Initially, Kerry paid the start-up fees and other costs out of her own pocket. For the first annual fundraiser, a friend hosted a wine and cheese party. The past two years Kerry has held a Memories Ride at Flywheel, a popular indoor cycling studio; last January the event brought in nearly $30,000. She constantly receives donations from people in her community and has also been awarded two grants, so Kerry now pays herself a modest salary.
Memories Live is basically a one-person operation, though Kerry's husband, Neil, assists with the finances and a close friend handles public relations. Kerry usually works while her children are at school, occasionally interviewing people on weekends. "I try not to talk about business around my kids because it's a pretty heavy topic for them," she says. "But they're starting to understand what I do, and they think it's cool."
While Kerry has helped people in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, she unfortunately cannot accommodate more distant clients, though she offers guidance to those who want to create their own movies. To help support her nonprofit side, she's considering creating a for-profit arm of the company to offer her expertise to healthy people. In fact, Kerry hopes to make her own movie one day and has started writing down funny stories and family anecdotes. She also picks up valuable wisdom from clients. "One of the best pieces of advice I've received is to not miss special moments with my kids because I may not get another chance," she says. "It's most important to enjoy the time that you have with your loved ones."
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.