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Nominees for the 2007 Richest People List
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Glenn and Peggy Coppola, Timothy Coppola Memorial Bicycle Helmet Giveaway Program
Like any parents, Glenn and Peggy Coppola of Stamford, Connecticut would attest to the fact that losing a young child is without question the single greatest tragedy that one can face. It takes a special individual of impeccable character and integrity to create anything positive from such grave personal circumstances. Stamford Police Officer Glenn Coppola and his wife Peggy did just that with the creation of a program in honor of their son.
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Carl Cannon, C.H.O.I.C.E.S
While a corrections officer with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Carl Cannon watched for years as young inmates in the facilities at which he worked became younger and younger. He decided to do something to reach out to young people before they ended up behind bars. In 1995, Cannon founded "C.H.O.I.C.E.S." (Can't Have Our Independent Choices Endangering Society), a program that has reached out to more than 150,000 students, parenting groups, and PTAs across Illinois, Kansas, and beyond. C.H.O.I.C.E.S challenges youth with a three-phase program that stresses the impact of the daily choices they make, while it empowers them to develop the inner strength to make solid decisions in spite of peer pressure or other obstacles that they may face in their day-to day journey from childhood to adulthood.
Melanie Washington, Founder of Mentoring a Touch from Above
Melanie Washington came back from victimization by counseling the same gang members who killed her son. Inspired by the power of forgiveness, she created an organization to mentor imprisoned youth. "Going into the prisons, giving them love, respect and family, the intangibles of life they lost in their youth, gives me the greatest joy," she said.
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Greg Woodburn, Founder of S.O.S.
Greg Woodburn started S.O.S. (Share Our Soles) to collect and donate running shoes to needy youth. He has collected and washed hundreds of pairs to date! He has sent these refurbished running shoes to youth groups in Una Esparanza in Mexico, and Sudan, Uganda and Kenya in Africa. He also donated tennis shoes to inner-city Los Angeles and non-athletic shoes to our local Goodwill and Casa Pacifica. Greg now has a goal of reaching 1,000 pairs of donated shoes by year’s end. Greg works with Deena Kastor, American bronze medalist in the marathon at the 2004 Olympic Games and other olympic runners to obtain their running shoes to donate! Through his worthy endeavor, not only has Greg enriched the lives of underprivileged kids near and far, but importantly he has spread a positive image of Ventura County halfway around the world as a place where giving and caring people live.
Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, Founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by two teenage siblings, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, from Norwell, Mass. in April 2004. They had heard a news report about a soldier who ran up a very expensive phone bill calling home from Iraq. This inspired Brittany and Robbie to fork over their own $21.00 and solicit pocket change from their friends at school so that they could open up a bank account to help. The bank donated $500.00 to the cause.
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Eleanor Josaitis, Focus:HOPE
Eleanor Josaitis has helped in brightening the future for thousands of individuals by co-founding Focus:HOPE. Her desire to help others became paramount back in 1967 when Detroit was consumed with race riots. Eleanor was a white suburban housewife who decided to do her part to right decades of racial wrongs. Through her enduring faith she was able to overcome all obstacles and see the small non-profit she founded in a basement grow into a human rights powerhouse with a $55 million budget. Focus:HOPE runs a massive food program, offers educational courses, and provides job training that leads to rewarding careers. For her efforts, Eleanor received the Clara Barton Ambassador Award from the American Red Cross earlier this year.
Lori Santoro
In 1987, while celebrating her college graduation on an Acapulco holiday, Lori Santoro came upon a little Mexican girl standing barefoot on a broiling beach filled with tourists. She wore a simple dress and all the markings of poverty. She was only 3 years old and had been left by her family to peddle trinkets from a large plastic bag, which she tugged across the hot sand.
Her name was Sara, Lori learned, and in one heartbreaking close-up glance she saw the overwhelming hunger in her beautiful dark eyes. The hunger was not just of the stomach, Lori knew, but of the mind and heart and spirit. And no one seemed to care or even notice.
Lori had to leave Sara that day and return home to Tennessee, but walking back to her hotel she made a vow to someday do something to help the Saras of the world.
She has kept that promise. She is now the founder and executive director of Casa de Sara, a non-profit organization named for little Sara and dedicated to helping children like her.
In 2000, Lori and her husband adopted a baby from Bolivia. It was that experience that exposed them to the many helpless children living moment-to-moment in the countless orphanages in Bolivia.
This was the time and opportunity, Lori realized, to fulfill her promise to Sara. Before taking her new daughter home to Tennessee, she quickly solicited funds from the United States and with $1,000 she somehow bought food, medicine, showers, toilets, towels, toothbrushes, soap, shoes, clothes, toys, construction material, a stove, a refrigerator, and persuaded a Santa Cruz doctor to volunteer medical aid. She also staged a party for children from two orphanages, featuring a free concert by a Santa Cruz symphony orchestra.
That was the beginning of Casa de Sara, now a tax-exempt charity organization designed to help children throughout Central and South America. The goal is to provide education, healthcare, and special projects which include shelter, food, and other immediate needs.
Casa de Sara helps children so that someday they will help themselves and future generations. Virtually every donated penny goes directly to the children. On behalf of the children, thank you for helping.
Robert C. Macauley, Founder of Americares
Bob Macauley was a paper broker living in New Canaan, CT, in 1975
when a plane carrying Vietnamese orphans crashed in Asia and the Pentagon
said they wouldn't be able to rescue the children for 10 days. Macauley
raced into action and immediately chartered a plane. Within 48 hours, the
children arrived safely in the United States. Not long after, Macauley
founded AmeriCares, a humanitarian aid organization that relies on that same
passion to deliver essential medicines and medical supplies to people
around the world in desperate need of the aid. Bob and AmeriCares have been
providing that aid for 25 years. You can learn more about Bob and AmeriCares at:
Ted and Laura Ousley, “Operation Iraqi Healing”
Ted and Laura Ousely welcomed an Iraqi girl and her parents into their home for several months to help save the life of a little girl. Gufran, an eleven year old little girl who has Spina Bifida, needed surgery she couldn’t get in Iraq. Along with others in their church and community, the Ousely’s helped secure doctors and medical care. To date, the costs of her surgeries would have been over $100,000, all of which was donated. Ted and his wife Laura have spent countless hours and several thousand dollars of their own money corresponding with agencies in the Middle East, talking to the Jordanian Embassy, contacting congressmen and senators, and providing food, clothing, and shelter for Gufran and her family.
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Jackie Burgland, "Hops of Hope"
Since September 2000, Jacquie Berglund, president of Finnegan’s Amber, has given away nearly $60,000 to poverty programs across the state of Minnesota. One of her recipients of the Finnegan Foundation is an apartment community north of Minneapolis that caters to homeless youth. The foundation recently raised money to buy all new furniture. Jacquie said it was amazing to watch the homeless kids moving in with all brand new furniture.
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Joy Cousminer, “Dream Maker”
Joy Cousminer is on a crusade to rid the Big Apple of loan sharks who prey on the poor in the Bronx. Before 1970, she had never heard of a credit union. Today, at age 80, she is president and CEO of Bethex Credit Union, which serves low income families. The credit union also provides loans to Gypsy cabs, who provide transportation in areas that other cabs won’t travel. Many Gypsy drivers are immigrants who would have a difficult time getting loans at a traditional institution. Over 9000 people are given financial options that would otherwise not be available. During tax season, Joy often volunteers until ten o’clock several nights per week to help make sure that her members are able to take full advantage of tax breaks. She created a credit union check cashing partnership that allows members to make deposits with their ATM cards in over 130 sites through New York City. She does all this on a meager salary and has volunteered her tax services for twenty years. She manages to keep expenses for the credit union low by using free office space.
Lyndon Harris, Founder of the Sacred City Project
In 2004, Harris founded the Sacred City Project, a non profit that seeks to bring together the faith communities so active in the months following 9/11 in order to work for peace. The premiere initiative of this non profit is to create Gardens of Forgiveness at Ground Zero and around the world, as places for reflection, healing, and conflict transformation, as well as venues for educational programs on forgiveness as a strategy for peacemaking.
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Nagesh Roy, “City Sandwich Man”
Every Saturday starting in 1991, Nagesh Roy makes sandwiches to give to the homeless in Atlanta. Initially, he started serving them through his temple but now just does it with a group of fourteen or fifteen friends. On any given week, Nagesh and his friends serve 40-50 homeless men and 40-50 woman and children. He collects food (canned soup, sandwiches, apples, cookies, etc) to distribute to the hungry men and women in the Atlanta area.
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Giovanna Minotta, Founder of the Be Latino Corporation
Giovanna Minotta founded the Be Latino Corporation while working part-time at a Dollar General store. She began by organizing a bilingual musical show to promote understanding between the cultures. This presentation, sponsored by Jacksonville State University, showcased 57 area schoolchildren who sang and danced Latin American music in spring 2003. This led to programs "Give me a Hand" and "Operation Stork", through which Be Latino has helped many individuals, pregnant women and their babies meet their different needs by providing a variety of services. The Be Latino Corporation continues to grow every day with other outreach programs underway.
Dr. Ronald Garst, an 89 year old former medical missionary spent 41 years of his life in third world countries providing medical care. Until a recent stroke, Garst collected and housed over 5.3 worth of orthopedic supplies in a barn on his property to send all over the world.
Ron Jaffee a 41 year old former computer geek, left his profession to hike the Appalachian Trail to raise money to help mentally challenged adults at the Russell Children’s Home in Orlando.
Mykha Trinh and her four children came to the US on the last helicopter out of Vietnam. When we arrived in the US her dream was to open her own restaurant. She uses the proceeds from her restaurant to support an orphanage in Vietnam and she sells beautiful pictures and shawls, made by the children there and she returns all the proceeds to them. At 4'10'', Mykha has the biggest heart in the world.
Benny Davenport
High school math teacher, Benny Davenport loves teaching and learning. Which is a good thing because he’s constantly doing both. During the day he teaches math at one of LA’s inner city schools. In the evenings, he works with kids and adults at the Blazer Safe Haven, a literacy center he stared in 1969. Among the many ways the center helps area kids is through giving kids access to computers and technology, teaching them about youth issues and providing leadership training. They also take field trips, do internships, and participate in team sports. The center has worked with LA area schools to help create more nutritious diets in schools. Davenport is clear that they are not into the rehabilitation or rescuing business. The kids have to have the desire, a spark in their eye that shows they want to do something with their lives. They take kids who are on the margin and push them to new heights. He tells kids: “We ain’t carrying you. You got to pack you own backpack!”
Unite for Sight
Unite For Sight's youngest volunteer, 13-year old David Kreshpan of Newtown, CT, collected hundreds of eyeglasses at Reed Intermediate School and Newtown Middle School for Unite For Sight's international eye care programs. David gave his collection of eyeglasses to Dr. James Clarke and Dr. Seth Wayne of Ghana at Unite For Sight's Third Annual Conference at Yale University. Dr. Clarke and Dr. Wayne took the large box of eyeglasses back to Ghana at the end of the conference. Dr. Wayne, an opthamologist in Tamale, Ghana, said of David's dedication to international eye care: "The people that Dr. Clarke and I stand in for would like to thank this young boy for what his heart is directing him to do for the least privileged people of the world."
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