WAYZATA — The people who offer support and friendship to the more than 1,600 individuals served by Hammer Residences will be honored at the annual Reach for Ralph benefit.

The theme for this year's event, which will be held Thursday, July 20, is “Caring for the Heart of Hammer.” Each day, 405 caregivers help those with developmental and intellectual disabilities who are served by Hammer in the west metro.

To help those caregivers, Hammer officials are hoping to raise at least $300,000 through the Reach for Ralph event. The money will help fund benefits such as training and education grants and an employee emergency fund.

Former Hammer employee John Coy, who is a well known author and speaker, will host this year’s festivities and share his story about his experience working as a caregiver at Hammer from 1985-1991. Reach for Ralph attendees will also meet Krystyna, an individual supported by Hammer, and her caregiver Jenny, and they will share their story.

This year’s event will feature a multi-media program, live and silent auctions, and buffet dinner. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour at Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. The live program will begin by 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $85 before July 17 and are on sale now at hammer.org/reach-for-ralph/ or by calling Ginger Venable at 952-345-0115. The price at the door goes up to $95.

The inspiration behind the event was Ralph Rosenvold, a lovable boy who had a disability few understood in the 1920s. At the time, most people believed Ralph should have been institutionalized. However, Alvina Hammer, founder of Hammer Residences, believed Ralph deserved to live in a loving environment, a home setting with a school that would focus on his abilities and desires to be himself.

Ralph grew up as a member of the Hammer family living a long, full life until he passed away in 1995. Each year, in honor of him, the organization and community celebrates “Reach for Ralph” to support other individuals with developmental disabilities.


Amanda Schwarze is a Lakeshore reporter who is passionate about local government and nonprofit projects. She is thoughtful and independent. Amanda loves traveling, cooking and spending time with her boyfriend and their two cats (Buddy Guy and Spotacus).