Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda’s family surprises Utah nonprofit with donation

Good News Notes:

A Utah nonprofit that serves refugees received a surprise phone call from the father of popular playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wanted to help out.

Late last week, Amy Dott Harmer, executive director of Utah Refugee Connection, got a heads-up that she would soon receive a phone call from someone who wanted to donate to the nonprofit.

She says she had “no idea” who it might be. The call came 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 in meeting the needs of people who are new to the United States,'” Harmer said.

When the caller told her the donation amount, which Harmer describes as “very generous,” it sparked her curiosity. The nonprofit often receives donations from family foundations, but not for such high sums.

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

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

“We’re the Miranda family, and my name is Luis. We just heard about the work you’re doing, and we’d like to support your efforts,” Harmer remembered him saying.

She said she was “dumbfounded” and didn’t fully process the call until later.

Harmer learned the Miranda family is familiar with Utah and knows some of its residents. The family reached out to acquaintances and asked for a suggestion of a nonprofit that benefits new Americans in the community.

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

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

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