By Julie Blum / Reprinted from The Columbus Telegram – Date: November 21, 2016
COLUMBUS — The Columbus Area Philanthropy Council recognized the act of giving back Monday evening.
The Raimondo Family Foundation and the late Barbara Gerhold were recognized for the work they’ve done to impact Columbus.
Called an “extraordinary gift” by Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce President K.C. Belitz, the Raimondo Family Foundation has helped support local projects.
The foundation and another anonymous family gave $1.2 million for the Columbus Quality of Life Centers, matching the amount pledged by the Omaha-based Sherwood Foundation.
During the award presentation at Pinnacle Bank in Village Centre, Belitz said that funding will benefit many organizations and individuals in the community.
The Raimondo Family Foundation kick-started an effort to bring outside funding to Columbus for projects such as the STEM academy at the new Columbus High School, library/cultural arts center and relocation of Columbus Family YMCA to the Columbus Wellness Center.
Belitz said those gifts will leave a lasting impression on the community.
The Raimondo Family Foundation received the Philanthropist of the Year Award for its impact.
Accepting the award on the family’s behalf was Phil Raimondo.
He said his family is trying to do their part to better the community.
“We couldn’t pass this opportunity up as a family. There is no better return on an investment than to put our money into the community with these types of investments,” Raimondo said.
Receiving the Legacy Award was Gerhold, who passed away in January 2015 and was a big supporter of Catholic education.
John Schueth, development director at Scotus Central Catholic, said Gerhold donated more than $500,000 to the school’s endowment fund to provide perpetual support for the fund used to balance the budget and establish the William and Barbara Gerhold Family Teacher of the Year award.
The annual award provides a $5,000 stipend to a Catholic school teacher in Columbus. Since it was established, 18 teachers have received the award.
In the last 18 years, Schueth said the endowed donations have provided nearly $380,000 in support of local Catholic schools.
Gerhold also was a supporter of capital campaigns and fundraisers for schools, including the Scotus Gala.
She sponsored a student at St. Augustine’s Indian Mission in Winnebago and supported the education for two Catholic seminarians. She also provided funding for a nursing scholarship at Columbus Community Hospital.
Her daughter Anne McCoy, who accepted the award for Gerhold, said her mother attended a private Catholic girls school and a religious-based education remained important to her.
McCoy said her mother made it a point to be present when the teacher of the year award was presented.
She described her mom as a shy person, someone who would probably be embarrassed to get recognized with an award because she didn’t seek the spotlight.
Gerhold simply supported the endeavors she and her husband, who passed away 18 years ago, thought were important.
“They were all the things they thought of together, and she carried that on after dad died,” McCoy said.