.

mother theresa of westchester pat lanza passes..

Very sad news. Pat Lanza passed away yesterday. Pat, called the Mother Theresa of Westchester by many, donated millions of dollars to the town over the years for many worthwhile programs. Last year, alone, Pat wrote a check for over $200,000 to the town (through her Lanza Family Foundation): the arts and culture program is completely funded by the Lanza family Foundation. Was previously funded by taxpayers. The Summer Police Youth Camp is funded by the Lanza foundation. Was previously funded by taxpayers. The Xposure after school program is a Lanza Family foundation grant recipient. Six figure donation annually for the after school program. The Theodore Young Community Center has received grants for worthwhile programs. One year, after the library announced plans to close the library on Sunday's Pat gave the town a big check to continue library programs on Sunday's. She has supported a food kitchen that serves the hungry at Union Baptist Church. I can go on and on. Pat loved Greenburgh and did so much for our community. A number of years ago I went on a bicycle charity ride from Westchester to Philadelphia to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. I reached out to Pat asking for her sponsorship. She made an initial donation of $1000. She then met Jim Killoran of Habitat, started observing the work they do. She has since given Habitat for Humanities over $2.5 million. Pat contributed significant dollars to many organizations and worthwhile causes in Westchester and around the world. She was one of the most caring people I knew --someone who truly made the world a better place. She enhanced the lives of so many people through her generosity. Her loss is a big loss for our town. And, the world. The following article appeared in the Journal News.. PAUL FEINER EASTCHESTER – Patricia Lanza, a philanthropist who was known for her warmth and personal interest in people — and the causes her contributions helped — died Thursday of cancer, four days before she would have turned 81. Lanza and the Lanza Family Foundation gave millions of dollars over the years to groups ranging from El Centro Hispano in White Plains to the Women's Research and Education Fund in Rye. El Centro Hispano first heard from her after she read a news story about its scholarships for Hispanics. "She read the newspaper and we received a check from her a few days later for $500 with a little note that said, 'It's about time that someone's doing something for Hispanics,' " said Isabel Villar, executive director. Villar said Lanza helped expand the scholarships, create mentoring programs and establish a technology center. "I can tell you that she's the most generous, caring, visionary and philanthropic human being that many of us have ever known," she said. Louie Lanza of Garrison, one of of Lanza's three sons, called his mom the "Mother Teresa of Westchester." She did a lot of work locally but also improved lives for people in Africa, Vietnam and elsewhere. She learned several weeks ago she had stage 4 cancer, but was at peace when she died, he said. Louie Lanza said his mother "genuinely cared about getting people to a different level in their lives" and "we look forward to helping to carry on the legacy of what she's done because she really was special, hands on." Patricia Lanza has been helping Legal Services of the Hudson Valley since 1999, said CEO Barbara Finkelstein. Her primary interest was children, and she helped Legal Services represent thousands of them, particularly those with disabilities. "She was just one of the biggest philanthropists in Westchester County and just gave so much of herself as well as her money," Finkelstein said. Lanza walked into the offices of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester and started helping Jim Killoran, CEO and executive director, by writing letters and doing other office work. He didn't know about her financial means but "one day she just laid a check on us," he said. All told, the foundation has given $2.5 million to his group. "I cry, I'm sad, but I celebrate her life," Killoran said Friday. Without a $750,000 challenge grant from Lanza, the Food Bank for Westchester would not have been able to renovate a facility in Elmsford, said Katy Coppinger, senior development director. It needed $2.2 million and had raised $700,000. Donors matched the grant in four months. Ilene Lieberman, director of annual giving for the Westchester Community College Foundation, said Lanza was an "extraordinary person." Since 2000, she provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships for students who have succeeded despite major challenges. The college would set up luncheons so Lanza could meet the students. "She wanted opportunities to be available to everyone, regardless of their economic status," Lieberman said. Lanza is survived by three sons: James, 53; Louie, 52; and Anthony, 47. Her husband, Frank, a top executive and co-founder of L-3 Communications Holdings, a defense contractor, died in 2006. The couple set up the foundation. The family is planning a celebration of her life a week from Monday. Details haven't been finalized.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »