Our Story

The Friends Foundation began in 1970 when two women, Bea Koch and Billie Kramme, discussed how to start a volunteer organization whose purpose would be to support, at the time, The Emmaus Home residents on the Marthasville campus with needs that they may have.  Billie was the Program Director at that Emmaus facility and Bea Koch was one of the first volunteers to step forward and help weekly by teaching skills to the residents.  Bea’s husband, Ken, was also a volunteer helping wherever he could.  Bea and Billie were determined to form this nonprofit group by seeking more volunteers through local churches and the public.   After an organizational meeting took place, and more volunteers came forward, they began making specific needs known.   One of the first major purchases that the Friends of Emmaus spearheaded was a school bus to transport residents to various activities – Cardinal Ball games, the Zoo, etc. The Friends of Emmaus changed their name to The Friends Foundation in January 2019 when the Emmaus campus in Marthasville was closed and the residents were moved into area homes in the community.   The mission of the Friends Foundation changed to now include ALL individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities throughout Warren and Franklin County area. Throughout the Organization’s rich history, the “Fall Bazaar” has been one of the most successful events for The Friends Foundation which enables them to still carry out the mission of supporting these individuals who need assistance.   The Fall Festival includes various activities to make it fun for all ages!   A “Quilt Auction” has been the highlight of the event and always brings beautiful, handmade works of art from various donors.  In 2011, the Friends Foundation golf tournament was started in order to raise more funds and allowing more purchases, big and small, to be given to the worthy benefactors.   All money made at the various fundraisers are used to benefit people with developmental and intellectual disabilities specifically in Warren and Franklin Counties.