Our donors and volunteers make the community a better place for our children and families. In our series, Why I Give, we put the spotlight on some of the generous individuals helping to move our communities forward.
Here's an insider's look into why Dante Germano has shared his time, talents, and treasure to further our mission since 2013.
When did you get involved with Acenda?
Acenda President & CEO Anthony DiFabio and Ruth London, Acenda’s Chief People Officer, asked if I would become a board member in 2016. Prior to that, I had met Anthony through the Chamber of Commerce and the Borough of Glassboro, as we (Nexus Properties) were developing the Rowan Boulevard project. I was getting coffee at the Barnes & Noble on Rowan Boulevard, and Anthony and Ruth were meeting there. Anthony asked me to join them and introduced me to Ruth. After that meeting, I was “hooked.”
What motivates you to stay involved? In your opinion, what is the most important work that Acenda does?
There has been a lot of growth and expansion of programs since I joined the Board of Trustees. Through my involvement, I have had the opportunity to learn so much more about the programs and services Acenda offers to the community. The leadership and staff are so passionate about what they do that it creates an environment that you want to help any way you can.
Why do you volunteer and support Acenda?
I was fortunate to have some success in business and truly believe it’s important to give back to organizations that serve the communities we’ve impacted in our development business. I enjoy volunteering time because it provides me an opportunity to learn more about great organizations like Acenda and how they help the communities they serve.
What do you hope Acenda will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
Acenda does such great work in the communities we currently serve. In the short term, I would love to see us touch more lives in those communities with the great programs and services we currently offer. In the long term, expansion into new service areas with new programs should be a focus. I have tremendous respect for Anthony, his management team and staff and believe they can make a truly positive impact on any community we have the opportunity to serve.
Do you have an anecdote about Acenda that really moved you?
I grew up in Glassboro and, as a 10-year-old, would walk a few blocks to fish at Glen Lake in Pitman. Fishing off an old tree stump on the lake, I would often gaze at the big old house behind me. Rumor had it (among us kids) that the house was haunted and it had been abandoned for years. We’d often make up stories about it. When I met Ruth, I told her that story and she explained to me that Robins Nest owned the home at that time and it was a group home for orphaned teenage girls. She went on to explain that, over the years, the girls would often tell stories about sounds and sightings in the home that made them believe it was haunted. I remember telling Ruth – ‘see that, I wasn’t crazy, that house really was haunted!’ That connection 50 years ago must have been destiny.
Why is being a donor so important to you?
Quite simply, organizations like Acenda need the financial support of community members to carry out their mission. It is very fulfilling to me personally to be able to contribute to their success.
What would you tell others interested in getting involved with Acenda?
I would tell them to spend an hour meeting with Anthony and Ruth. Anthony’s expertise and commitment and Ruth’s history, passion and dedication to the cause will leave you wanting to help any way you can. Believe me, you just can’t say no to Ruth!