The Joy of Giving

Joy Matson lives to give. 

Whether it is giving to her beloved animals that find safe haven on her working farm, or the dinners she gives for her vast network of friends who may be far away from their homes, or to various causes she supports, Joy finds meaning and, well, joy in giving. 

Inspired by her faith, with an abiding love for her adopted community and all things Purdue, this “cheerful giver” hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“I want people to give, and to know that each person has a chance to make a difference for the better in their generation.”

A mortgage specialist, Joy began her career in real estate in 1983 when she arrived in Greater Lafayette, Indiana. Since then, this transplanted University of Illinois science graduate has become an extraordinary advocate and an "ever true" Boilermaker ambassador.

“You’d not be able to pry me out of here,” she says of her home and community. 

With a natural gift for building relationships, Joy developed friendships with clients such as Dr. Timothy Ratliff and his family when he arrived as the new Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research.

Joy was invited to join Ratliff’s Director’s Advisory Board, whose members play a vital role securing funds. It was in this role that opportunity knocked and the door opened on a unique fundraising endeavor — custom-made for a real estate professional.

Through an industry friend, Joy found out about an estate sale of a walk-out ranch house situated in an upscale West Lafayette neighborhood in an elite school district on a cozy court that backed up to a mini-forest within city limits. Clearly, location was not a problem.

There was one caveat: The house had become a hoarder’s hovel. 

Joy bought the house in August 2014. Renovations began in January 2015. It took four men eight days to clear out and clean up decades of clutter. 

On a rainy Monday in May 2015, Joy held an open house to reveal the renovated and restored house she transformed. Invitations announced that all net proceeds from the sale of the home would go to the Center for Research. Strategically placed researchers from the center engaged visitors and shared news of the center’s groundbreaking work and discoveries.

By July 8, 2015, Joy closed on the property that is once again a home to a young family.

Proceeds from the sale generated a significant five-figure donation that is now empowering innovative Canine Cancer Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Ratliff’s “Tim’s Twigs” initiative, which provides funds for researchers’ new projects and resources.

"Everyone has been touched by cancer,” Joy says. “This project was a way to raise awareness of the cancer research happening in the community and generate more support for the center’s work.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels praised Joy’s creative commitment to cancer research. "Your loyal generosity does more than provide funding for research to power discoveries,” he said. “It provides ways for us to find answers.”

And for Joy Matson, her greatest gift was always about giving hope.