Keystone Science School’s dear friend and generous supporter, Ty Pennington, passed away in April 2014. While he was taken from us too early, his contributions and spirit will always be remembered. Ty was a kind and generous man with a firm belief in community, family, and helping others. The first day he walked onto KSS's 23-acre campus was a typical chilly day in early October 2012. At the time neither Ty nor the staff at KSS had any idea what a meaningful and special relationship was about to take root. He was there simply to learn more about our Legacy Camp program, but was so moved by what he heard that he left us with a check that fully covered the cost of the program for one year. We were shocked, overjoyed, and amazed at the generosity of a man we hardly knew.
Designed for children dealing with the loss of a family member, Legacy Camp instills pride and strength through the concept of legacy. With intentional, purposeful programming we work to provide these children with a sense of community, empowerment, and fun.
Ty and his wife, Missie, opened their ranch to the Legacy Camp participants who enjoyed a multi-day adventure complete with beautiful hikes, campfires, s’mores, and connection to the outdoors. He wasn’t one to sit back and watch from afar – he jumped in and got to know the children impacted by his generous gift, even sleeping in the dorms on our campus to better understand the program.
Ty’s involvement with KSS didn’t stop at Legacy Camp. He became a Board Member and was also the lead donor in our Campaign for KSS – an emergency fundraising effort that allowed Keystone Science School to become an independent organization in 2013. Ty and Missie gave $1M to the effort and ensured that the impact of KSS’s programs could be realized for generations to come. Our 23-acre campus is named Pennington Campus in honor of this generous support.
As a Catalyst donor – one who gives more than $1,000 each year – Ty participated in other programs at KSS to learn more about what we do. One snowy afternoon Ty came to see the CATCH Afterschool Program in action at Dillon Valley Elementary. And in typical Ty fashion, we didn’t have to twist his arm very hard to get him into the action – he jumped right in and was playing games and running around with the kids. His mischievous smile and good-natured competitive streak made him popular with the kids in no time.
We have been repeatedly humbled and honored by the generosity and devotion we have received from Ty and Missie over the last couple of years. Ty’s energy, intelligence, motivation, and approachability made him a natural friend of KSS and a valued advisor for our organization. He will be deeply missed.