Meet Our Team
In 2005, Gordon sold his companies and established the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation so he and his wife, Maggie, could pursue their dream of helping children and adults with special needs. Their devotion to this cause is inspired by their now 28-year-old daughter, Morgan, who was born with cognitive and physical special needs.
In 2007, Gordon recognized the tremendous need for fully-accessible outdoor recreational facilities, so he made another dream come true – the April 2010 grand opening of non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive theme park designed with individuals with special needs in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone. Two years later, global automotive giant Toyota, the leader in mobility solutions for drivers with disabilities, opted to become the presenting sponsor of Morgan’s Wonderland.
Morgan’s Wonderland, ranked by TripAdvisor as being among the top theme parks in the U. S., has welcomed approximately 2 million guests from all 50 states and more than 100 other countries through park visitation and special events. Gordon’s realization that families with special-needs members have great demands on both their financial and emotional resources led to his commitment to admit anyone with a special need free of charge.
On June 17, 2017, Gordon debuted Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive splash park. In addition to tropically-themed aquatic attractions that everyone can enjoy, the park includes the Wheelchair Valet where guests can transfer out of their personal wheelchairs into revolutionary pneumatic waterproof wheelchairs developed in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.
The World Waterpark Association honored Morgan’s Inspiration Island with its 2017 Leading Edge Award, and in 2018, TIME magazine named the splash park to its first annual list of World’s Greatest Places. Amusement Today, an internationally-circulated publication covering the theme park and amusements industry, proclaimed Morgan’s Wonderland as “Park of the Year” during presentation of the 2017 Golden Ticket Awards to “the best of the best.” In addition, Paralyzed Veterans of America bestowed the 2018 Barrier-Free America award upon Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island.
Another significant expansion completed in 2020 and officially opened in 2021– Morgan’s Wonderland Sports – is an Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive sports complex focused on fitness, competition and fun for athletes of all abilities. Morgan’s Wonderland Sports offers 3 acres of sports activities including basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball, football, pickleball and tennis. It also houses offices of Special Olympics Texas, which annually hosts its statewide Summer Games at Morgan’s Wonderland.
In May 2021, Gordon unveiled Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, a 102-acre recreational oasis on the northern outskirts of San Antonio that year-round offers an Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive summer-camp-type experience to those with and without special needs. Facilities can accommodate at one time up to 525 campers of all ages and abilities – along with staff – for day, weekend or week-long camp sessions. Morgan’s Wonderland Camp features more than 20 major fun elements including ziplines and a challenge course like none other. Activities also include horseback riding, archery, cycling and swimming, to name just a few.
Planning and design continue on a bold new approach to caregiving for those with special needs – the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, or The MAC. This unique, one-stop-shop care model will provide medical and non-medical services in one location. Medical, therapeutic and social determinants of health will be addressed in a 165,000-square-foot building. The MAC, scheduled to begin welcoming clients in the fall of 2022, will house 30 partner organizations working together under one roof to address the multi-faceted needs of people with cognitive and physical disabilities. This model of providing services in a coordinated manner will establish a new standard, not only in San Antonio but across the nation as well as internationally.
In addition, Gordon has served as a trusted advisor to innumerable non-profit organizations to help them achieve success in serving those in need. In January 2012, he mobilized a force of several hundred volunteers to construct a home for a wounded veteran in just 108 hours, a feat documented for a national audience by ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He also has been involved in projects that further San Antonio’s reputation as “Inclusion City, USA,” proclaimed by the City Council in 2015. These include accessibility improvements at City Hall, Bexar County Courthouse and San Antonio International Airport. During the pandemic of 2020, city and county officials called on Gordon to head the COVID-19 Community Action working group to recommend measures for long-term recovery and to identify local, state and federal resources to assist the community.
Since 2005, Gordon and Maggie Hartman and the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation have committed more than $86 million for the betterment of people with special needs. This is just the beginning for the Hartmans since they have pledged to donate 95 percent of their financial resources during their lifetimes or via their estate per the Giving Pledge, founded by philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. Gordon Hartman became the 210th member of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by individuals worldwide to give more than 50 percent of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes.
Because of his generosity, energy and vision, Gordon has earned extensive local, regional and national recognition including an honorary doctor of social work from San Antonio’s Our Lady of the Lake University. In 2019, Gordon was named recipient of The Governor’s Trophy, highest honor for lifetime achievement in support of Texans with disabilities. Furthermore, the Association of Fundraising Professionals of San Antonio and South Texas honored him as Outstanding Philanthropist in conjunction with the 2022 observance of National Philanthropy Day.
In the beginning, Gordon’s guiding motto was: “Together, we CAN make a difference!” As a result of many successes and lots more to come, that motto now is: “Together, we ARE making a difference!”
Ultra-Accessible™ refers to removing both physical and economic barriers that confront children and adults with special needs. This means that those with and without special needs can come together in a fully-inclusive environment for fun and a better understanding of one another.
For more information about Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative, visit www.InclusionStartsHere.com, or call (210) 493-2811.
A lifelong San Antonian, Maggie was working in the mortgage business when she met Gordon. They married in 1991, and Morgan was born in 1993. Maggie became a stay-at-home mom to focus on Morgan’s care and well-being. In 2013, Maggie successfully beat a breast cancer diagnosis. As a result of that experience, she has become a staunch advocate for early detection. She is an ardent supporter of WINGS (Women Involved in Nurturing, Giving Sharing), a breast-cancer treatment organization and ThriveWell Cancer Foundation.
Becky also chairs the Annual Free to Soar Gala which is the single largest fundraiser benefiting Morgan’s Wonderland.
Becky grew up in McAllen, Texas and earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is an avid gardener and Monarch butterfly advocate. She is married to Thomas Thomas (aka “T2”) who volunteers at Morgan’s Wonderland playing his alter ego, Sgt. Segway, raising awareness for veterans. They have a son, Stephen, who resides in Columbus, OH and daughter, Becca, who lives in New Braunfels, TX.
Jaime earned a Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences with a major in fashion merchandising and a minor in business administration from Texas State University. She also attended the Paris Fashion Institute where she earned a certification in fashion design and marketing. She is the 3rd generation in her family to have a career that focuses on improving the lives of individuals with special needs. In her free time she enjoys volunteering at charitable organizations throughout the San Antonio and Austin areas, hiking and yoga but her favorite hobby is caring for her special needs 8-year-old miniature dachshund/terrier mix named Jazzy.