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About the Foundation

Symbolizing our goal to provide a small candle of light to those in need

On December 7, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. Detectives working on the case characterized her disappearance as suspicious and having criminal overtones. The investigation into her disappearance continues.

The Susan Cox Powell Foundation was established in 2010 by Susan’s Parents with the help of friends, and after and overwhelming response from people around the world.  Their email, letters, and Facebook messages of support and sharing of other parents with missing children, questions of parents concerned about their children in potentially similar situations but without the support we felt, moved us to create this Foundation. 

The mission of the Foundation is:

  • To assist families of missing persons by providing no-cost strategic media consulting services to ensure that their loved one’s face and name remain in the public eye as long as possible;
  • To research and catalog resources across the United States that may be helpful to families of missing persons in an effort to create a resource clearinghouse for other families to use in their time of crisis, and;
  • To support domestic violence prevention efforts and to participate in community and school-based education about domestic violence prevention with a special emphasis on recognizing the early signs of abuse.

The services of the Susan Cox Powell Foundation will allow family members of missing persons to receive multi-faceted support during the critical first days after their loved one’s disappearance. We have found that the opportunity to talk with family members who have endured this unique trial was of tremendous value to us when Susan went missing. We hope to provide the same strong shoulder and caring heart to families of missing persons that others have granted us during this difficult time. One need we see is to help families connect with existing organizations in their local area that are able to provide assistance.   We had no idea the number of resources available, we felt blessed that in our case we had our faith and good friends to help us, but we now are aware of many established non-profit organizations that could have been a great help.  Unfortunately, learning of these organizations a year or more after the crisis is not as helpful as it would have been in the first few days or weeks.  We believe that this is a common problem and hope to work to help eliminate this problem.   We felt that the unprecedented National and World Wide response to our situation and accompanying media coverage gives us the unique opportunity and responsibility to do this.  Our goal is to help others recognize the early signs of domestic abuse and get help, so that their families can be spared from the agony that arises when a more dire consequence occurs.  We are willing and able to listen, consult, and refer families to those organizations we are aware of, and to provide other assistance as our foundation resources increase.

Susan’s legacy is service. Her example of providing for others and loving her friends and family through their trials has set the standard for the foundation which bears her name. We share her desire to help others and to provide service to those who experience the painful ordeal of a missing loved one.

On February 5th, 2012, Charlie Powell age 7 and Braden Powell age 5 died of smoke inhalation when their father Joshua Powell committed suicide by burning down the house he rented.   During the first  supervised visit following Josh’s failure to regain custody of the boys, Joshua locked the visitation supervisor out of the house, then attacked Charlie then Braden with a hatchet and set the house ablaze.    Joshua left messages with his attorney and family members stating he was sorry “for all the people he had hurt”.

The Susan Cox Powell Foundation has an even stronger desire to reach out and provide assistance to other families as a legacy to our daughter Susan, and our Grandsons Charlie and Braden Powell.

We have partnered with the Tears Foundation, who have established “the Charlie and Braden Project”.  They now accept donations and provide assistance in Washington State to parents of families losing a child between the ages of 1-12, by helping to pay some of the cost of burial.  A burden faced by parents already trying to deal with such a powerful loss.

The local Sheriff deputy and his partner were moved by a drawing by Charlie of a Dinosaur, the tragedy of the boy’s death, and their experience with other children who through no fault of their own enter Foster Care and have their lives forever impacted.  They established the “Charlie’s Dinosaur” project, with the help of “Crime Stoppers”.  This organization provides new clothing, backpacks to help with foster care moves, school supplies and other necessities.

Susan’s story has helped parents and people across the nation in re-evaluating their own situations, and has no doubt saved lives.  The foundation has helped other non-profits by attracting media attention to their events.  One event held in Olympia, Washington resulted in the reunification of a missing teenager, with her family.   The foundation has helped a local family with a missing child with media needs, and planning a search effort, and sadly with a vigil after the child’s body was found.

Although the end of Susan’s story is not known at this time and Charlie and Braden where unable to be protected from their abusive father and the weaknesses of the  system that was supposed to protect them.  The Foundation and our partners are working to prevent and fight domestic violence and the abuse of children and help families facing other issues.   The goal is to ensure that Susan, Charlie and Braden’s tragedy is not forgotten, and that others faced with similar ongoing situations get all the help they can.   Thus, leaving a legacy of hope and love.


The Susan Cox Powell Foundation received official notification through a letter dated March 18, 2014 that we qualify as a Public Charity under Section 501 (c) (3), with an effective date of February 10, 2010.   Contributions to the Susan Cox Powell Foundation are deductible under section 170 of the code.


Please see the “How to Help” page for other ways to donate or help us fight against Domestic Violence, and to help friends and families.