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Meet Our Founder

Ethel Gardner’s journey from victim to victory began with the loss of her only son as she put her grief into helping others going through trauma. She used journaling and prayer to “write the wrongs” in life. Finding little comfort in loss support groups after the sudden death of her son Damon, Ethel Gardner started A Mother’s Cry, meeting with other grieving mothers over coffee.


In 1995, she opened the Kennedy Austin Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 family crisis intervention center in Pomona helping under-privileged families overcome trauma. The Kennedy Austin Foundation has served nearly 100,000 people in the tricity area through mental health classes, support  and writing groups, anger management, food distributions, loss interventions, violence prevention, and events. An author and radio personality, Ethel Gardner, strives to further expand her message of healing and hope after trauma and loss.


While the office and services closed down or scaled back during COVID, the time of sabbath rest has reinvigorated Ethel’s vision to help others overcome the pain of loss to become stronger and transformed. In the community, youth suicide, homelessness,violence and mental health breakdowns have intensified over the last few years of lockdowns and isolation. As people emerge from this forced period of cocooning, they seek pathways to normalcy, ways to rebuild their strength, recovery from loss of family and friends, relief from society’s lies and conspiracies. Ethel’s reimagined foundation is setting up to focus on these present needs. 

Ms. Gardner, affectionately known as Ms. Ethel, has worked tirelessly to provide all resource support free of charge, by bringing together  community resources and by way of community donations. She also works with a team of volunteers who share her passion for people and she  invites others to support her foundations mission. 

As  part of her community outreach efforts, she has partnered with the city  of Pomona to be a “first responder” to those in crisis; by providing  food, clothing, shelter, and end of life planning resource services. She has also partnered with Tri-City Mental Health Services to provide grief counseling and support. Ms. Gardner also hosts an annual “Million  Mother’s March,” a community event that commemorates the lives of loved ones that have passed away. This is an event of celebration and honor.

Over the years, she has been able to turn her tragedy into triumph and published her first book, “A Mother’s Cry” on October 8, 2004. Continuing in service, she has been recognized for her community outreach and support, and has even been honored by Senator Connie Leyva as the “2015 Women of the Year” and locally for being Pomona’s very own “Hero of the Year.” 


What's Coming Next:

MM Magazine Spring Issue Featuring Founder | CEO of The Kennedy Austin Foundation. Copies sell fast so Pre-Order Your Print Copy Now!


The Power of Pause: By Ethel M. Gardner

Still Waiting to Live in a World Filled Full of Possibilities

Are you a people pleaser? A servant of all? Take that mask of  goodness away, and what will we find? Emptiness, loneliness, a victim. Surely we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). But God's righteousness can conquer evil once and for all. Only when we truly face our fears can we discover the courage, strength, and determination to pause, listen, and let God guide us to recovery and maturity in Christ Jesus. 

A Mothers Cry 

A   Mother's Cry Book Ethel's first book came out in October 2004

overcoming life's challenges, a fascinating account of Triumph over adversity, a beautifully written narrative that will capture the reader's heart. She is a woman of faith and courage.

The Makings of You

 This is a story of women who as they discovered themselves began to  emerge and break the curses off their lives while they embraced the word  of God "The Torah" they became powerful women of the word and embraced their Jewish roots. 

Legacy The Ethel Gardner Story

Abandoned, impoverished, and abused, the early life of Ethel Gardner was impacted by immense tragedies. Without the guidance of any strong female figures and finding herself a maternal figure by the age of 8 to her brothers and sisters, Ethel faced the responsibilities of adulthood far too s

Crown Of Courage: Mental Health Awareness

Ethel Gardner shares the importance of outreach for people struggling  with mental health challenges on this episode of Crown of Courage. 

The Crown of Courage Ep7: Foundations

Dylan Littlefield talks with Ethel Gardner, founder of the Kennedy  Austin Foundation. The Kennedy Austin Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and supporting women and families whose lives have been impacted by tragedy. 


The Crown of Courage Ep. 1

Ms. Ethel Gardner teaches us how to live beyond loss. Through practice  we can see that it is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to  overcome fear one courageous act at a time.

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