Kyle Abbott, President
Kyle Abbott is the great niece of Talbert and Leota Abrams. She has vivid memories of them and their unique personalities. After raising two children, Tiffany and Shane, and owning an educational sales business, Kyle now sees this time in her life as an opportunity to travel, pursue her interest in the arts and enjoy her family and friends. “We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference in the world thru our grant making” said Kyle, “we take the responsibility very seriously.”
Kyle would like to see the Foundation continue to foster projects that are creative and innovative. She is continuously inspired to “dream big” by her Uncle’s imagination and vision for how things “could ” be. Kyle’s grant making often centers around arts and technology in Southeastern Michigan. She currently partners with Paint a Miracle in Rochester, which offers artistic opportunities to people with disabilities as well as art school scholarships through Paint Creek Center for the Arts. Eisenhower Dance Center is a new addition to our grant making and she looks forward to making dance more accessible to all young people. She also has a passion for FIRST Robotics. Kyle enjoys serving on the board alongside the next Generation, and engaging her three Granddaughters. Riley (13),Sophia (13) and Breanna (9) withthe board, who have all been invited by the board to put forth ideas for potential grants. Kyle is excited to see the direction philanthropy will take in each of them.
Tiffany Patzer, Vice President & Treasurer
Tiffany Patzer serves as Vice President and Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Abrams Foundation. Tiffany takes an active approach to her grant making, believing it is important to give of her time, to the grantees that the Foundation supports financially. Her current grant relationships include Beaumont Hospitals Award winning Parenting Program, Tiffany’s grant relationships are often focused on parent/child education and support and based in South-East Michigan.
Tiffany is a Finance and Accounting Recruiter with Kelly Services in Troy, Michigan. She works with clients and candidates all across the country. In her spare time, she is raising her daughter, who already has a philanthropic spirit. “Our Foundation is based on family and doing what we can to have an impact NOW in our community. Nothing makes me more proud, than to see the wonderful programs and outreach of the groups we support! Our Board has such diverse interests, it is awesome to see us so passionate about so many different things. She too is excited to see what ideas her daughter and nieces bring to the board.
Shane Patzer, Vice President & Secretary
Shane Patzer is a Vice President and Secretary for the Talbert and Leota Abrams Foundation. Despite being a child when his Great, Great Uncle was alive, he still has very fond memories of “Uncle Ted” and “Aunt Leota”, especially of their “Airplane House” located in Lansing , MI. Both Ted and Leota were licensed pilots, and they came up with the concept of their home one day while flying, as they saw the shadow of their plane and the inspiration hit. Other memories include stories of Uncle Ted having his pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright and his dream to take the kids on a “trip to the moon”! Uncle Ted was very involved in aerospace and arial exploration.
Shane has been involved with the Foundation since an early age but it wasn’t until the last 6 or 8 years that he developed grantee partnerships that he was very passionate about. He is currently involved with Catch A Dream Foundation, which grants outdoor adventures and hunts to children 18 and younger who have life threatening illnesses and The PATH Foundation (based in MI) which offers similar opportunities, but also focuses on adults, veterans, and other worthy candidates. Being an avid outdoorsman himself, these groups have become a wonderful way for Shane to share his passion with those that wouldn’t normally get the opportunity. Seeing how these adventures impact the lives of the children, families, and of all those involved is something he takes great pride in.
Other areas of interest for Shane include programs for Military Veterans, youth sports organizations, and outdoor camps for kids. “It’s really a great feeling when you are able to find the right organization to partner with. When it something you have passion about, it just makes the experience that much more fulfilling.”
Shane resides in Hartland Michigan and has a wonderful wife and two daughters. Outside of the Foundation and work, he really enjoys coaching, hunting, and spending time with his family.
The Next Generation
We are proud to announce that in 2016 our junior grantmakers, Sophia (Tiffany), Riley and Breanna (Shane) began to consider ways that they can make a difference. Each girl investigated and interviewed potential grantees in their area of interest. It is exciting for the board to see them engaged and enthusiastic about our mission. For 2017, Riley and Breanna chose to support Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester. Sophia chose Camp Casey who provides therapeutic equine experiences for children with cancer. We are excited to see where philanthropy takes them.
Riley, age 15, has decided to partner, on behalf of The Abrams Foundation, with Special Olympics of Michigan for 2018. Riley has a special place in her heart for peers with special needs and has been fortunate to be chosen to participate in Peer to Peer programs since Elementary School. Riley is also an athlete, playing travel softball since she was eight years old. What’s exciting is through The Abrams Foundation partnership with Special Olympics of Michigan, Riley will be able to personally participate as a volunteer this summer at the Special Olympics Softball Summer Games!
Breanna, age 11, has always had a soft spot for animals. For the past two years Breanna, through The Abrams Foundation, has been able to provide support to Leader Dogs for the Blind. Breanna is excited this year to have the opportunity to dig in a bit deeper and participating with the animals and volunteer at events to raise awareness.
Sophia, 15, has numerous interests where she focuses her philanthropic efforts. Historically she has been involved with groups that benefit children and families, specifically with terminally ill children. As she grows up, her interests continue to evolve. Currently Sophia is researching numerous non-profits that serve an at-risk youth population. Her desire is to work with young girls focused on STEM careers or with tween/teens between 11-16 to help them make better choices. Sophia volunteers with MidCourse Challenge Camps in her free time, hoping to make a difference.
Former Board Members
Barbara J. (Burt) Brown, President 1985-2011
April 4, 1923 – August 25, 2011
Barbara was born in Battle Creek, MI, on April 4, 1923. She was the only child born to David C. Burt and Zada E. Abrams. In 1936 the family moved to Jackson, MI where she graduated from high school in 1941. Barbara then attended Michigan State University for two years, and went on to become a Cadet Nurse at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, during World War II. On January 10, 1948 she married Donald F. Brown. They continued to reside in the Chicago area where their two children, Kyle and Craig were born. In 1966 the family moved back to MI, settling in Okemos. While living in Lansing, Barbara served for over 30 years as a Sparrow Hospital Gift Shop volunteer. In 1985 she became the President of the Talbert and Leota Abrams Foundation, which was created by her Uncle and Aunt in 1962. In addition she served as President and Board member for Abrams Arial Survey Corporation in Lansing, until its sale in 2003, after 80 years as a Family owned business. During Barbara’s 26 years as the President of the Abrams Foundation, she has become a leading Philanthropist within MI. Both via the Foundation, as well as personally, Barbara has given back to the people of MI in numerous ways. She has supported many Nursing scholarships at Lansing Community College, United Way, The Abrams Planetarium at MSU, Starr Commonwealth, MI and New England Genealogical Societies and the Veterinary School at MSU, to name just a few. For over 30 years, Genealogy has been a passion and a lifestyle for Barbara. To say that she had done extensive research on her ancestral lines was an understatement. When asked how far back she had gone, she simply laughed. For her the search was not only about going back, but about branching out in every direction. She loved her research; to her it was a never-ending puzzle of information. During her Genealogy career, she published two books; “Descendants of Christian Geiger, the Immigrant, 1700-1779” and “The Abraham Family of Lengerich, Germany and The Abrams Family of America”. In addition, Barbara’s work on the Abrams Foundation built “The Abrams Genealogical Collection” at the Library of Michigan. The “collection”, one of the top ten Genealogy Collections in the country, was one of Barbara’s proudest accomplishments. Barbara’s personal Genealogy Collection will be on indefinite loan to the State Archives of MI. In 2001 Barbara and Don moved to Rochester, MI to be near their family. Don died in October of 2002, and Barbara remained at Sunrise Assisted Living in Rochester, where she resided with her best buddy, Beau the cat. She loved her “tree house” at Sunrise, as she had a room with all windows, looking out over Paint Creek Trail. Barbara’s greatest passion and most proud accomplishment was her family. She is survived by her daughter, Kyle Abbott of Rochester and her son, Craig Brown of Florida, as well 2 Grandchildren, Tiffany Patzer of Shelby Township and Shane (Marcy) Patzer of Hartland. In addition, Barbara was blessed with three Great-Granddaughters, Sophia (Tiffany), Riley (Shane) and Breanna (Shane).