KALAMAZOO, Mich., — Bill Wright admits he could have ended up a statistic.
“Why I’m alive…the man upstairs must have something in store for me, because I probably shouldn’t be.”
Wright, 54, is a successful businessman who owns several car dealerships across West Michigan. By most accounts, he is living the “American dream”, after surviving a childhood that was a nightmare.
“We lived pretty normal, had a ranch house. But, inside is where all the hell happened,” Wright told FOX 17 News. “It became a familiar thing for police to visit our house.”
Wright says he frequently witnessed domestic violence in his home, most likely due to having two alcoholic parents. He also experienced child abuse.
“I remember hospital visits, I remember going to school bruised, and nobody asking questions,” he said.
Wright aims to reach other kids in the same situation before it’s too late. He’s established a non-profit fund called “Wright for Kids” which benefits various charities and agencies around the Kalamazoo community that work with kids who are abused or in need.
“I started ‘Wright For Kids’ because I want our whole community to be aware that these are our kids,” explained Wright. “One of three kids is either sexually or physically abused…I want to try and stop the cycles. The most important thing I want to do is bring awareness.”
To date, “Wrights For Kids” has been able to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the community. The foundation’s biggest fundraiser is a two-day concert in Kalamazoo. The event brings in about $100,000 thousand dollars every year to help kids.
This year’s “Arcadia Rock Fest” happens Friday, August 16th and Saturday, August 17th. Wright is promising some of the best tribute bands around, along with surprises for local kids.
“It just keeps growing, and people know it’s a great event,” said Wright. “Every dime that comes in to ‘Wright For Kids’ goes out.”
Wright said the biggest goal is showing other kids that no matter what their situation is– they too can fulfill their dreams.
“I didn’t want to be the biggest car dealer, I’d rather have helped people if I could,” said Wright. “If I could ever have anything on my tombstone, it’d be that he cares… I hope I’m doing God’s work, I hope I’m giving someone more hope than I had.”
FOX 17 is a proud sponsor of the Arcadia Rock Fest, for more info, click here.
For more information on “Wright For Kids”, click here.