After years as a top manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, Lou Binick thought he knew what he wanted in retirement — a chance to get away from it all. But after he and his wife, Yoshiko, moved into their dream home on 3.5 acres outside of Phoenix, he realized he wanted something else — to be back involved with helping others.
“With my neighbors there, we would wave to each other, but the only time we saw each other was at the post office,” Binick says. “Since most of my life had been spent helping other people, I got kind of lonely.”
The Binicks moved back to the city in 2005 and into The Terraces of Phoenix. Lou Binick now enjoys helping others as chairman of The Terraces of Phoenix Foundation, a group of residents and team members who support the ABHOW Foundation. Binick is also an ABHOW Foundation board member.
The Terraces of Phoenix Foundation sponsored a rousing casino night with live and silent auctions on Nov. 12 in the community dining room and lobby - an effort that netted more than $50,000. In addition, the excitement of the moment generated an additional $80,000 in pledges towards a new resident activity center and the community’s endowment for benevolence.
Binick savors being part of one of the largest fundraising events ever at an ABHOW community.
“It’s my philosophy of the good life,” he says. “When you help others, you’re helping yourself.”
Andrea Schulte, director of activities at The Terraces of Phoenix, says Binick’s attitude is common among the residents.
“It’s about having the heart and the vision to know that with their involvement the lives of seniors now and in the future can be improved,” she says.
The satisfaction and success of philanthropic efforts at The Terraces of Phoenix can be found across ABHOW’s communities. Local foundation committees are supporting the construction of fitness centers, the development of memory support programs to care for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and the expansion of endowments that help residents short of funds to stay in the communities.
On Nov. 4, representatives of the local foundation committees joined ABHOW Foundation President Joe Anderson at National Philanthropy Day in San Francisco, an annual event to honor those who give back.
“In past years, we’ve saluted individuals. But this year, instead of honoring one person, we decided to honor one spirit, the spirit of giving among ABHOW residents, team members and board members who are engaged in our local foundation committees,” Anderson says.
That spirit of generosity extends across geography and the circumstances of each community.
Rae Holt, the executive director of The Terraces at Los Altos in Los Altos, Calif., says it’s part of ABHOW’s nonprofit culture.
“That is something that is so unique to ABHOW, the awareness of the value of being supportive of nonprofits and committed to social responsibility, to care about other human beings around us, not just in the retirement community, but in volunteerism.” Holt says.
At The Terraces of Los Gatos, which opened in 1992, Executive Director Alex Candalla says he once worried about raising nearly a quarter million dollars to build a fitness center. Yet his community’s foundation committee came through, the ABHOW Foundation matched the effort, and the building went up.
“We thought it would be a challenge because the community was new and there wasn’t a whole lot of a sense of ownership,” Candalla says, “but we were able to generate $240,000 and a lot of enthusiasm.”
At The Terraces of Los Gatos, Joseph Cusick moved from serving on the advisory board to becoming a community resident and head of the local foundation committee. He is preparing to lead a drive to raise about a half million dollars to develop a memory support program.
The goal is daunting, Cusick says, but he has seen enough of the community’s generosity to know it can be reached.
“It is soul-satisfying to see a lot of people willing to continue to give from their treasure,” he says. “Some are giving from abundance and some are giving from what they have.”
Binick, who gave up the quiet of his retreat for the bustle of working for others, says he knows why residents give.
“Giving yourself a present doesn’t make you as happy as giving to others,” he says.