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Donor Story: For the Ginopolis family, philanthropy is a core value

“Every day, I ask our two granddaughters ‘What did you do that was kind?’” said Marion Ginopolis.

The former superintendent of a public school system and her husband, Johnny, a former restauranteur, understand the meaning of kindness and community – that a little bit goes a long way, and that if everyone does their little bit, it creates a ripple effect of positivity.

When Johnny and Marion’s eldest son, Georgie, lost his life to a blood disorder in 1979 at just four years old, the couple felt driven to improve children’s health.

Over the past 40 years they have raised more than $5 million through endowments, golfing outings, restaurant events, and more. These funds have enabled advancements and discoveries in pediatric cancer and hematology research efforts, and increased access to care for youth struggling with mental health and substance use disorder. Additionally, Johnny served as a Foundation Trustee for 15 years and continues his service as an Honorary Trustee.

Their children, Peter and Jennifer, grew up seeing countless examples of their parents, family, friends, customers, and community members supporting a common goal. As a result, they each found their own unique giving spirit.

Jennifer’s career is dedicated to serving kids, much of it as a high school counselor. More recently, she served as a trauma specialist developing programs for youth who were impacted by a mass shooting in their community. She and her husband, Neil Ebaugh, provide expertise and thought leadership to the Foundation, particularly about the mental health issues facing kids.

Peter is a founder of Leaders for Kids, an advisory board to the Foundation, which has raised nearly $1 million since 2013. By sharing our mission with his workplace, Gallagher, he has facilitated multiple corporate sponsorships for our events, and serves as a Foundation Trustee, following his father’s footsteps.

Peter’s wife, Cassandra, continues to serve on Leaders for Kids, leading event planning efforts, gathering sponsors, and raising awareness of the health challenges kids face every day.

“We are all involved in philanthropy in our own way, but we also come together to make family decisions about how we want to collectively support youth through endowments we’ve helped create,” said Johnny.

Although their three grandchildren, Sabrina, Scarlett, and John George, don’t yet weigh in on those family meetings, they understand their family’s commitment and that one day, they will be responsible for carrying on that legacy.

“I know that we’ve created impact for many children over time and that makes us really proud – but what makes us most proud is that kindness, generosity, and community is in the hearts of our kids and grandkids,” Johnny shared.

Marion continued with a smile and said, “Yesterday, Sabrina showed me a note she wrote to herself that she keeps in her lunchbox. It said ‘Do something kind today.’”

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