By Liam Bouquet
The Hope Foundation of Mahoning Valley — a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that supports the care of chronically and terminally ill — has announced its latest grants to local charities and nonprofits that “share our goal of improving the lives of chronically/terminally ill children.”
The groups were presented with these grants at a press conference held by the foundation on Nov. 20 at Youngstown State University’s Coaches Court in Beeghly Center.
Grants were presented to three groups: $1,500 to Making Kids Count; $1,500 Easter Seal Society of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties; $1,500 to Camelot Center.
The Carmstrong Foundation was also presented with $1,709, which was raised at the Carmstrong Bocce for Hope event held at the Mahoning Valley Restaurant earlier in the year.
Anthony Spano, the founder and executive director of the Hope Foundation, thanked members of the YSU and Youngstown community for the foundation’s success.
“The YSU community has really given us the opportunity to really make a difference,” Spano said. “This is our biggest year of giving money out. We are giving over $5,500 total.”
John McNally, the mayor of Youngstown, presented Spano and the foundation with a proclamation from the city of Youngstown, thanking the foundation for their efforts.
“One thing I have learned over … eight years of working with Tony, he is a very persistent little bugger. He gets everybody involved in all of the events that he helps promote,” McNally said. “I want to thank Tony and his staff and the board members of the Hope Foundation — a lot people giving of their time, helping Tony raise money.”
Joe Schiavoni, a member of the Ohio State Senate, also shared McNally’s sentiments.
“Whenever there is somebody in the Valley that works as hard as somebody like Tony does — puts their heart and soul into something and puts their passion into helping people — we should all come together to recognize that,” he said. “A lot of the larger charities in our area often get highlighted and things like this sometimes slip by. It is so important, local people helping local kids.”
Spano added that the Hope Foundation is composed entirely of volunteers, meaning there are low administrative costs.
“The more we work together, the better off we are,” he said. “If it wasn’t for community members, the board [of the Hope Foundation], volunteers — we have over a hundred-and-some volunteers for four different events — the foundation would not be where it is today. It is not me; it is the group of people that come with the foundation.”
Spano said that he expects the foundation to expand significantly over the next few years.
“We are in the process of rebranding ourselves,” Spano said. “The foundation is taking it to the next level of fundraising. Instead of giving out thousands of dollars, we are expecting to give out tens of thousands of dollars in the coming years, so we are going to accelerate fundraising in the next two to five years, as well as really start capital campaigns.”