“Having our philanthropy under the Community Foundation’s watchful umbrella lets us do the fun stuff. We get to focus on our fundraising, and we have the freedom to pick our grants. The support is amazing.” – Catherine Goldan

The Canterelli sisters, Mary Lisa Costello and Catherine Goldan, together with their husbands and children, wanted to honor their parents while building upon the values that Vince and Sonia Canterelli lived by. “The idea came quickly after the loss of both our parents,” says Mary Lisa. “We were referred to the Community Foundation and have been there from the beginning. It has worked out beautifully.”

“We both worked in accounting,” says Catherine, “and we knew how time consuming it would be to do this. The revelation was the enthusiasm that greeted us at the Community Foundation. We came in for the first time and met with a bunch of strangers; we left feeling that they understand what we’re trying to accomplish. In a reply to one of our e-mails, the development director, Elizabeth Wagner, gave her interpretation of our goals, and she was spot-on.”

Mary Lisa adds, “They really get us here, even though we’ve only been in the office three or four times in six years. It’s such a good fit.”

Both sisters say that their passion came from their parents. Vince and Sonia Canterelli were “good, caring people,” says Catherine. “If you could help, you never said no. They donated money, they did charitable and civic work, but they went beyond that. They offered people comfort, understanding, a kind word. They were always supportive, whether to a friend, family member, acquaintance, colleague, or a neighbor. This was simply their nature … it’s all we knew.”

Mary Lisa explains their families’ role this way. “Our own kids understand the grant making. The choices we make reinforce their understanding of what people are going through and how philanthropy is important. Our grant recipients are chosen by our entire family. Each year we talk about what our friends and loved ones might be going through and say, how can we help, what can we do to honor his or her courage? We contact the family, and they are touched. It’s acknowledgement and support of what they are going through.”

Catherine adds: “We’re carrying on our parents’ principles, giving not just a donation but moral support. Sometimes the reaction of the person we’re helping is in itself philanthropic. The wife of a high school friend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. We approached her about our making a grant locally, and she picked a nonprofit that helps people with all kinds of cancer, not just her own. Here she is, going through something, but wanting to help others, not just herself.”

And the effect of all this on their families? Catherine says, “We often default to, ‘What would mom and dad do?’ And our kids are also learning the values we grew up by.” Mary Lisa adds, “Our dad spoke at each of our weddings. He said, ‘What we wish for Mary Lisa & Joe and Catherine & Keith is that they have kids just like ours.’ That was our parents’ wish for us. And now, with children of our own, we often say to each other, what we wish for our kids, is that they have parents just like ours.”The Costello and Goldan families are thankful to all who have contributed … whether a financial donation, participation at their charitable events or volunteering; they recognize that none of this would be possible without the support of their families, friends and colleagues who enthusiastically join them each year in their fundraising efforts. They are so grateful for the generosity and support they receive year after year. The Community Foundation has also been instrumental in this process. Mary Lisa explains, “We just send in checks, and the Community Foundation takes care of the bookkeeping, reports our fund’s balance and activity and distributes our grants. Being at the Community Foundation is important to us. We’re so thankful.”