November 06, 2018
The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Charles C. Keller Excellence Award for Corporate Philanthropy: Range Resources (large employer category) and Angelo’s Restaurant (small employer category). Both companies will be recognized for their generosity at the WCCF’s annual Philanthropy Banquet on Thursday, November 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe.
Created in 2011 and named in honor of late Founding Trustee and past WCCF Chairman Charles C. Keller, the award recognizes local for-profit businesses for exemplary giving and community service.
“That the award should bear my name is an honor I shall treasure. I have always felt committed to a spirit of giving, and I have been proud of the development of the WCCF as a vehicle to encourage and enable people to engage in philanthropy,” remarked Keller. “My greater joy is in recognizing that a long parade of deserving businesses and professions will receive this honor and recognition in the years to come."
Criteria for the award are as follows: Demonstrate a company philosophy of community service, such as time-off or flexible scheduling for employees to perform community service; Encourage employee commitment at multiple levels of the company; Donate resources including financial, personnel, facility or product; Orchestrate a sustained effort to address a community need; Promote active community participation by others.
Range Resources is a leading U.S. independent natural gas and natural gas liquids producer. In 2004 the company pioneered the Marcellus shale with the successful drilling of Washington County’s first commercial well. But, the wells are not the only things that run deep.
According to Michael Mackin, Director of External Affairs, the company’s overwhelming enthusiasm for supporting community programs and activities developed organically – Range Resources employees just wanted to do good things. He remarked, “We live here. We work here. And this is our community too, so we want to make a positive impact.”
Areas such as education, public safety, veterans’ services, youth, human needs, and conservation are particular priorities. And despite industry fluctuations, the company’s commitment to giving has remained steadfast.
Charities that have been supported by Range Resources include but are not limited to United Way of Washington County, Washington Hospital Foundation, Mon Valley Hospital, Toys for Tots, Habitat for Humanity, Greater Washington County Food Bank, Junior Achievement, the Challenge Program, and Variety – the Children’s Charity. In 2017, the company partnered with WCCF to establish the Range Resources Good Neighbors Fund with a $75,000 gift to support fire departments and emergency management services organizations in Range’s core operating area.
However, for Range, community involvement goes far beyond financial support.
“From the top down, Range Resources supports a culture of service,” remarked Laural Ziemba, Director of Public Affairs. In fact, no matter what time of year it may be, there is at least one service project underway.
The core of the Range’s charitable activities is centered on its annual golf outing. With the help of the company’s partners in the energy industry, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities and serves as the largest United Way fundraiser in the county. Other human needs-based organizations like Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA, CASA for Kids, and the Greater Washington County Food Bank are also beneficiaries of the proceeds.
The company has also partnered with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation on a habitat project which restored two areas that added approximately 33 acres of land in Cross Creek County Park. In recognition of the successful project, Range was later honored with the Corporate Conservation Award from the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Additionally, Range Resources employees serve on many Boards including the Washington Hospital Foundation, Mon Valley Hospital, and the Greater Washington County Food Bank.
Michael Passalacqua, the owner of Angelo’s Restaurant, and his employees annually provide in-kind support (food and staffing) to numerous local charities as well as events to raise money for families who are suffering some sort of hardship. In fact, generosity has been a trait of the Passalacqua family for generations.
Angelo’s has supported community since 1939, when Michael Passalacqua’s grandfather opened the West Chestnut Spaghetti Inn. The business passed to Passalacqua’s father, Silvio, and his Aunt Carmelina. After six years doing police work, Passalacqua joined the family business, now called Angelo’s. He didn’t just learn about making Italian food. Passalacqua remarks, “Watching Dad . . . he was a wrestling coach and he mentored kids, employed some of the troubled ones and took them under his wing. That stuck with me.”
Five years ago, a woman walked into Angelo’s Restaurant asking for a gift card for a fundraiser. The woman, whose niece Samantha had an accident, carried a flier with the toddler’s picture. Passalacqua saw the little girl’s face and, in his “aha!” moment, his heart melted. He didn’t give a gift card. Instead, he provided all the food for a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. The dinner was a massive success, and Samantha’s mother, Michele Anderson, said it made all the difference. Her daughter needed someone with her at all times. The fundraiser made it possible for Michele to quit her job.
After that fundraiser and an earlier one helping a Trinity student, Passalacqua rethought Angelo’s marketing. “I had a marketing budget,” he muses,” so I thought, why not divert some of that to help people?”
There are also non-profit organizations that benefit from Angelo’s annual commitments including Citizen’s Library, the Washington Area Humane Society, the Olivia Scott Foundation, First Love Christian Academy, and Blueprints, formerly Community Action Southwest. Those he helps are extremely grateful.
“Michael Passalacqua puts his heart into his commitment to our community,” said Mary Jo Podgurski, whose Teen Outreach has benefitted. “He’s always there for our young people, but it is the beauty of his spirit as a true role model that sets Michael apart.”
When asked, “Is it about giving back?” Passalacqua says, “I have no answer for that, because it is a specific thing. I help specific organizations and people I believe in. People who played by the rules and have done right all their lives but were hit with something insurmountable. I believe in the work.”
Angelo’s can’t help everyone. Making 1,000 meatballs, 120 pounds of pasta, and 30 gallons of sauce stretches the staff, so they can only do about six fundraisers for individuals per year. “It’s hard that I have to turn so many people down,” Passalacqua stated.
Angelo’s staff does all the work, making the meatballs, sauce, and all that pasta. So, Passalacqua has invited his employees to share in the honor of the Charles C. Keller Excellence Award for Corporate Philanthropy by joining him at the event.
Passalacqua stated, “I don’t do it for the recognition. It’s nice but not the primary thing. I hear a story. It tugs at me. That’s the singular motivation.”
About the Washington County Community Foundation The WCCF promotes and facilitates local philanthropy and is the largest publicly supported grant-making foundation headquartered in Washington County. In addition to hosting an annual day of giving, the WCCF administers a broad grant-making program and provides educational seminars at no charge for local charities.