By Emily Morgan / Staff Writer, The Daily Record, Wooster, OH
WOOSTER — Much like last year’s Friend of Philanthropy recipients, Stephen and Cheryl Shapiro, Mike and Stephanie Reardon didn’t expect to make Wayne County their forever home.
The Reardons planned to move back to Mike’s hometown of Columbus after he purchased a small titanium company in Shreve. He later relocated the business, United Titanium, to Wooster and the couple fell in love with the community.
Mike Reardon soon met Wooster’s most prolific philanthropist, Stan Gault, and from Gault, Reardon soon learned how his contributions could benefit the greater community. That is one reason why the Wayne County Community Foundation honored the Reardons on Thursday as the seventh recipient of their annual Friend of Philanthropy Award.
“Stan taught us philanthropy, starting with his first rule — ‘Make your own contribution first, then you can ask others for money.’ We learned that every gift counted, small or large, from donors according to their means,” Mike Reardon said in his acceptance speech.
The WCCF created the award to honor those who make a difference in the community with their philanthropic activities — the giving of treasure, time and talent — for the betterment of the Wayne County area. Previous recipients include Stan and Flo Gault, the J.M. Smucker Family, the Donald and Alice Noble Family, Greg and Kathy Long, Barry Romich and the Shapiros.
“The two of them have been involved in philanthropy in every aspect of our community, supporting local causes and investing in numerous community projects,” Adam Briggs, president of Briggs Financial Group, said of the Reardons. “Their philanthropy has been largely under the radar; they give because of their generous spirit and not for recognition.”
Although quiet in their giving, the Reardons have contributed not only their resources but also their time to many worthy causes that have greatly benefited the Wayne County area since their arrival in 1974.
Mike Reardon has served on the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and played a key role in economic development efforts throughout the county. He worked on the HealthCare 2000 committee which led to the creation of the Viola Startzman Clinic.
The Reardons made a significant contribution to Wooster Community Hospital for its Cardiac Catheterization Lab. They have been leaders in the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of United Way, and United Titanium has one of the highest employee participation rates for United Way of any local business.
“They are more than just check writers. They are friends and fellow citizens,” said Ron Holtman, trustee emeritus of the foundation, in his introduction of the Reardons.
The Reardons have been lead contributors for many organizations in the county, including Wooster High School, The Village Network, Wayne Center for the Arts, One Eighty Inc., Central American Medical Outreach (CAMO), Boys and Girls Club of Wooster, Cornerstone PlayLab, Wayne County Public Library, the CHIEF campaign to raise funds for the Wayne County Fire and Rescue Association Regional Training Facility, and the Stanley C. Gault Philanthropic Leadership Fund.
In accepting the award, Mike Reardon challenged all of those in attendance at the annual dinner to “write that first check.
“When you do, you will link yourselves to the important tasks before you. Generosity is no longer an obligation. It becomes a way of life and draws you into building and sustaining the institutions which make this a great place in which to live,” he said. “Generosity is participatory — the sharing of all of our gifts to benefit our future together.”
Over the past fiscal year, the total assets of the Wayne County Community Foundation grew to nearly $85 million dispersed among 442 funds. The foundation received $10.8 million in gifts, including contributions from more than 1,000 individuals. In turn, the foundation granted back to the community $6.1 million including $571,000 in scholarships to 234 Wayne County residents, both high school graduates and adult students returning to school.
Since its inception in 1978, the foundation has awarded over $78 million in grants and scholarships.
— Reporter Emily Morgan can be reached at 330-287-1632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wayne County Community Foundation
517 North Market Street
Wooster, Ohio 44691