Fundraising Professionals to Honor Philanthropists at Annual Event

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – This year’s recognition luncheon for National Philanthropy Day takes place Nov. 16, and already Rebecca Davis, co-chairwoman of the event, has her eye on an organization she wants to nominate next year – one that goes about its work in a quiet way that inspires others, she says.

So do the seven honorees who will be recognized at the National Philanthropy Day Awards hosted annually by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter. The event will take place at Eastwood Event Centre in Niles.

The individuals, businesses and organizations from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties include a neurosurgeon and his wife, businesses and a teenager who turned personal tragedy into initiative.

Recognizing the generosity of these individuals and organizations serves as a reminder that philanthropy can happen from the grassroots upward, and doesn’t necessarily require a “big checkbook,” says event co-chairwoman Leah Sakacs, director of foster grandparent and senior companion programs at Family and Community Services Inc.

“It inspires other members of the community and shines a spotlight on philanthropy and what philanthropy can do for our community,” Davis says.

Honorees were selected in seven categories:

Outstanding Philanthropists: Dr. Chander and Karen Kohli.

Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist: Rick’s Ranchwear.

Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist: Birdfish Brewing Co.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Dr. Sergul Erzunum.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group: Friends of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County.

Outstanding Youth Philanthropist: Macenzee Gaal.

Legacy Award: Richard Shale.

Each honoree exemplifies the spirit of philanthropy. Click the names above to read their stories.

Pictured at top: Leah Sakacs and Becky Davis co-chair the event.