AFP Chapter Honors Local Philanthropists

BOARDMAN, Ohio – People need to “dig deeper” and give to have a real impact, businessman Sam Boak Jr. said Friday at the National Philanthropy Day lunch.

Boak’s company, Boak & Sons Inc. in Austintown, was among the organizations and individuals recognized at the ceremony, held at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center.

The Mahoning-Shenango Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals presented awards in seven categories at the luncheon. Nearly 400 people attended the event.

“We have been fortunate that even in difficult times that philanthropy remains strong in the five-county area,” said Lisa Gentile, president of the Mahoning-Shenango AFP chapter.

Boak, who founded Boak & Sons when he was 17 years old, said he liked to help people “even as a little kid,” but was blessed in recent years to meet a man named Tony who taught him about truly giving.

“Tony taught me how we have to help people who have more needs than we do, and we can’t just reach into our pockets and grab,” Boak recalled. “We have to take both hands and both pockets, and you have to dig deeper. That’s what changes the world.”

Also honored at the event were::

  • Reid and Judy Schmutz, Outstanding Philanthropist.
  • Jet Creative, Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist.
  • Samie Winick, Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropist.
  • All Good things Thrift Shoppe, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group.
  • Roger and Gloria Jones, Valley Impact Award.
  • Rand and Eleanor Becker, Legacy Award.

The name of All Good Things in Grove City, Pa., came from one of its core volunteers, says manager Debbie Little Kochems. Since she was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, the name has taken on a special meaning as the store’s other volunteers stepped up to support Kochems and the store in her absence

“They supported the mission. They supported me,” she said. “ ‘All Good Things’ came to me to mean all the people that are at the store.”

The awards were presented by WKBN-TV news anchor Stan Boney, who said the program among his favorite events to be involved with. As a reporter, he sees all walks of life and is exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly, “sometimes all in one day,” he said.

“It’s nice here today to only see the good,” Boney said. He advised the honorees, who often say they are embarrassed when they are accepting such awards, that “humbled” might be a better word. “Be proud of what you’ve done,” he said.

“We are humbled,” Judy Schmutz said in her remarks. “We look out here and we see so many of you that are as well deserving or more than we are.”

For the past 27 years, the AFP chapter has recognized individuals and organizations that contribute to enriching quality of life in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, said Landis Erwin, chairman of the annual event.

“Our communities are truly blessed to have so many dedicated, generous donors and so many individuals eager to recognize them and thank them for their philanthropic efforts,” she said.

Pictured: Sam Boak and his wife, Donna, at the National Philanthropy Day lunch.

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