'We're The Ones Receiving The Blessings' — Gayle & Doug Share #WhyIGive

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Gayle and Doug Craik have been supporters of Project Legacy since 2012. Gayle was a familiar face to Karen’s family as she dated Karen’s brother, Steve in the 80s. After Steve’s untimely death in 2012, Gayle reunited with Karen and her family, which is how she learned about Project Legacy.

Although on opposite sides of the political scene, both Gayle and Karen had a common passion to help others change their lives. Locally, Gayle and Doug have given back to their local Sioux Falls community through nonprofits like Junior League, The Banquet, and The Parrot Heads of the Prairie, but they had never seen a program like Project Legacy.

According to the Craik’s, they decided to give to Project Legacy because it’s a program that not just helps youth and young adults, but it changes generations yet to come. They believe big government is not the answer, but that neighbors need to help and look out for one another. They see the discrimination, lack of opportunity, poverty, homelessness and child abuse that is everywhere — especially in absent parent homes — and they’re inspired to do what they can to help.

Since first getting  involved, the Craik’s have donated personally, through their businesses, and often promote Project Legacy on social media. The Craik’s say the only downfall with Project Legacy is that they don’t live in Rochester to be more involved.

Their most meaningful experience with Project Legacy was being partnered with Paul, a participant in Project Legacy. From the start, the connection was personal. With kids of their own, Gayle knew that supporting Paul in the fall would require a checkup of his winter coat, boots, hat, gloves and all the things college kids needs and sometimes lose. He was very modest, insisting he needed nothing — but Gayle knew better.

Gayle asked Paul to send her items of things he wanted, but instead he only sent what he needed. Everything was on sale or on clearance, so she kept pushing and finally got the links of the winter clothing that he both needed and wanted. Finally, she felt like she had gotten through to him that they were there for him, not just that month or that year, and not just for winter clothes.

They would always be there for Paul.

Fast forward to today, and there have been texts, calls, book payments, cell phone bills, cable bill mix ups, calls when accidents happen, calls when a class is tough or going great, and pizza deliveries late at night during finals. All these things have been exchanged between the three of them. Gayle and Doug have answered questions that all kids ask when they’re becoming self-sufficient adults. And sometimes, things get emotionally charged — like when the Bears and Packers play each other.

According to Gayle and Doug, Paul is their fourth son, because he is that and so much more to them. And what they say about that love is hard to disagree with, “It’s us who receive the blessings.”


Project Legacy helps youth in need of support and unconditional love. Please consider a monthly donation to Project Legacy by joining our Legacy Partners program, or consider a one-time gift for Give To The Max Day 2018.

Karen Edmonds