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Family of playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda surprises Utah nonprofit with donation

Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father Luis Miranda Jr. are featured in a social media post after donating to Utah Refugee Connection. (Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah nonprofit serving refugees received a surprise phone call from popular playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father, who wanted to help.

At the end of last week, Amy Dott Harmer, executive director of Utah Refugee Connection, was warned that she would soon receive a phone call from someone who wanted to donate to the association.

She said she had “no idea” who it might be. The call arrived on the morning of Friday July 2.

“This guy just said, ‘This is Luis, and you don’t know me, but I have a family foundation and we really want to support your efforts to meet the needs of newcomers to the United States,” said Harmer. mentionned.

When the caller told him the amount of the donation, which Harmer describes as “very generous”, it piqued his curiosity. The association often receives donations from family foundations, but not for such large sums.

“And I said, ‘Tell me a little more about your family foundation,'” she recalls.

“He said, ‘Well, you know the Hamilton musical? My son wrote that,’” Harmer added.

“We are the Miranda family and my name is Luis. We just heard about the work you do and we would love to support your efforts,” Harmer recalls.

She said she was “stunned” and did not fully process the call until later.

Harmer has learned that the Miranda family know Utah and know some of its residents. The family contacted acquaintances and asked for a suggestion for a nonprofit that benefits new Americans in the community.

“I think they understand the gift of diversity, and they’re trying to build and advocate for ways that people can see that diversity is really a beautiful part of our American culture, and that represents theirs. movie “In the Heights” and in the way they choose to channel their energies, telling some of the stories of these new Americans, and that they can be useful in building our economy and the landscape of the United States, “said Harmer .

After Utah Refugee Connection shared the story on their social media accounts, Governor Spencer Cox also tweeted his thanks to the Miranda family “for their friendship, kindness and generosity.”

Luis Miranda replied to the tweet: “Thank you, Governor!”

Harmer declined to disclose the amount of the donation, but thanked the Mirandas for their generosity.

Utah Refugee Connection strives to provide services to immigrants that are not provided elsewhere.

“We fill in the gaps in the community, so sometimes, you know, we work with a lot of different nonprofits and programs to try to fill in those gaps that are critical,” Harmer said.

Utah Refugee Connection helps connect those who want to serve with the needs of their communities and build friendships with volunteers and refugees.

The association is currently collecting school supplies for refugee students until the end of July, Harmer said.

Those interested in helping can visit Utah Refugee Connection’s social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or visit serverefugees.org.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion