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Philanthropy group to honor 12 recipients

Today, the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will honor those who give back their community in celebration of National Philanthropy Day.

This year, 12 honorees will be lauded for their philanthropic efforts. Since 1986, National Philanthropy Day has honored those who devote their time, money and energy to a variety of causes, and show the true spirit of generosity.

This year’s awards will be presented at a luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. The following are AFP Genesee Valley’s award categories and recipients:

Outstanding Young People in Philanthropy

Catie Ginther and McKenna Reh

Catie Ginther and McKenna Reh made improving life for the homeless their own personal project. (Provided)

Catie Ginther and McKenna Reh made improving life for the homeless their own personal project. (Provided)

In the spring of 2017, Catie Ginther was in sixth grade and had completed a research paper on homelessness, a condition that troubled her.

Along with her friend, McKenna Reh, the pair wanted to do something proactive such as raising money and volunteering time.

Catie called several local agencies that work with people experiencing homelessness, but when officials learned she was 12 years old, Catie was rejected.

Determined not to give up, she reached the end of the alphabet and called the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Rochester and Monroe County, which provides emergency housing for single women and families. YWCA nominated the young ladies for the Outstanding Young People in Philosophy award.

Hearing the passion in Catie’s voice, YWCA Vice President and Housing Director Carrie Michel-Wynne invited the two girls in for a tour.

“We took their interest seriously and treated them with respect,” said Ruth Rappaport-Kristal, a program support specialist with YWCA. “In turn, they have become incredible volunteers, and outstandingly responsive communicators – always returning texts, emails and phone calls.”

The duo has now raised about $1,000, helped YWCA prepare for special events and helped with its Adopt-a-Family program during the holidays. All their philanthropic efforts and volunteerism was self-directed.

Catie and McKenna initially volunteered during school breaks with YWCA’s drop-in childcare program, and Rappaport-Kristal said it was a huge help to residents and other volunteers to have young, energetic volunteers interacting with the children.

Embracing the agency’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice and dignity for all, both girls decided to approach their neighbors and collect funds on YWCA’s behalf.

Officials said they were astounded when the two turned up with $544.14 and presented a check for that amount during their first visit to the agency.

“Going door-to-door was sometimes a little nerve-racking, because we never knew the type of person that would be answering or if they would slam the door in our face,” Catie told the agency. “But we went to every house that was in our neighborhood and most people were very welcoming and donated money.”

They continued to collect funds from friends, relatives and neighbors, presenting YWCA with a $425 check later in 2017.

“For the YWCA, it was inspiring to see that these engaging and welcoming young women had a huge impact — not only for us and the population we serve, but for Catie and McKenna as well,” said Rappaport-Kristal.

In addition to raising money, Catie and McKenna have also recruited other family members and friends to assist with YWCA.

Both have come to realize that the homeless community and the community they live in are all one complete community, an official said.

Rappaport-Kristal said the two have learned that true philanthropy is about seeing a societal need in the community and working to the limit of their abilities to address the need.

“We could not ask for better ambassadors for the YWCA than Catie Ginther and McKenna Reh,” added Rappaport-Kristal. “We are certain that the philanthropy these young women have shown us thus far will continue to be a lifelong involvement in giving and caring for their community.”

-Brandon Wood

Outstanding Young People in Philanthropy – Group

Hope Hall School

Students at Hope Hall have partnered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help raise funds and awareness. (Provided)

Students at Hope Hall have partnered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help raise funds and awareness. (Provided)

An outstanding student body at Hope Hall School has been coming together for more than a decade to help fundraise and spread awareness.

Since 2004, Hope Hall Students have been partnering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or LLS, to help raise funds and awareness for those fighting the diseases along with Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

Their tens of thousands of dollars raised in that time has twice been large enough to be in the top 10 donations to the Western and Central New York Chapter of LLS. For their efforts, administrators at their school nominated the kids for the outstanding young group in philanthropy award.

“The students of Hope Hall are truly selfless and always willing to help others before helping themselves,” said Molly Burley, development manager of database, annual fund and written communications at Hope Hall. “I cannot think of any group of children more deserving of this award.”

The funds go toward research and patient services in support of LLS’s mission to find cures, as well as help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

With guidance from the school’s founder and executive director Sister Diana Dolce, homeroom teachers and staff, students give back during the month of February annually.

In February 2016, the group donated $3,832.20 — the fourth largest donation to the local LLS chapter. The school raised $3,049 in February 2017 and $2,480 during this year’s campaign.

Students collect cans and bottles, save money themselves and shovel driveways for donations among other activities to help raise money through the Pennies for Patients program.

Burley said the wide-ranging impact of the initiative helps the student’s practice of “sacrifice” by expanding their hearts. It also encourages adults in the community plus the 3,000 readers of the school’s monthly newsletter to be conscience of those in need by giving up a fast-food trip and donating the money, for example.

“Conversely, on a deeper level, these students prove each year that even though they may not have a lot of luxuries themselves, they put others first — a trait that exemplifies the type of student Hope Hall has the pleasure to interact with every day,” said Burley.

Statistically speaking, according to Burley, the odds are consistently against Hope Hall students raising donation funding.

She said that roughly 85 percent of the 150-student body lives at or below the federal poverty level.

Students who attend Hope Hall have learning challenges including ADD/ADHD, central auditory processing delays, some forms of autism, anxiety or simply a low IQ.

Despite the odds, the student body doesn’t “let our environment label us,” said Burley, pointing to the great success the program has and enthusiasm the students put into it.

Hope Hall’s students are already signed up to participate in next year’s program, and they would like to better the amount raised this year to better the cause of LLS.

“Every year we participate, we are helping to fund the research that will help find the cure for the future,” said Burley. “Every dollar we donate back is one less medical bill frustration for a family who may be exhausted past their financial means.”

-Brandon Wood

Outstanding Volunteer

Geoff Cook

Geoff Cook's tireless efforts have helped charitable causes raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Provided)

Geoff Cook’s tireless efforts have helped charitable causes raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Provided)

It’s difficult to estimate the number of hours Geoff Cook spends volunteering.

Cook’s somewhat lively sounding volunteer career has included rappelling down a building, co-chairing a major Rochester-area golf fundraiser, giving gifts at Christmas to the local Ronald McDonald House Charities, and much more.

His tireless efforts have helped charitable causes raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Cook said his love for community service comes from his parents.

“It’s one of those things instilled when I was young from my parents,” said Cook. “Going to a Catholic church always giving back to the community was a major part.”

Cook has been involved as co-chair of the Heritage Golf Classic Committee, an annual tournament that benefits Heritage Christian Services. With Cook’s involvement, the tournament has raised about $415,000 in net income the past four years.

Heritage Christian Services, which nominated Cook, said with his help the tournament has transformed from an employee- and family-based tournament to one of the premier events for golf in Rochester. Cook was first introduced to Heritage Christian Services through his employer, Taylor, the Builders.

Cook’s contributions to the event include designing the invitation and poster, creating specialty sponsorship packages and soliciting for them and securing several dozen gifts for the auction, according to Heritage Christian’s president and CEO Marisa Geitner.

“Through his work on that committee, we have seen him go above and beyond what is required,” said Geitner. “He has taken initiative to brainstorm, implement and execute new ideas to ensure the event is as successful as possible.”

Cook went to St. John Fisher College, earning the Presidential Volunteer Service Award while he was a service scholar there. Since joining Taylor, the Builders, Cook has helped secure funds for critical St. John Fisher programs.

“Some of the money is used to honor graduating seniors who are actively involved in community service,” said Norm Kieffer, associate director of development for the college, who noted other funds have been used for student-athlete transportation to Camp Good Days, which provides a summer camp and year-round programming to those dealing with cancer either personally or have a family member with the disease.

An Eagle Scout when he was younger, Cook has helped raise more than $100,000 annually through the 21 Stories for Scouts event, where people rappel down a 21-story building for charity.

Beyond that, Cook and his employer build meaningful relationships with people who receive services at Heritage Christian. The group has partnered with people who use residential services to raise money and walk in the Heritage Hero 5K + Roll and Stroll, which routinely brings in close to $100,000 annually.

Cook also formed the Heritage Christian Young Professionals, and has raised more than $15,000 to support people with developmental disabilities.

Cook, who lives with his wife Ryann and two young girls Charlotte and Lillian, said he wants to pass down the giving trait to his daughters.

“I try to ask them to make a difference every day,” said Cook. “Something as little as complimenting others clothing can make someone’s day.”

-Brandon Wood

Robert A Clinger Outstanding Fundraising Professional

Anne McKenna

Anne McKenna has been called an "effective, creative and stimulating leader." (Provided)

Anne McKenna has been called an “effective, creative and stimulating leader.” (Provided)

Doing whatever it takes for the good of the team and making personal sacrifices is part of the norm for Anne McKenna when it comes to fundraising.

Calling McKenna an “effective, creative and stimulating leader,” officials who nominated her for the Robert A. Clinger Outstanding Fundraising Professional award applauded her tireless efforts in the field over many decades to impact the local community and organizations in need.

McKenna’s career path has included marketing, communications and development positions, leading her to where she is now — the executive director of St. John’s Foundation. She has held the certified fundraising executive credential since June 2014.

McKenna has also served in many roles with the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Genesee Valley (AFPGV) Chapter — including president from 2016-18. She is presently the immediate past president of the chapter.

Taylor Freitas, a development manager at St. John’s Foundation, has worked for McKenna the past year. Freitas attested to McKenna’s dedication and exemplary qualities — including an unwavering dedication to her professional obligations.

“It’s not uncommon for Anne to deliver an early-morning presentation to the St. John’s Board, come back to the office and tackle an endless stream of emails and phone messages, run out the door to meet a donor for lunch, come back to the office for a meeting with the CEO, drive across town to chair an AFPGV board or committee meeting, and then finally arrive home, only to put in a few more hours of grant writing,” said Freitas.

Echoing those sentiments, Melinda Goldberg — the director of nominating organization Council of Agency Executives — said McKenna is someone who “will make personal sacrifices and do whatever it takes” for the team.

“Whether it’s putting in extra hours on a Sunday to plan an event, spearheading a new initiative to promote employee giving or gracefully stepping aside in order to let another team member shine in a leadership role, Anne puts the team first,” said Goldberg.

St. John’s, St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center and East House are just a few of those who have benefited from the unflagging, persistent work of McKenna.

Christine Wagner, executive director of St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, said she’s known McKenna for almost eight years as a professional fundraiser and friend.

McKenna worked for five years at the organization as the director of development and communications.

With no dedicated support staff, McKenna flourished in the position — publishing four newsletters per year, managing the fall and spring appeals, handling all aspects of the annual fundraising event plus a monthly breakfast for new contacts, writing grants and much more.

Under McKenna, Wagner said fundraising income rose significantly. The annual event broke the net profit ceiling of $100,000, and McKenna was “incredibly successful” in securing grants, according to Wagner.

“All of this is particularly important because the center’s $1.6 million budget is 80 percent donation-dependent,” said Wagner.

Wagner concluded that McKenna has earned the respect and deference of her colleagues and embodies everything that a fundraising professional should be.

“Anne is always diminutive in talking about herself as a leader,” said Wagner. “What she embodies is the role of servant leader — always leading by example and quietly willing to do anything to advance the mission.”

 -Brandon Wood

Outstanding Corporation

ESL Federal Credit Union

ESL Federal Credit Union employees have "giving back" woven into their culture. (Provided)

ESL Federal Credit Union employees have “giving back” woven into their culture. (Provided)

For ESL Federal Credit Union, a culture of giving back, volunteering and investing in the community fits the bill of its philanthropic reputation.

From national organizations like Salvation Army to local institutions such as United Way of Greater Rochester and Foodlink, a plethora of nonprofits benefit from the bank’s generosity and service.

In existence for nearly a century, ESL has been a key partner to many different entities by focusing on total community prosperity, a “VolunCare Crew” program allowing employees to volunteer on company time and innovation.

In 2018, ESL established the “ESL Give Back Challenge” to reinvest $500,000 into the greater Rochester community by matching donations to the United Way’s Community Fund dollar for dollar.

The goal was met, meaning a $1 million impact for United Way and the programs it serves.

“When help is needed, ESL steps up to ask what, how and when they can be of service,” said Jaime Saunders, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester, which nominated ESL for the award. “The organization believes in reinvesting its own success into robust community partnerships to support innovative approaches to community change.”

ESL President and CEO Faheem Masood previously said “a community’s prosperity depends on the prosperity of all its members.” To this end, the organization participates in community activities and initiatives to lift neighborhoods, increase financial stability and improve lives.

“ESL demonstrates generosity and commitment to the community beyond compare,” said Dixon Schwabl CEO Lauren Dixon. “To help inspire and reward volunteering and giving back, ESL partners with News 10 WHEC to honor five local volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the Rochester community with the Jefferson Awards.”

Each year, more than 150 ESL employees contribute nearly 900 volunteer hours to different organizations — including 225 hours ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s annual drive.

Masood serves on the United Way board of directors and took the role of 2018 Campaign Chair for the 100th anniversary campaign.

Former ESL President and CEO Dave Fiedler also serves on the board and remains closely involved in initiatives to improve lives across the community.

ESL helped provide a large contribution to United Way’s strategic transformation, with a particular focus on the organization’s effort to impact the community through investment, innovation and collective action.

With that support, United Way built internal capacity to provide grant development, resulting in $7 million more in public and private dollars for initiatives such as summer programming for kids, home visiting for new parents and child-care subsidies.

In addition, ESL also provides scholarships and tuition grants to help students from the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.

“It’s inspiring and humbling to work with partners like ESL Federal Credit Union,” said Major R. Douglas Hart of the Salvation Army of Greater Rochester.

-Brandon Wood

Outstanding Small Business

GMR Associates

GMR Associates helped save Isaiah House from closing. (Provided)

GMR Associates helped save Isaiah House from closing. (Provided)

When Isaiah House, a small nonprofit providing end-of-life care for poverty-stricken people in Rochester, was at risk of closing its doors, it appealed to the community, and GMR Associates answered the call.

“They have chosen to help many of the small nonprofits in the city,” said Kristin Kildea, director of Isaiah House. “For them it is more than writing a check for a good cause. They and we believe that despite the fact that we may be small, we have a huge impact on our community.”

GMR Associates provides benefit services, human resource support, tax-advantaged programs, third-party administration and ongoing consulting.

Two employees, Sandie Micha and David Zollweg, make frequent visits to Isaiah House, which nominated GMR Associates for the Outstanding Small Business award.

“They are always asking if there is anyone that may need more help,” said Kildea.

Kildea said that Isaiah House has been taking care of people nearing the end of their lives for about 30 years, and that many of its clients live in poverty with “the fewest options and greatest needs.”

With support for Isaiah House coming only from the community, Kildea said that the home has almost closed three times in the past.

Answering the call of the small nonprofit in its hour of need, GMR Associates came to assist.

“GMR Associates believes that the comfort care home model is one that offers another option to those who are dying” and to their families, said Kildea.

The model provides end-of-life exclusive care to the Rochester area and “saves money for our already taxed medical system” while providing helpful, necessary care, Kildea said.

In the past, GMR has financially supported a picnic for Alexandria Bay’s River Community Wellness Program, which treats active duty soldiers struggling with PTSD and other anxiety or mood-related disorders. Employees also volunteered at the picnic to help cook.

GMR’s corporate philosophy is defined in part by core values, including a pledge to “freely share our gifts and blessings,” according to its website.

Kildea said that officials from GMR frequently speak with other small businesses, encouraging them to work with the smaller nonprofits which are often overlooked by foundations and big corporations.

“They will continue to support this community quietly feeling that the blessings they have should be shared with others,” said Kildea, noting she “can’t imagine a more deserving” small business to receive this award.

-Brandon Wood

Outstanding Foundation

Marshall Family Foundation

The Marshall Family Foundation is a major benefactor of Wayne County charities. (Provided)

The Marshall Family Foundation is a major benefactor of Wayne County charities. (Provided)

For nearly a quarter-century, the Marshall Family Foundation has made impactful gifts to influence hospitals, children’s care, emergency services, those with disabilities and much more —becoming a major benefactor of Wayne County charities.

“Helping those in need for a community most deserving is the legacy of Marshall Family Foundation,” said Carol Anne DeMoulin, a senior director of development for Rochester Regional Health, which nominated the foundation.

The Marshall Family Foundation has generously donated to many beneficiaries, among them Newark-Wayne Community Hospital (NWCH) — where the organization has become the largest supporter, per DeMoulin.

Most prominently, the foundation made a recent transformative gift to renovate the NWCH Women’s Center, which a hospital official described as “dated” and needing “significant upgrades” to the facility and equipment.

DeMoulin says the number of babies delivered at NWCH rocketed from 460 to more than 700 in 2014. That number is expected to grow, she said, as it’s the only hospital from northern Wayne County to Geneva where babies are delivered.

Due to a high poverty rate and a high number of at-risk pregnancies, according to DeMoulin, the Marshall family “saw a need” for greater Wayne County and made it happen. She added that the gift has also inspired NWCH clinicians and the Finger Lakes Rotary to give to the women’s center.

“A woman’s socioeconomic status or the fact that she lives in a rural community should not mean that she will not have access to the resources afforded to women in more popular areas,” said DeMoulin.

The Marshall Family also donated to a campaign in 2012 to construct a new emergency department at NWCH.

The gift means the infrastructure and equipment at NWCH will be state-of-the art, resulting in better patient outcomes.

“The results are increased confidence and recruitment of world class clinicians due to the improved infrastructure. The Emergency Department now sees nearly twice as many patients as it did five years ago,” said DeMoulin.

The far-reaching support of the Marshall Family Foundation also affects other charities such as the American Red Cross, Dollars for Scholars, Finger Lakes United Cerebral Palsy, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Happiness House, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Rochester Area Community Foundation, Rose Community Building Fund, Wayne ARC, Wayne County Historical Society and Ontario Volunteer Emergency Squad.

-Brandon Wood

Outstanding Philanthropists

Sandy Parker and Dutch Summers

Sandy Parker and Dutch Summers were nominated by the Monroe Community College Foundation for their work on behalf of students. At right is Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. (Provided)

Sandy Parker and Dutch Summers were nominated by the Monroe Community College Foundation for their work on behalf of students. At right is Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. (Provided)

Many have benefited in furthering their education through the philanthropic efforts of Sandy Parker and Dutch Summers, and that in turn has benefited the greater Rochester community.

Leaders from numerous local institutions applaud the pair’s desire to promote the welfare of students everywhere and champion the causes of those who might not otherwise be able to seek higher education.

The Monroe Community College Foundation, which nominated Parker and Summers as Outstanding Philanthropists, has seen first-hand the benefits of their work and its influence on the region.

“Sandy and Dutch have worked hard to strengthen our regional economy and create opportunities for people and businesses to thrive in Rochester,” said Emily Marullo, MCC Foundation associate director of donor engagement, in nominating the pair. “The couple believes higher education institutions greatly contribute to our region’s prosperity and attracts new businesses to the area.”

The Rochester Institute of Technology and University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men (UPrep) expressed their support for the nomination by pointing to ways Parker and Summers have affected the schools.

Parker, the former president and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance, served on the Monroe Community College Foundation board of directors from 1999-2014. She has also contributed to many other boards, including at RIT, University of Rochester, the Center for Governmental Research and more.

After that, she was appointed to the prestigious Foundation Council, where she continues to guide the future of the foundation.

Parker is a founding member of the STAR Power Women’s Giving Initiative that has raised more than $400,000 to date in support of single parents who attend MCC, Marullo said.

Summers is the CEO of Graywood Companies, a Rochester-based holding company in residential and commercial real estate in 13 states and nine countries. He previously led Jasco Tools Inc. as a global provider of tools, components and heat treatment services.

His philanthropic efforts extend to his corporation, as it has partnered with many nonprofits like the United Way of Greater Rochester and Rochester Literacy Movement.

Summers and Parker co-chaired the MCC Foundation’s 16th annual Gold Star Gala in 2014, raising a record-setting $210,000 to support student success at the college, Marullo said.

The Summers UPrep Scholarship “bridges the gap” between the amount of financial aid for which a family qualifies and the final cost of attending college.

Lisa Cauda, vice president of development and alumni relations at RIT, said the couple’s vision and generosity has assisted nearly 300 deserving students. She noted that many of those students would not have been able to complete their degrees without scholarship awards.

Both serve on the RIT board of trustees, and Cauda pointed out that the two are “very distinguished advocates and serving as advisors, champions and benefactors.”

Marullo echoed those sentiments, saying “vision, innovation, impact and hands-on leadership” have become synonymous with the philanthropy of Parker and Summers.

-Brandon Wood

Burton S. August Sr. Prize

John R. Horvath

John R. Horvath has been involved in charitable activities in the Rochester area since the 1960s. (Provided)

John R. Horvath has been involved in charitable activities in the Rochester area since the 1960s. (Provided)

John R. Horvath is committed to serving others and making the Rochester community a better place, and to him that starts with volunteers.

“There’s no question that volunteering is important,” said Horvath. “Most of our nonprofit community depends on volunteers. They’re a necessary ingredient to the nonprofit community.”

Over the last several decades, Horvath has served more than 25 nonprofit organizations in the Rochester community as a leader, volunteer and pacesetter.

Horvath moved to the Flower City in the 1960s and almost immediately got involved in giving back to his new home.

In 1968, Horvath got started on the board at United Cerebral Palsy, now CP Rochester, where his son Timm received services. He was soon after introduced to the Al Sigl Center for Rehabilitation Agencies, a nonprofit organization that aims to better serve the public by assisting human service agencies in the area. Horvath was recruited to help with the first fund drive for the center.

“(John’s) strong, committed leadership played a key role in the formation of Al Sigl and the construction of the original Elmwood Campus,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of Al Sigl Community of Agencies, in a letter nominating Horvath for the Burton S. August Sr. Prize for Community Leadership.

O’Connor noted the organization has “witnessed firsthand the tremendous impact John has made” in the community.

Horvath served as the CP Rochester representative for 26 years on Al Sigl’s board of trustees until his retirement. Horvath chaired the board from 1979-81 and was the head of a capital campaign in the early 1980s.

Throughout his years, Horvath served in a multitude of roles. Today he continues as a member of the finance and investment committees, and is an honorary member of the Al Sigl board of governors.

Some of the other organizations Horvath has served include Rochester Rehabilitation, Villa of Hope, Diocese of Rochester, Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester, UR Home Care and many others.

The impact Horvath has had on the Rochester community is “simply remarkable and cannot be overstated,” O’Connor said.

“When there is hard work to be done, he is committed to his service and rises to the challenge,” O’Connor added.

Horvath said “it’s never too early” to get involved with volunteering, advising young people to get involved in organizations meaningful to them.

Horvath’s career with CP Rochester led to the creation of the John Horvath Professional Service Award in his honor.

Noting Horvath as a “numbers man,” O’Connor said Horvath’s business expertise and family perspective brought a unique blend to the table.

“John is direct, pointed and passionate in his practical observations and solutions,” said O’Connor. “He has the unique ability to quickly win the trust and respect of his peers in every organization in which he serves.”

Horvath received the 2016 Evening of Stars Humanitarian Award for his service and commitment to CP Rochester, the families they serve and the community at large.

“His lifetime commitment to community volunteerism and philanthropy and his gifts of time, talent and treasure have and continue to make Rochester a better place,” said O’Connor.

Multi-Generational Award

The DiMarco family

The DiMarco family has been in the forefront of charitable activities in the Rochester community for generations. (Provided)

The DiMarco family has been in the forefront of charitable activities in the Rochester community for generations. (Provided)

The DiMarco family tree might more appropriately be named a giving tree.

Three generations of the DiMarco family have been focused on giving back to the community through philanthropic efforts, volunteering their time to serve and help fundraise and being strong role models of generosity at its finest with their substantial charitable donations.

Three of the many organizations the DiMarco family helps — Daystar for Medically Fragile Children, McQuaid Jesuit and Monroe Community College Foundation — came together to nominate the family for the multi-generational award.

“We came together for this nomination because we share a debt of gratitude to this family and their unbelievable generosity to us and many other organizations throughout our community,” the nominators said.

John L. DiMarco Sr., who graduated from McQuaid Jesuit in 1960, and his wife Deborah DiMarco have set an example for the family.

In 2010, during his 50th reunion year, John made a challenge to his classmates — if they were successful in raising $100,000, he would match it. They were successful in doing so.

John was a member of the board of trustees for the school and in 1999 received the Fr. Noonan, S.J. Alumnus of the Year Award — given to an alum “whose excellence in their community service and personal life is humble, selfless and exemplary.”

The DiMarco family has contributed a total of $3.52 million to McQuaid throughout the years.

In 2005, they gave $1 million toward building a new field house complex along with renovating the chapel and original gym. The Deborah and John DiMarco ’60 Field House has served the McQuaid community for the past 10 years.

Most recently, the DiMarco family contributed $1 million to the new Wegman Family Science and Technology Center, which opened in January.

The family’s relationship with MCC was launched in 2002 when a partnership was formed between the college and DiMarco Group to build residence halls in Brighton — which has made it possible for 772 MCC students to live on campus.

John and Deborah contributed to MCC’s Building on Success capital campaign with a $1 million gift, leading the college to honor their philanthropic support by naming its new soccer and lacrosse site, John L. DiMarco Field.

Calling the family “an inspiration,” an official said the family has donated $1.7 million to the MCC Foundation.

Second generation

In 2011, the DiMarco family established the John L. DiMarco Sr. Family Foundation where Anne DiMarco-Desmond presides as executive director.

She is also director of annual giving for the DiMarco Group. In this role, she directly manages all community outreach and giving.

While many organizations are included in the foundation’s giving, much of the focus is on children and education.

“Every day, my family is so grateful and so blessed to be able to do what we are able to do,” Anne said.

John L. DiMarco II and his wife Susan DiMarco plus Joel DiMarco and his wife Katy DiMarco have helped continue the family legacy of supporting students and giving back.

The couples co-hosted Daystar Derby, which coincides with the Kentucky Derby. Their dedication, months of planning and countless hours of work have helped fuel the agency’s growth. The event has continued to outperform itself year after year under their guidance since.

In 2012, DiMarco Constructors was the general contractor on the new state-of-the-art, custom pediatric step-down care center. The project helped the agency quadruple its capacity to help more children bridge the gap between hospital and school-based services.

Katy initiated a grassroots campaign to raise funds for Daystar’s preschool classroom in honor of a close family friend’s child who had flourished there. She helped raise $80,000 in a few short months, and Katy was awarded the 2016 Champion of Daystar’s Services Award.

John Sr. and Deborah, John II and Susan, and Joel and Katy were the 2008 chair couples at the McQuaid Building a Scholastic Heritage (BASH). They hosted 400 guests and raised $338,000 for student scholarships.

Joel is a past McQuaid board member, and John II is a current board member who serves on the advancement committee.

John II is now a member of the MCC Foundation Board of Directors and co-chairs the development committee.

Susan is a champion of MCC’s STAR Power giving initiative — a scholarship fund supporting single parents striving for a better future for their children and themselves.

John II and Susan served with Joel and Katy as honorary chairs for the MCC Foundation’s annual gala this year.

They surprised guests by announcing they would match up to $50,000 during the event’s scholarship call as a tribute to John and Deborah’s 50th wedding anniversary, leading to the most successful scholarship call in the 20-year history of the gala.

Third generation

The next generation — including Nick DiMarco, John DiMarco III, Joel DiMarco Jr., Jason DiMarco and Nina DiMarco — are keeping with the family traditions of finding ways to give back.

Nick and John III have both volunteered in Daystar’s classrooms as “buddies” and youth mentors to toddlers and preschoolers while balancing academics, sports, jobs and other extra-curricular activities. Joel Jr. and Jason are following in their footsteps this year, volunteering with Daystar’s children.

While attending Indiana University, Nick carries on the family tradition by currently fundraising for the 2018 Dance Marathon, which benefits the kids of Riley Children’s Hospital.

At McQuaid, seniors are required to do a capstone project as a culmination of Christian service and social justice education.

A 2017 graduate, Nick did his capstone project at No Man Left Behind, an organization dedicated to ensuring the U.S. keeps its promise to care for Afghan and Iraqi interpreters jeopardizing their lives to support U.S. troops. Nick raised $1,800 for Afghan and Iraqi interpreters to be used toward a car upon their return home.

John, who graduated this year, completed his capstone project with The Volunteers of America (VOA). The VOA has 14 family inner city, homeless shelters where 20 to 25 children reside each month.

John has worked on the “Brightening Birthdays Program” to help plan a birthday party one per month for children in the shelter.

At the suggestion of 10-year-old Nina, Seton Catholic School put together a donation drive to support the VOA birthday program.

After hearing about the program, Nina took it upon herself for a donation drive to her teacher. The drive included posters around the school and a flyer requesting donations from parents.

The donations — decorations, snacks, presents and more — helped families provide a better birthday party while combating homelessless.

-Brandon Wood


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