Published 04/14/14

Bryant sophomores help Marathon bomb survivor build nonprofit, reclaim life

If not for a group of Bryant University sophomores and their professor, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor’s dream of inspiring children might never have been realized.

Today, Jarrod Clowery is sharing his message of hope, compassion, and kindness through Heroes Hearts Foundation, a nonprofit organization created from the ground up by sophomores in Lecturer Christopher Ratcliffe’s Management Principles and Practices course, known on campus as Management 200.

"It was a lot of work but it became so much more. ... We made a foundation that is going to go far beyond Bryant.”

The April 15 bomb that exploded just three feet from him nearly killed Clowery, a construction worker from Stoneham, MA. But that “one second of evil … was followed by endless seconds of good,” he says – selfless acts of first responders and health care professionals, and get-well letters from children around the world.

Such acts gave Clowery a new focus in life: establishing an organization aimed at preventing bullying and celebrating ordinary heroes. But how? He was no businessman.

That’s where Ratcliffe and his students stepped in. Management 200 is a required hands-on course.  In it, sophomores build on concepts learned during Global Foundations of Business, a course that is part of Bryant’s nationally-recognized First-Year Gateway.  Partnering with local nonprofit agencies, the sophomores complete semester-long projects that include fundraising, operations management, event planning, and program development.

“As an instructor of Management 200, I’m always on the lookout for nonprofit organizations” to work with, Ratcliffe says. Through a family friend, Ratcliffe learned about Clowery and saw a unique service learning opportunity for his students. Most Management 200 groups work with established nonprofits, but beginning in the fall of 2013, and continuing through spring 2014, Ratcliffe’s students helped Clowery build and launch Heroes Hearts Foundation. They developed a mission statement, created a business plan, navigated the legal process required for nonprofit status, built a website. They secured speaking engagements for Clowery – including one at Smithfield High School – and helped him hone his presentation skills.

To create a source of sustainable funding for the foundation, Ratcliffe volunteered to write a book. All sales of Tuesday Will Come, a story about Clowery and those who helped save him, benefit the foundation.

“It was a lot of work but it became so much more,” said Hanna Williamson ’16, of North Andover, MA. A fall semester student in Management 200, Williamson was so transformed by the project that she continued to work as a volunteer the following semester. “Jarrod was so determined that it made us so determined,” she said. “We made a foundation that is going to go … far beyond Bryant.”

Clowery is generous with his praise for the Bryant students.  He’s the founder of Heroes Hearts, but “it’s their foundation,” he says. “They built it.”