How long have you been involved with NY Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund and how did you get involved?
I’ve been with the organization for 15 years now – I joined the team within the week or so following the 9/11 attack (in 2001) upon seeing a lot of fundraising for the organization. I decided I wanted to help out so I offered I offered to assist with investment decisions.
What do you think is the most influential thing the Benefit Fund does?
Creating a community for the families is by far the most influential thing the organization does. Watching the beneficiaries, whether it be the widows, children, or families as a whole, work through their own personal tragedies with the aid of a community is amazing to see. It’s also fascinating watching the kids, who, at the time of 9/11, were very young grow and transition into their respective careers. For a more technical answer, in addition to general fundraising activities, the Investment Committee works long hours in order to develop best asset allocation possible for the widows. Every decision we make, we think of how this will impact the widows because understanding the right strategy will allow us to provide maximal support to each family.
Which event is your favorite?
Though all the events are enjoyable and well-run, the Game & Family Day at Citi Field would have to be my favorite. It grasps the true essence of what this organization strives for, which is bringing together multiple generations of families and survivors and giving them a network to share their story. Aside from that, just seeing the kids and grandkids having a good time in the memory of their loved ones is eternally satisfying.
Would you say being a part of the organization has changed your perception of the FDNY, NYPD, EMS, and Port Authority organizations?
I’ve always had the utmost respect for these heroes as the city would be a disaster without them. To hear from these families about their own fallen first responders and the sacrifices they made to keep the city safe only strengthens my admiration for them.
How much has NY Police & Fire grown and changed since you joined the team?
The organization has grown dramatically – broader outreach for volunteers and contributors, and fundraising events that appeal to all ages are only two of the ways it has grown strategically. Fundraising, as a whole, has increased with the Annual Gala, Game & Family Day, Golf Outing, Kickoff to Summer events. Visibility has also grown with the addition of new events, and with the partnering of full time staff and interns, there are always new ideas being put on the table. The Junior Committee is new and has taken on a lot of responsibility sponsoring the Kickoff to Summer event and getting more and more young individuals involved.
If you could eat one dessert, what would it be?
I could live off of the dark chocolate fudge cake from De Lillo Pastry Shop on Arthur Avenue. Chocolate cake in general is my favorite, but nothing compares to this cake!
Why do you continue to support the Benefit Fund?
It’s easy to see how the members of the board and committees are incredibly dedicated to doing whatever they can to help the families. We become part of our beneficiaries support network and helping/seeing them flourish is just as satisfying for us as it is them. It’s truly an exceptional group, working towards an even better cause.
This interview was conducted by Krista Reynolds, Summer 2016 Development Intern, and has been edited for readability.