Giving Back Has Always Been Important…
Growing up, going to church meant that every Sunday, my Mom would write a check out for the offering plate. It wasn't ever questioned; I never asked why. We gave because we could; we gave because the organizations we cared about could do more with the money on behalf of others than we could do for the directly.
As I grew older, left home for college and attended Johnson & Wales in Providence, I eventually joined Sigma Pi Fraternity, which has an extremely strong philanthropic requirement. Up to this time in my life, giving donations to causes was all you had to do; times were changing. No less than once a month, a group of fraternity brothers and I would volunteer somewhere for at least half a Saturday. We helped out at races for causes we've never heard of before, we walked in races, we dug up trees and old grape vines, we tore up dilapidated carpet in a museum. We were often fed well, which made the jobs easier, but along with that came a sense of "giving back" that has stuck with me well beyond college.
After getting married, Danette and I became Wish Granters for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, I joined the Community Advisory Board for the Pediatric Resource Committee in Peoria and most recently, I helped to start the UPC Discovery Early Learning Center preschool. Within the family, I remain a steadfast Trustee of the JWAS Foundation and am committed to the health of the Lake Wawasee watershed through the WACF Foundation.
Two additional areas of focus that I have are on education and health.
I believe wholeheartedly in the educational ideals and teachings of the Culver Academies. My time at Woodcraft is remembered fondly. And friendships that I formed when I was 10-13 have remained strong all these years later. Additionally, the education I received while at the Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State was second to none. Their "social learning program" was such out-of-the-box thinking by the program founder that it provides a benefit to the students of that program unlike any I have experienced before or since.
Naturally, healthcare is important to me. I wish that everyone had the same access to healthcare as I've had. The sisters of St. Francis in Peoria do miraculous things; they've built a living shrine to health to care for and heal the people in our community, selflessly. Yet, they've done it with a razor-sharp business acumen that is to be commended; needed for the longevity of the organization.
The Mayo Clinic, in my book, is the Gold Standard. No person or place is perfect, but I have put my life in their hands on multiple occasions and they have healed me each time. They have my faith and my trust. They do what other medical communities either can't do or won't do. They try. They care. They communicate. Happily. And, they don't quit when they can't find an answer; they keep going. Because they're the best.
It is for the reasons above that I support these organizations. Each holds a distinct and unique place in my heart.