Claudette and Jimmy Roehrig were raised to show gratitude. “We both come from middle-class families with values that say you shouldn’t take good fortune for granted,” says Claudette. “You should give back.”
About 17 years ago, the Roehrigs were surprised to learn that Bill Gates wanted to buy the photography agency Jimmy had built from the ground up. “We were really lucky,” says Claudette. “It felt like the American dream come true.” Eventually the couple, parents of three grown children, retired to Santa Barbara.
True to their values, they didn’t sit back and enjoy the good life. Claudette, who has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, supported an organization that provides shelter, support, and advocacy to women in crisis and their children. Jimmy launched a volunteer initiative to gather unpicked home-grown fruit for area food banks.
Recently Claudette was introduced to Braille Institute’s Santa Barbara Center by her friend Marsha Marcoe, Director of Philanthropy there. “I’ve had this secret passion to sculpt,” Claudette reveals, “and when I saw the art room and the sculptures students were doing, I was blown away.” That moment inspired the Roehrigs to make a generous gift through Braille Institute’s Visionary Campaign in support of the creative arts program.
Claudette feels that Braille Institute is an ideal recipient. “Just walking through the doors there,” says Claudette, “you get a feeling not only of tranquility and serenity but also of possibility and opportunity. Braille Institute is a place where there are no limits. It encourages people experiencing vision loss to reach their full potential. And best of all, they provide these amazing services free of charge!”.