Chris Ohmacht Helps Build Families
When you ask Chris Ohmacht ’88 about his family, you can hear the heartfelt devotion in his voice. “We have two beautiful children whom we love very much,” he says. Ohmacht and his wife welcomed, through adoption, two daughters—now ages 14 and 9—into their lives. That Ohmacht has become one of the founding board members of the recently launched New York Metro Chapter of Gift of Adoption makes for a perfect match.
Gift of Adoption, founded 20 years ago in Chicago, is a national charitable organization that provides the funds families need to complete the adoption of vulnerable children facing what is possibly their last or only chance at adoption. This includes families who are working to unite or keep siblings together and those adopting children with critical medical conditions or kids aging out of orphanages. Ohmacht learned about the organization from a colleague who also had an adopted child, and for five years he has been involved on the national level as an investor board member, making a multi-year financial pledge to help fund the operational costs of the organization so that when donors make a contribution, all of it goes to fund adoptions.
Ohmacht now chooses to step up his contribution through a commitment of time, energy, and creativity as a board member of the New York Metro Chapter, which serves families across New York and New Jersey. “There are a lot of children waiting to be adopted and families willing to adopt them but who can’t because of the expense,” he says. “Gift of Adoption works to fill that void.”
The goals of the board include not only fund-raising but increasing awareness about the financial constraints of adoption, raising the profile of Gift of Adoption, and recruiting additional board members. “Chris Ohmacht’s efforts will help us unite 300 children with a permanent family this year,” says Laura Keller, who handles media relations for the organization.
Adoption is indeed a gift, and one that goes both ways as Ohmacht will tell you. “People always say to Linda and me that our daughters are so lucky that we adopted them, but we are really the lucky ones. And now we’re just trying to give back.”
To learn more about Gift of Adoption visit their website at www.giftofadoption.org.
Children in Need
- 140 million children worldwide—equal to half the population of the United States—are orphaned and in need of a family to call their own.
- A half-million children in the U.S. foster care system await adoption; 10 percent of these children have been waiting for more than three years.
- Research shows that moving a child from foster care or an orphanage into a loving home, improves the child’s prospects for the future.
- Just 2 percent of children who age out of the foster care system go on to get a college education.
- Roughly 9 out of 10 children in foster care will experience mental illness; almost 4 out of 10 will commit crimes and 30 percent will ultimately become homeless.
- An astounding 80 percent of the U.S. prison population comprises adults who were in the foster care system sometime during their childhood.
Source: Gift of Adoption website.