Badger Girls Tragedy: Father of 3 Who Died in Conn. Fire Launches Memorial Fund


"The monument in some ways is very spiritual. It's also [how] I found a place of tremendous healing for me. When I work on it, I'm surrounded by love of friends, who gather and talk about how we can make this charity grow," Badger said. "My journey … has been remarkable, and in some ways has refocused my life for, I would say, a greater purpose."

Badger said he was especially inspired by New York public school teacher Amie Schindel, who sent his daughter, Gracie, skipping to school each day. Schindel told ABC News of her fond memories of the girl.

"I remember having her like it was yesterday. She just kind of shined," Schindel said.

Badger enlisted the help of kindred spirit Charles Best, whose innovative program,, allows people to give money directly to schools.

"Many of the teacher requests are about incorporating art into science, or into math, or into English, and really making art a part of everybody's education," Best says. "Someone who goes to the Lily Sarah Grace Fund website will not just see these incredible videos that Matt has created with his girls, and interviews with art teachers across America, they'll be able to support the request of a public school teacher in an elementary school who needs specific art resources to weave the arts into their teaching throughout an entire semester."

Badger believes that an arts-based grant to a teacher can infuse the classroom with a sense of energy that's contagious.

"If the teacher is rewarded by one of our grants, they're empowered, and they're excited," he said. "That enthusiasm for education is then put into that class. That enthusiasm takes over with the children, and the children start to feel like, 'This is a great class.'"

Best called's partnership with the Lily Sarah Grace Fund "one of the greatest honors" in his organization's 11-year history.

"I think what people should know is … if their hearts are moved by Matt's vision for building a monument to Lily, Sarah and Grace, they can donate with absolute confidence in the integrity and the quality of our execution together," he said.

Badger hopes that he is able to help others with the Lily Sarah Grace Fund, but also keep his daughters' memory alive.

"Ultimately, [my] healing will be when [I] walk into a classroom in the fall, and see one of those classes that is being funded by this monument that I've created for my children," he said. "And if we are able to do that, than Lily, Sarah and Grace have done it. They've done it. It's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful.

"I am a very private person," Badger added. "I don't want to seek any celebrity out of this. I don't want to be the focus of this. I don't want any personal gain from this. I just want people to visit the, and learn about my girls."

Click here to learn more about the Lily Sarah Grace Fund

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...