In Memory of David Baldwin: Founding Member of Reeve Foundation
"Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege."
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of one of our founding leaders, David M. Baldwin. He passed away on February 16, 2014. Every great organization starts with a mission conceived by visionary leaders who want to change the world for the group they are serving. That was how David initially joined forces with our community.
The origin of the Reeve Foundation goes far deeper than Christopher Reeve. In fact, its roots stretch back to 1982 when the American Paralysis Association (APA) was formed by a band of crusaders that refused to accept the prevailing notion that the spinal cord, once injured, could not be repaired. One of the founders of the APA was David Baldwin. It was due to his generosity that the APA was able to mobilize and launch a movement to redefine the reality of spinal cord injury.
David was a close friend of Hank Stifel whose son, Henry, was in a car accident where he sustained a spinal cord injury. With Hank Stifel's vision of collaborative science and research, David Baldwin and other close friends of the Stifel family, embarked on a journey to change the lives of people living with paralysis by creating the APA. When Christopher Reeve was injured in 1995, he connected with APA and was inspired by the organization, which ultimately became known as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Throughout the transition from APA to the Reeve Foundation, David remained a pillar of inspiration, wisdom and generosity, serving as a board member from the group's inception until 2008. His wife, Barbara, was also an active leader for Reeve and successfully steered A Magical Evening for many years. Over the years, the Baldwin family donated close to a million dollars to safeguard the growth of the Reeve Foundation.
Regarded as a visionary when it came to expanding and evolving the Reeve Foundation, David was admired and beloved by all. Below is an excerpt from Henry Stifel on David's contribution to his family and the Reeve Foundation:
David Baldwin was the epitome of honorable character. He loved his friends, family, and community and strived to support and raise up those who were in need with quiet grace. Over three decades ago he was there to smother my family with love and compassion after I sustained a spinal cord injury. I can never thank David enough for his friendship because he and his family allowed our family to mend and move forward with positive determination. He was a pivotal leader in our community and founding member of the APA which matured into the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. David focused on creating opportunities for those in need and would embrace them in his wings until he felt they were ready to fly. Once in flight, he always hoped they would check back in to give him the assurance that they are still strong and doing well. Now he and my father are together sharing great memories. They will continue to shower us with their love and fortitude and, David will always be with us because all those who knew him learned from his example.
The Reeve Foundation extends its deepest sympathies to Barbara and their children. David's legacy of generosity, love and compassion, will serve as a guiding force for the Reeve Foundation to carry forward. When we look to the future, David's example and character will set a blueprint for how to achieve our dreams and deliver on our mission.