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The Copp Family.PNG

Though Tammy’s funding expertise and drive to help came long before the Abilities Expo, it was when she was invited to host a one-on-one workshop for their attendees that the idea for The Funding Project took off. She was asked to sit down with anyone who wanted her help, to teach them to raise funds for their child’s needs.  

I spoke with each and every person who stopped by, and together we came up with a funding plan for what they needed for their child.

It was so exciting… I had people signing up to come back throughout the weekend. We worked together until we had a step-by-step outline to help them raise those funds. They each left with a copy of my book and a funding plan, and when they got home, they used it, successfully getting what their child needed. 


Among the many people she met that weekend were the Copps, a family from Waco, Texas. Their sons, Calan and Lawson, were in wheelchairs because of their rare mitochondrial condition. The parents wanted to raise $100,000 to make their home accessible. Nobody Tammy had worked with had ever had such a lofty goal, but she came up with a plan and the Copps went home to make it happen. ​​

The last time Tammy had spoken with Melissa Copp, she was working on the fundraiser that they’d planned and she’d scheduled a string of events to raise the needed funds. A while later, on a Sunday afternoon in January of 2018, Tammy was watching HGTV’s Fixer Upper television show. She heard a familiar voice and looked up to see the Copps and their boys on the show. Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Foundation, along with the Tim Tebow Foundation, were building them the house of their dreams! 

Tammy had known the Copp family was going to be successful but had never imagined how successful they’d be. Not only was their home redesigned to be more accessible for their children, but a tweet from Chip Gaines resulted in their mortgage being paid off within 48 hours!


Melissa’s incredible success didn’t stop there.  Make-A-Wish Foundation built them an accessible backyard, and Variety Club of Texas sent the family on their first-ever vacation, to Disney World. 

Today the family is paying it forward through their Raising Wheels Foundation, providing all kinds of support for individuals who are differently abled.

All because Melissa listened to Tammy’s lessons and learned it was okay to ask for help.

The "Lightbulb Moment"

After the Copp’s story appeared on HGTV, Tammy Simmons had what Oprah calls a“lightbulb moment.” A mom reached out to her after the story aired. ​

​She told me that if she’d been handed my book when her daughter was two days old in the NICU instead of the pamphlet of resources the nurse said would help, her daughter would’ve had the things she needed as she grew up. She told me I needed to get my book into every NICU to help parents whose kids had those huge financial needs.

It was that conversation, inspired by the Copps’ story, that was the real catalyst. Simmons knew she had to expand her reach so she could help many families at once. She wanted to get her books in every NICU throughout the country. That was when The Funding Project was born.


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