emmaus homes: To enhance the quality of life for adults who have cognitive, intellectual and other developmental disabilities

Q| How long have you been a volunteer?
A| About eight years

Q| What made you interested in this particular cause?
A| I have been doing nonprofit work since I started my law practice in 1992 because the two are so closely tied together. I mainly do estate planning, which paves the way into working with charitable giving and philanthropy. Lisa Drier, the executive director, is a friend of mine. We had worked together for more than 20 years at other organizations, so she introduced me to Emmaus Homes. Through my job, I do a lot of work with clients who have children with special needs, which is why I was drawn to Emmaus. It serves as an invaluable resource to these families.

Q| What kind of volunteer work are you involved with?
A| I help charitable organizations through helping clients with their estate planning. I’m on the development committee, and we’ve raised on average around $2 million each year for Emmaus. We started discussing hosting an annual fundraising event, and I came up with the idea for Duckfest. There are so many golf tournaments and dinner auctions that we were trying to think of something different. The water fowl industry is actually a prized resource in our area, and prominent local businessmen and companies own private duck clubs, many in the St. Peters area where Emmaus Homes is headquartered. Since it was my idea, I became the chair. (The event features duck calling contests, raffles, live music, and more.) I wanted to do something that was unique and tap into a different market of fundraising. A lot of people don’t know much about the nonprofit even though it’s been around a while, so this way we could involve a whole different group of people. This will be our third year for the event, and we’re hoping to eventually get all the local duck clubs involved. The first year we raised $40,000, the second year $65,000, so it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Q| If you could do anything for the organization, what would it be?
A| To raise public awareness because unfortunately, Emmaus Homes is one of the best kept secrets in the area. Getting the word out would really help with fundraising. There is a large gap between what the organization receives from client fees and public funding compared to the actual costs for care, which is quite a bit more. We have to do a lot of fundraising to fill that gap.

In the Words of Emmaus Homes: “Through his work with area nonprofits and specifically Emmaus Homes, Shawn has helped raise millions of dollars to help those in need. His charismatic working style and leadership have connected local businesses and community members to the organizations he serves.”


meet the emmaus homes executive committee
Nancy Litzinger, secretary; Shawn Saale, Duckfest committee chair; Charles Gross, chair; Lev Reynolds, vice chair

Featured photo: Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography
Board photo:  Joe Wetter Photography