-term foster care can also find a helping hand at JFH since the nonprofit collaborates with Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services to place children in loving homes.
In 2014, JFC opened The Ebby House as a safe space for women ages 18-24 who have aged out of foster care but have no family or friends to support them. According to national foster care statistics, 60 percent of foster children will be homeless, incarcerated or die within one year of leaving the foster care system at 18, and The Ebby House aims to turn that statistic around. Women living here are schooled on health and wellness, career skills, personal finance and more as the staff at JFC helps them on their path to success.
“Juliette Fowler Communities is making a huge impact,” Larry says. “It’s a compassionate and caring community that has given me a better understanding of what the needs are of kids and elderly living in independent and assisted living situations.”
Larry and his wife, Liz, have been involved with JFC in various ways, from serving on the board to donating funds—and the organization is always on the lookout for more volunteers to help with activities like painting, planting, cleaning and maintaining its sprawling grounds.
When he’s not lending a hand, you might find this native Texan—who has lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area his whole life—practicing his photography, building scale model wooden boats or soaking up time with his two daughters and three granddaughters.
Giving back to the community, though, remains a top priority. For Larry, the reasoning is simple: “Giving back makes you a better person.”