(Jeanne and John Fabian pictured)
On October 17, 2019, Jake Fabian collapsed while running at the gym. Jake was an athletic 28-year-old with a bright future ahead of him — he made friends easily, was passionate about music, and worked as an IT specialist. Jake died that day from an undetected heart arrhythmia. “When Jake passed away it was so final – the realization that our family’s future would be altered forever,” said John Fabian, Jake’s father.
“In the beginning, you try anything to heal. We had gone to see a spiritual medium, and one of the things that Jake said to us through the medium was that he was working with youth and the underprivileged now. So, we felt that was what Jake was trying to tell us, and why we thought it was important to support organizations doing that type of work,” said Jake’s mother, Jeanne.
In December 2020, John and Jeanne contacted the SouthCoast Community Foundation to discuss how they could do something in Jake’s memory. The Foundation guided them through the process of setting up a charitable fund and how to fundraise so they could work towards supporting organizations in Jake’s memory.
On the eve of what would have been Jake’s 30th birthday, the Fabians posted a Facebook message asking for donations of $30 for Jake’s 30th birthday. Their goal was to raise $900 (“30 for 30”) to start the Jake Fabian Memorial Fund. They raised nearly $13,000. “We’re just regular people. We never expected that,” said Jeanne.
Today, the Fabians have raised nearly $100,000 through social media, and more so from an annual golf tournament fundraiser that raised over $40,000 in 2022. The grandkids even got in the spirit with an “If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade” fundraiser lemonade stand.
“When something like this happens, you are frozen in space. You can’t enjoy things. But, as time passes, you try to move on somehow, and that’s what the SouthCoast Community Foundation has done for us. It’s helped us to move on so that we can enjoy things now. We still live with extreme grief, but doing this philanthropy has helped us find our equilibrium. It has brought me such happiness,” said Jeanne.
The Fabians have focused their philanthropy on activities that build confidence for kids and provide the extras that those living in disadvantaged situations might not get. In 2022, the Jake Fabian Memorial Fund made grants to Child & Family Services to support building a new sensory room, the Family Food Pantry – Damien’s Place, Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford, and the Salvation Army of New Bedford.
“It makes us feel more connected, and like he’s still with us, working for this cause,” said Jeanne.
The Jake Fabian Memorial Golf Tournament will be held July 15, 2023 at the Acushnet River Valley Golf Course. To register or to sponsor, contact Jeanne at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Fund’s Facebook page for more information – The Jake Fabian Memorial Fund.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to set up a charitable fund with the Community Foundation, contact us at 508-996-8253 x203 or email@example.com