Fundraising Professionals Honor Local Philanthropy

HOWLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter recognized philanthropic efforts throughout the five-county region Friday during the 29th annual National Philanthropy Day Awards.

Nearly 300 area fundraisers, philanthropists and others turned out to recognize the honorees in eight categories during the awards luncheon at the Grand Resort in Howland.

“Today is a very special day for us to recognize philanthropists in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys who through their dedication and generosity have strengthened our community and impacted the lives of thousands of people,” said Luke Politsky, co-chair of the event.

Eight awards were presented to individuals, businesses and organizations. Honorees ranged from longtime business owners to two sisters who raise money to fight cancer by running a lemonade stand.

“We’re always impressed with the amazing sense of philanthropy from people in our communities,” said Lisa Long, president of the AFP Mahoning-Shenango Chapter. “We’ve been fortunate that even in difficult times, philanthropy remains strong in our five counties, enriching our citizens and quality of life in so many ways in our community.”

An emotional Bill MacIntosh accepted the Legacy Award on behalf of his brother, the late John M. MacIntosh, whose beneficiaries included The Butler Institute of American Art, on whose board he had served as chairman, the disabled and others. He said he was lucky to be MacIntosh’s brother and privileged to represent him at the awards.

“He would have enjoyed seeing so many friends and seeing organizations he had bequeathed significant funds,” he said.

Hannah and Brooke Beighley of Hermitage, Pa., received the Outstanding Young Philanthropists Award. Nine years ago, they began operating a lemonade stand each summer to benefit Alex’ Lemonade Stand, the national philanthropy that raises money to fund childhood cancer research and treatment. So far, they have raised more than $35,000.

The cause is a personal one for the sisters, whose mother survived leukemia as a child.

“We are just two kids trying to help kids with cancer grow up,” Hannah Beighley said.

Research produced the medicine that helped her mother, who was then able to grow up, go to college, become a teacher, get married “and have us,” she said.

“Thank you for honoring us today,” Brooklyn Beighey said. “It encourages us to continue our work, one cup at a time.”

Philanthropy has been a part of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC throughout its nearly 100-year history, and Alexa Sweeney Blackann, vice president, recounted an early experience with philanthropy that first acquainted her with the luncheon’s master of ceremonies, WKBN anchor Stan Boney. As a child, she raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon locally and she went to the Canfield Fair to donate the $60 she raised, and Boney put her on camera during the Jerry Lewis telethon.

“So I guess the fundraising bug came early,” she said.

Blackann said she represents Sweeney’s 200 employees.

“It’s our team that shows up in full force for the Panerathon. It’s our team that talks about community promotions like Operation Santa to customers on the sales floor, and it’s our team’s participation and enthusiasm that make our philanthropic efforts so successful,” she said.

The Vindicator Printing Co., which this summer ceased publication of its namesake newspaper after 150 years, received the Valley impact Awards. Publisher Betty Brown Jagnow and her son, Mark Brown, who served as The Vindicator’s general manager, accepted the award.

Accepting the honor was “kind of strange to us” because other philanthropic organizations in the community “really do all the heavy lifting and their work should be recognized much more so than what we did,” Brown said. The organization declined similar awards over the years, he said.

“This one was a little different and we did appreciate it. It really reflects on our staff, not so much the company, certainly not for us personally,” he said.
Brown discussed the newspaper’s efforts to publish human interest stories and, editorials and general coverage to support local causes as it also covered hard news.

“We felt things had to be covered from the public’s point of view,” he said. He also discussed the often-costly legal battles during the 1980s and 1990s over open meetings and public records, spending more than $500,000 annually.

Jack Kravitz, owner of Kravitz Delicatessen and Inspired Catering, recognized as Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist, said receiving the award was a “heartfelt thing” for him. He reflected that his late mother, Rose, would have been proud “and then would say, ‘Do they know it’s lunch hour and you should be at work.’ ”

Also recognized at the event were Carolynn and George Mitchell, Outstanding Philanthropists; attorney Carl Nunziato, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; and Hospice of the Valley Volunteers, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group.

Pictured at top: Bill MacIntosh, brother of the late John M. MacIntosh accepts the Legacy Award from Jan Strasfeld, executive director of the Youngstown Foundation, and Luke Politsky, event co-chair.

MORE: Read profiles of all the honorees published in the November edition of The Business Journal and watch video.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.