April 03, 2011 06:26 PM by Veronica Dudo
Secret Millionaire: on ABC is the reality series, where six of America’s most successful business people spend a week in the country’s poorest areas, ending their stay by giving members of the community hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money. Keep reading to find out what organizations Gary and Diane Heavin donated to during their journey!
Gary and Diane Heavin are the founders of Curves International, Inc., which is the world’s largest fitness franchise company. They made exercise available to more than four million women worldwide with their innovative express fitness phenomenon. They opened the first Curves in 1992 in Harlingen, Texas which became an overnight success. The idea was to provide women with a supportive and comfortable workout atmosphere. They decided to open a second club and when that too was a hit they knew they honed in on a market that wasn’t being serviced by traditional gyms. Soon, Curves became a franchise and independently owned and operated Curves began to open.
The Heavins are among the largest philanthropists in Central Texas. They provide funding for a number of programs including: healthcare, health-based education for women, family abuse prevention and adoption services. In 2006 the annual Curves Food Drive raised more than 11 million pounds of food for those in need.
Gary and Dian live on a ranch outside Waco with their daughter, Shilah, their extended family and their pets.
In Sunday night’s episode, the Heavins traveled to Houston, Texas where they found three organizations to donate money to while living on $6.50 a day.
The first organization they visited was No More Victims, which helps children whose parents at some point served time in jail. Momma G who runs it took Gary and Diane on one of her visits to members in the community. Momma G explained how they help children with the emotional, physical and academic aspects of their lives while their parent and/or parents are in jail or have just returned home from jail. During a counseling session with the children, Gary and Diane learn more about what’s happening in the lives of these children. The kids shared stories about how their parents have gone to jail, some more than once and how they have to step up and take on more responsibilities at home. The couple also meets Warren; a young man who volunteers at the organization and has endured a very tough life.
Next, the couple travels to the Sean Ashley House which is a home for people with autism. Gary and Diane volunteer there and meet some of the residents. Then they join their field-trip where the residents ride horses.
The following day, Gary and Diane visit the Lazarus House which is a non-profit organization that serves as a wellness center for people who have body issues due to medical problems. They meet one of the trainers and a young woman named Charlie who has HIV and is blind as a result. Charlie is very happy she can visit the Lazarus House to build up her muscles.
On the final day Diane and Gary reveal their true identities. First they visit the Lazarus House and present the organization with a check for $100,000. Next they return to No More Victims where they give Momma G a check made out for $50,000 to keep the program going. Diane and Gary give Warren $10,000 to help him with his education. Finally, Gary and Diane go back to the Sean Ashley House and hand them a check for $250,000.
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Photo Credit: ABC