The word “philanthropy” typically conjures up notions of wealthy donors who give large sums of money to worthy causes.
But several Legates through their charitable and professional involvement are giving greater depth to the word’s meaning. Through their work and generosity, all are showing that philanthropy starts with a desire to advocate for the good of others and goes well beyond financial giving.
Choosing between doing well and doing good
As a graduate student, Legate Terrence Blackwell felt torn between doing well and doing good. After a summer life guard job led him to teach people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to swim, he landed in graduate school in education at the University of Pennsylvania, but also took elective classes at the university’s prestigious Wharton School.
About that time someone told him, “Until you make a definitive decision as to which hat you want to wear, you’ll be tormented. You can go after the dollars with the other Wharton guys or keep working with disabled people.”
Blackwell wrestled with the question, asking himself whether he could work with disabled people and make the most of the available resources in a way that had measurable impact. He concluded that if he could do that, he could really change the world.
Today, Blackwell, a member of the Legatus Baltimore Chapter, is president and CEO of Chimes, a nonprofit human service agency providing employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities. Chimes operates in Israel, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
Before joining Chimes in 2016, Blackwell was chief operating officer of Services for the Underserved, a Manhattan-based agency that serves veterans and people with intellectual disabilities, behavioral and mental health and substance abuse issues. A licensed school principal, board-certified behavior analyst, and certified addictions specialist, he also has been a direct-care counselor for a community-based residence and led the development and operation of preschool programs for children with disabilities under New York’s state education department.
Blackwell said he would advise people who want to be more active in promoting the good of others to begin by looking at St. Teresa of Calcutta. “The problems society faces have always been so enormous and we think one person can’t make a dent in this. Her approach was, ‘I can only deal with one person in front of me.’ I think that’s a good way to live life.”
Filling the ‘empty nest’
For Jim and Jacki Delaney, philanthropy is about giving their time, talent, and treasure to ministries and organizations they believe will make a difference in society or the world.
That makes for a long list of involvements for the busy Philadelphia Legates, who this month on November 14 will receive the American Catholic Historical Society’s Barry Award for distinguished professional accomplishments and contributions to the Church and community.
Although the Delaneys learned the importance of giving from their parents and Catholic education, they said it was their participation in the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Church Ministry Institute that took their efforts to a new level.
“We were looking for something to do as we were becoming empty nesters and we read about the program in the church bulletin and signed up,” Jacki recalled. “The purpose of the Institute is to remind us that through Baptism we all are called to the mission of the Church.” Through three years of classes in Church history, ministry skills, lay mission, and spirituality, the couple learned about what it means to use their talents for the Church. Following their graduation in 2006, both became Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and lectors in their parish of St. John Vianney, Gladwyne, Pa. But that wasn’t all.
Jim’s ministry project for the program had been on starting a parish Bible study and he began one at St. John. “I had intended to do it a few years and move on,” he said, “but I stayed because the 15 people in the study were so excited about it, I couldn’t leave.”
The CEO of J.D. Capital Partners, Inc., Jim is chairman emeritus of the board of Neumann University in Aston, Pa., and last year completed a 10-year term on the board of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. He currently serves on the boards of the National Catholic Community Foundation, the Foundation for Catholic Education, Prayer Unites the World, the Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute (PHILO), and Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill, Pa. He also is on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops National Advisory Council and serves with Jacki on the Catholic Leadership Institute’s national advisory board.
In addition, the Delaneys have been involved with retreats for homeless people at the Malvern Retreat House, where Jacki is on the board and will become chairman in April, 2019. Jacki’s service also has included the Catholic Social Services board in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Barnes Foundation Alumni Association, of which she is president emeritus. For 11 years, she has been overseeing the Archbishop’s Benefit for Children, a year-long initiative that provides support for children’s charities in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
When the Delaneys receive the Barry Award this month, they plan to place a flyer at each guest’s place listing the organizations they are involved in with contact information on how to help. “We’re truly humbled by receiving the award in light of who the past recipients have been,” Jacki said, “but truly, it’s not about us. It’s about who we serve and we want them to be part of that award.”
Through the blessing of God
Though regarded as philanthropists by others, Joe Roxe and his wife, Maureen, would never describe themselves that way.
“We lead very simple lives and have been blessed by God with the means to support a small number of causes with which we have become deeply involved,” said Joe Roxe, a member of the Legatus Fairfield County Chapter.
Foremost among those causes is Catholic education, including Roxe’s alma mater of Chaminade High School on Long Island and Bishop Frank Caggiano’s efforts to expand Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT. Roxe said going to Chaminade, an all-boys school where he graduated in 1954, had a greater impact on his life than did attending Princeton University and the Harvard Business School.
The Roxes also support other causes, such as the arts, through a charitable foundation that bears their name. The foundation was established in 1998 after Joe sold the private company in which he had been a partner. He serves as the foundation’s chairman.
Additionally, the Roxes give of their time. Joe is a former trustee of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and has served as a trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the U.S. Naval War College Foundation, as well as an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of the Bridgeport Diocese’s Finance Council and Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Diocese.
“We find involvement with these prestigious institutions to be very rewarding, frequently mind bending, and always stimulating,” Joe said.
Joe, who is chairman of Bay Holdings, LLC, said he views the support he and his wife provide as very modest compared to “true philanthropists” who make multi-million-dollar gifts to some of the same institutions they consider it a privilege to help.
Maureen is an overseer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a former long-term trustee of the New York Medical College.
Joe and his wife are a Knight and a Dame of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and
of the Papal Order of Saint Sylvester.
JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer