Our Work

Supporting local families, charities and communities throughout Southeast Michigan



On behalf of Vision Hope, we want to express our thankfulness to all of you for your support and generous donation to our carnival days at CFL with the inflatables.  I love how you all give so much of yourselves and desire to see children’s charities prosper and grow.  we appreciate your help volunteering – especially on some HOT days :) .  Your group is so kind and it was a pleasure meeting you all and I know we will work together again!  Thanks again for blessing our organization in the special way you all did.

Sue Pace 

Vision Hope/CFL Kids Camp 2011

May God bless you all for the work you do in honoring your Robby.  You’ve helped so many.  All the best at this holiday time and in the New Year! 

Steve & Betsy Fowler 


Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of what was truly a beautiful event.  We were humbled by your generosity but, more importantly, by your ability to take the worst loss in your life and do such positive things for others.  Your great loss continues to impact others, like us, who may not have known Robby, but feel as if we did.  From what we gathered last night, he was the epitome of a good kid (the kind we all hope for!).  Despite your small family you certainly have gained an extended family that exudes so much love – it was, simply put, overwhelming last night.  We plan on visiting Robby’s grave today to give our thanks as well.  May God bless you all as you continue your difficult journey in the memory of your son!

Nick, Tammy, Marissa, Rocco & Angelina Russo  

2011 Foundation Recipient

 My parents and I would like to thank you for the scholarship in Robby’s name.  I was truly surprised and honored to receive this award.  I grew up watching Robby play and enjoyed every moment.  The last second shot at Romeo was one of the most exciting moments I have experienced.  Again, I appreciate this award, it will help me as I attend Michigan State University.

Jeff Roegner 

Scholarship Recipient

 Thank you for making this opportunity available to our son, Bryan Mitzner.  I just wanted to let you know that our family remembers Robby and enjoyed watching him play basketball, we went to several games back then.  We even ran into him around town once; My husband recognized him and said a few words about hoops.  Robby was friendly and polite, I remember thinking, what a nice young man AND amazing athlete!  Bryan and his brother, Brad, remember Robby from the Ike basketball camp - Bryan says he was one of the players who worked the camp when Bryan was about 10 years old.  

Your foundation and website is a beautiful testament to your son.  Thank you for this honor.

Carol Mitzner   

2011 Heart Award Scholarship Recipient

 I personally want to thank you for giving the scholarship award to Bryan Mitzner. He is very deserving. I remember Robby very well, I loved everything about your son, competitive, tough, talented and a winner, my kind of player.  I hated coaching against him because he was tough and had talent. He made his teammates better. I know the scholarship means a lot to you because we have similar paths. My wife and I have a scholarship fund for our deceased son Douglas. It does mean a lot when you can do good for people in your son’s name. Rob and Doug are smiling down on the Atherton & Esler families. We all got cheated regarding time. That’s why we must go on and do positive things with our lives to make a difference now. There will be no greater reward in our life when we are reunited with Rob and Doug no greater feeling. Take Care and keep up the great work. Many people are benefitting from Rob and your efforts.  Bryan and his parents will be in attendance tonight. Thank you for your hard work and making a difference in people’s lives.

Coach Esler

Warren DeLa Salle Varsity Basketball Coach

 On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of The Rainbow Connection I want to thank you for your generous donation as a result of the great success of your 2011 Golf Outing.  Thanks to you, we were able to grant a wish for special Angelina.  The granting of a wish is ‘more than just a wish’ it nurtures the spirit, brings smiles and laughter and reinforces the possibility of miracles.  These wonderful childhood dreams would go unanswered if not for kindhearted people like you.  Your foundation’s generosity to the Rainbow Connection and to Angelina and her family has had a tremendous impact, for us and for them.  Please accept our heartfelt appreciation for sponsoring this very special wish.  Thank you again for your compassion and continued support in memory of your son Robby.

Mary Grace McCarter

Executive Director Rainbow Connection

…I also wanted to thank you for asking me to speak about Robby as a friend, teacher and coach at this year’s golf outing.  It was one of the greatest honors in my life.  The memories that I have and the effect he had on me and so many others is amazing.  The true meaning of the character of a person is not how much money you have, the size of your house or their fame, but how they affected and helped other people in a positive way.  Robby was that true person and friend to so many.  Above all he was an inspiration and a great son and brother to your family.  The Robby Atherton Foundation is living proof of Robby’s spirit…”I know you’re out there somewhere and somehow we will meet again”.

Rick Greenup

Robby’s 9th Grade Basketball Coach, Teacher & Friend

Can’t express enough how much your kindness and generosity means to us at Vision Hope, nor to the kids, who will enjoy the benefits of it at the Champions for Life Kids Camp.  So glad that your group from Robby’s foundation will be there first- hand to experience the joy yourselves.

Beth Molloy

Director Vision Hope’s Champions for Life Kids Camp

There is no way for me to put into words just how much it meant to all of us to be there and to be honored by so many generous and loving people.  It was all so overwhelming.  My kids were a mess, as was I.  It opened all of the hurt and sadness again and at the same time, it let the love and support fill out hearts.  It’s very hard to put into words but I’m sure you know what we are feeling.  We just can’t thank you enough for everything.  It will help us out so much and take a lot of worries off of me.  It was so very kind of the Foundation to pick our family to help.  I am just speechless.  We will never be able to thank you enough for everything you did for us but please know it is greatly appreciated and it will never be forgotten.  Thank you from the bottom of our broken hearts!! Love you all.

The Spezia Family

2010 Foundation Recipient

On behalf of Max and his family I wanted to pass these photos and card onto you.  They have just safely returned home from Max’s wish trip to Disney World, and mom could not express enough what an incredible, magical and awesome time that Max and their entire family had.

From the bottom of our hearts everyone here wants to thank you for making Max’s wish come true!  It was an honor being a part of your golf outing this year.

Ingrid Todt

Wish Director

The A-Rob’s won their second championship in 2 years in the Royal Oak Basketball league in 2010. It was a tough year because our good friend and starting center, Matt McCaffrey, had to move out of state for work. We promptly replaced him with Eisenhower’s very own Phil DeVries which worked out great early in the year. But during our only loss of the season, Phil broke his ankle and was unable to play and could barely walk for months. We had to win some close games with strong defense and some timely scoring but in the end we came out victorious. It feels good to still be able to win games against some stiff competition while at the same time enjoying ourselves. It is no different then when we played up at Eisenhower with Robby. We could joke around and enjoy ourselves but once it got to crunch time, we would buckle-down, play hard, and get a victory anyway possible. We plan on playing in many leagues together and we will always be named the A-Rob’s in honor of our friend and point guard. If he were here today our championships would be won a lot easier and we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves trying to bring the ball up the court. We all think about him on a daily basis and only hope that we are making him proud on and off the court. Cuffs forever.


A-Rob’s win Royal Oak league


Close friends of Robby’s recreation basketball team

It is with deepest appreciation that I reflect upon the heartfelt gesture of the Atherton Family.  When Bryan gave us the news that my boys and I would be recipients of the Robby Atherton Fundraising Event at Sycamore Hills I was overwhelmed with emotion.  At first, I remember feeling in awe that a family who is enduring such loss is simulatneously caring for another family going through similar tragedy.  Then, I remember feeling inspired to make sure that my boys understand the importance of community and the value a kind gesture has in shaping young lives.  I am proud that my husband Eric served his community as a Shelby Township Fire Fighter.  And I know now that he is proud watching the community he looked after look after “his own.”

Mandy Carpenter

2009 Foundation Recipient

My daughter Skylar has numerous medical conditions and the financial pressures are overwhelming.  We were asked to attend the dinner after the golf outing and were blown away at the turnout.  Everyone looked like they had a fantastic time and dinner was great.  Awards were given out and we were given a donation from the Robby Atherton Foundation to help with our financial difficulties.  It was extremely generous and we are forever grateful that we were chosen to be a part of that special day.  The best part though was the tribute paid to Robby by his friends and family.  Although we didn’t know Robby he will forever remain in our hearts.  The Robby Atherton Foundation touched our lives greatly and I only hope that someday I can give back to the community the way this foundation has.  Thank you!

Melanie Sokolowski

2009 Foundation Recipient

Thank-you so much for your thoughtful contribution to our Stevenson student, David Brown.  It will certainly make an impact on his education. We appreciate the scholarship and the wonderful presentation carried out at our Honors Night program.

Debbie Juday

Counseling Department Chair

Stevenson High School

Thank you for this wonderful news and beautiful legacy for Robby.  What one does with what one is dealt defines the greatness in a person.  The Robby Atherton Foundation Scholarship exemplifies how you and your foundational group have turned a tremendous loss for your family and our community into an outstanding college opportunity for students in Robby’s name.  You are great for what you are doing and for that I am forever thankful.

In addition, I wanted to thank you for the tree planting and clean up of the Eisenhower Memorial Garden last month.  I have heard that a group will be here this weekend to do additional cleaning and planting of flowers.  Again my greatest appreciation goes to you all.

Sincerely with gratitude for everything you are doing for our community on behalf of Robby,

Gloria Bawol


Eisenhower High School

Dear Robby Atherton Foundation,

Thank you with blessing us with your gift of a bread slicer.  My Jaw dropped to the floor when I learned of your donation.  I have been looking, networking, searching, and praying for a used bread slicer for over 2 years.  This is quite a blessing for us.

What would we do with a bread slicer?  From October through April we receive an average of 60 loaves of unsliced bread from Great harvest each week.  We have purchased good slicing knives, but the time and soreness of hands have slowed us from slicing the bread for our own use (feeding 100 people each Sunday as well as making 200 sandwiches for lunches given away each Sunday).  What bread we cannot use, we share with other ministries.  This bread slicer will save us time and money for sandwich bread as well as make it easier for others receiving Great Harvest bread through us to make sandwiches.  We look for other bread sources such as Panera during the summer when there is no unsold break from Great Harvest.

From the bottom of my heart, from the grateful stomachs of the poor, from the formerly tired hands of several bread-slicing volunteers, many , many thanks.  You made our day.  You made our year.


Dan Karlin

Social Ministries

  • Watch This Video for More Information on the Foundation

  • Upcoming Events

    • Sun May 04, 2014
      Special Dreams Farm 5K / 10k Run & 5k Walk
    • Sat May 31, 2014
      Softball Tournament / BBQ Tailgate
    • Mon Aug 18, 2014
      7th Annual Golf Outing
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