Like many Americans, Mark Makulinski watched helplessly as a series of hurricanes followed by raging wildfires devastated thousands of his fellow citizens.
“As we watched the hurricanes and fires unfold I realized that these people needed a helping hand this time,” he said.
Mr. Makulinski watched as, after each hurricane and the California wildfires, waves of support poured in for the victims; help from people donating their time, resources, and money.
That’s when he decided to put his money where his mouth was. He began searching for a charity he deemed trustworthy before partnering with the Toledo Community Foundation. And now, the longtime Toledo resident and business owner, is challenging the greater Toledo area to join him in sustaining the support being provided to communities still reeling from the disasters.
The retired president of Lockrey Manufacturing in Toledo decided to offer a challenge grant up to $250,000 to help those impacted by the recent natural disasters.
“If I can get more mileage out of my philanthropy dollar that’s sort of what I look for,” he said.
Any individual donation directed to one of five designated community foundation funds will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Mark and his wife, Rose Makuliniski. They will match up to a total of $250,000.
For example, if an individual makes a gift of $100, the Makulinski’s will also donate $100, and the organization will receive a total of $200.
Mr. Makulinski and foundation officials said they want the donations to assist with the repair of some of the long-term infrastructural damage caused by the disasters. Damaged infrastructure has far-reaching consequences that prolong the devastation in affected communities, Mr. Makulinski said.
“With all these natural disasters a lot of people will help immediately,” said Joanne Olnhausen, a foundation spokesman.
“Red Cross steps in and helps with those basic needs of food and shelter immediately,” she said. “The foundation is looking to put our money to work on long-term solutions. We’re looking at how we can rebuild these communities.”
Toledo Community Foundation has recommend five trusted community foundations in each of the areas affected by the hurricanes or wildfires. The charities are in the Florida Keys; Florida’s Collier County; the Miami area and Caribbean; Houston; and California’s Mendocino County.
The deadline to donate money to the cause is Nov. 30.
As of Monday, the foundation had raised $101,725.
Keith Burwell, the foundation’s president, said he’s appreciative of Mr. Makulinski’s willingness to match the donations of everyone.
“It’s a wonderful idea that someone in our community wants to facilitate giving of this magnitude,” Mr. Burwell said. “The idea an individual wants to step up is beautiful.”