Fostering Strength 2014 – Leigh Anne Tuohy


On May 17, 2014, Junior League of Cedar Rapids hosted Fostering Strength, Iowa’s largest foster care advocacy event, a dinner and silent auction which included a powerful call to action by Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Tuohy is best known for being featured in Michael Lewis’ 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, and its 2009 feature film adaptation The Blind Side, where she was played by Sandra Bullock. The book and film detail the whirlwind changes in their lives that the Tuohy family experienced as they added foster son Michael Oher to their family.

A foster parent, interior designer, mother, and community leader, Tuohy inspires audiences to recognize the full potential of individuals in their community—and to find value in those who society has deemed valueless.  In reflecting on the first time she met Michael Oher, her foster son, she said, “He had a much greater impact on our lives than we did on his life.”

Watch the video below for Leigh Anne’s take on why everyone, including foster care kids, should be valued.

Years after The Blind Side broke box office records and inspired individuals nationwide, Tuohy continues to make an impact. In July 2010, she and her husband, Sean, released the New York Times best-seller, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, and established their charity, The Making it Happen Foundation, which promotes awareness, provides hope, and improves standards of living for all the children fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society.

Tuohy’s newest book, Making it Happen: Just Turn Around, details concrete action steps people can take to becoming more involved and giving—in both their community and in their one on one interactions with others. Through all of her projects, Leigh Anne continues her mission to inspire hope, ignite generosity, and make it happen for underserved youth.

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Tuohy is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, with a degree in interior design. She and her husband Sean are the parents of daughter Collins (26) and sons Michael Oher (26) and Sean, Jr. (19). She owns Flair I, a design firm with her mother and partner, Virginia Roberts. Tuohy was a member of the design team forExtreme Makeover: Home Edition Season 8 in 2010-11.


Past Fostering Strength Events:

2013: Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of Language of Flowers and founder of Camellia Network

2015: Dr. Jennifer Arnold from TLC’s docu-drama The Little Couple

2016: Travis Lloyd, author of Overcoming Emotional Trauma

2017: Gigi Edwards Bryant, Texas Foster Care Alum and Speaker

2018: Charell Star, Foster Care Alum, Journalist and Media Personality

2019: Steve Pemberton, author of A Chance in the World