National Philanthropy Day Honors Generosity

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Amid all the talk about those who choose to leave the region, Leah Sakacs says it’s good to highlight the people who stay and support it.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter will do just that during its annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon Nov. 4 at Eastwood Event Centre in Niles.

The chapter received 15 nominations of individuals, businesses and organizations for recognition this year, says Sakacs, director of the foster grandparent and senior companion programs at Family and Community Services in Youngstown.

Sakacs and Tyler Adams, director of corporate partnerships for Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio, are co-chairing this year’s National Philanthropy Day event for the AFP chapter.

This is Adams’ fourth year of involvement with the event, and he says it was the most difficult year in terms of choosing honorees.

“Every nominee could have been highlighted this year,” he says. The nominees were “some of the best I’ve ever seen.”

The AFP chapter is recognizing philanthropy in six categories:

  • Outstanding Philanthropist: Leonard Fisher.
  • Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist: Crowe’s Cabinets.
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Barbara Brothers.
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group: Third Source Committee of Holy Family Parish.
  • Legacy Award (presented posthumously): Jeanne Deibel Tyler.
  • Special Recognition for Valley Impact: Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing our Neighborhoods (Action).

For those being recognized, philanthropy, isn’t just about writing a check. All were “very involved in the community,” Sakacs says.

Oftentimes, philanthropic work is performed quietly, out of the spotlight, the philanthropists preferring to “let the work speak for itself,” says Adams.

“This event highlights all of the good happening in our neighborhoods, right in our backyard, for the Mahoning and Shenango valleys,” he says. “We are a megaphone” for individuals or organizations that won’t otherwise seek to call attention to their efforts with the intent of hopefully inspiring the next organization or person “to do the same.”

Look for profiles of this year’s honorees in our November issue and throughout the week at