The six children of John and Ann Gillen grew up watching their parents not only sharing their time and talents with the community, but also consistently sticking up for the underdog.
“If it was a friend of ours who was in a tough spot, they were always willing to help,” says daughter Lisa Murphy. “If it was a neighbor who needed a lawn mowed or babysitting, we were encouraged to offer what they needed.”
In 2002, the Gillens launched the Gillen Family Foundation after selling their company, Tel Mark Sales, Inc. Now, the Gillen children work with the Community Foundation to fulfill the wishes of their parents to help those in need become self-sufficient.
“The Community Foundation helps vet the nonprofits in the area so we know we’re giving to an organization that will have the most impact in people’s lives,” Lisa says.
When the pandemic struck and the Gillen family wanted to shift their giving focus to nonprofits aiding mental health, children with dyslexia and seniors experiencing dementia, they worked with Shelly Leadley, Director of Donor Services, to make it happen. In the past year, the Gillen Family Fund has gifted more than $50,000 to the community.
“Shelly has been outstanding to work with through the grant giving process,” says daughter Laura Jankowski. “It is such a nice system.”
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