Elderly Poor

Robert Tolar, executive director of the IDEA Foundation, first visited Romania in 1991 as a member of a Washington State University small business assistance project.  At that time, the plight of Romanian orphanages was well publicized and many had rallied to help.  However, during the project, Tolar learned of the equally desperate circumstances of the elderly poor in rural villages.  Many were subsisting on monthly pensions of less than $4.

Initially help came solely from some of the WSU team members.  In 1993, Michael Attwood, a member of a musical trio in Portland, Oregon. visited Romania.  Upon his return to the US, he and other members of The Rite of Spring held a benefit concert for Romania’s elderly poor.  These performances became an annual fund-raising event for what is now the IDEA Foundation.  Funds generated from the concerts go to help those in the most severe need in rural Romania.

During the past decade, concert-generated donations have helped well over two hundred families.  Donated funds have purchased firewood and food, paid for utilities, and bought desperately needed medicines.  Donated clothing and household goods have been shipped to several Romanian villages.  A donation even paid the entire mortgage for one elderly widow who was two weeks away from being evicted from her one-room home.