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Kyle Abbott, President

Kyle is the great niece of Talbert and Leota Abrams and has vivid memories of their visionary spirit.  Having served over 35 years on the Abrams Foundation Board, she has seen its grantmaking focus change over the years.  During the early years, the Foundation followed her Uncle’s interest in science and education, including the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University.  Later, Kyle’s mother’s passion for genealogy became the Foundation’s largest commitment.  Kyle believes the best way to encourage family involvement is to support current board members in selecting non-profits they are personally passionate about. For this reason, the Foundation’s giving and personal involvement has become very diverse.  Kyle’s three granddaughters have now become Next Generation Grantmakers so she is even more excited to see the direction the Foundation takes.

Kyle has personally experienced the healing properties of both the visual and performing arts and is dedicated to increasing awareness and access to the arts for everyone.  Paint a Miracle offers art instruction to those with a variety of challenges and Eisenhower Dance Detroit brings the joy of contemporary dance to the public as well as intensive dance scholarships for talented young people.  As a cancer survivor, Kyle feels strongly about Gilda’s Club and the big difference they make in the lives of those impacted by cancer.  In addition, she has a long history of support for FIRST Robotics teams and the youth who will lead us into the future.


Shane Patzer, Vice President / Secretary / Treasurer

Shane Patzer is a Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer 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 aerial exploration.

Shane’s area of focus over the years has been with organizations that give children, adults, and veterans with or without disabilities the opportunity for hunting, fishing, and outdoor adventures.  He also supports groups which help provide job placement, housing, and other opportunities for our veterans.  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.  GEO (Get ‘em outdoors)

Other areas of interest for Shane include programs for state beautification projects, 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.

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Marcy Patzer, Member

Wife of Shane Patzer and mother to Riley and Breanna, Marcy helps behind the scenes focusing on The Abrams Foundation website and social media presence.  Marcy continues to enjoy learning more about each Abrams Foundation Grantee and participating in their events.  It’s a true privilege for her family to be in association with so many groups contributing great things to the world.

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Riley Patzer, Next Generation Grantmaker

Riley, age 20, has decided to partner on behalf of The Abrams Foundation, with Camp Catch a Rainbow. Riley is currently attending Madonna University in pursuit her nursing degree in which she’d love to utilize to work in the field of Pediatric Oncology. In the past, Riley has worked closely through The Abrams Foundation with Special Olympics of Michigan and has always had a special place in her heart for peers with special needs and was fortunate to be chosen to participate in Peer to Peer programs, including Unified Sports, since her days in Elementary School. Riley looks forward to volunteering this summer at Camp Catch a Rainbow and working closer with this fantastic organization and partnership.

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Breanna Patzer, Next Generation Grantmaker

Breanna, age 16, has always had a soft spot for animals. For the sixth year in a row, Breanna has chosen to provide support, through The Abrams Foundation, to Leader Dogs for the Blind. Breanna’s partnership with Leader Dogs has grown as she has grown and begins to develop thoughts and plans for her future. The first two years, Breanna’s participation revolved around the puppies and providing training and toys. The third year of her involvement with Leader Dog, Breanna had shown interest in Veterinary services and was thrilled to be able to participate as a “Leader Dog Veterinarian for the Day”. In her fourth year of partnering with Leader Dogs for the Blind, the grant is focused on a new speaker system in order to aide in training classes. The fifth years grant was for custom harnesses which corresponded perfectly seeing that the Patzer Family raised a Future Leader Dog, Harley. This year, Leader Dogs for the Blind has requested a grant to support college students who are raising Future Leader Dogs. The Abrams Foundation feels so blessed to have found this relationship with Leader Dogs and how they continue to alter their funding requests through conversations and interactions with Breanna.

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Sophia Patzer, Next Generation Grantmaker

Sophia, age 19, has always been drawn enhancing the lives of families.  From her work with Camp Casey to Ruth Ellis, Sophia is excited to engage with an organization and truly make a difference both through the financial grant but also with her time. Sophia is proud to partner for the third year in a row with Sanctum House, which focuses on enriching the lives of women who have survived the perils of human trafficking. Sophia is currently in her second year at Grand Valley State University pursuing a degree in social work.

In Memoriam

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).

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