Gary Farro had a vision. A senior managing director and relationship manager at First Republic Bank in New York City, Farro wanted to heighten awareness and increase support and funds for the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) from among people outside the bleeding disorders community.
Neither he nor his family is affected by a bleeding disorder, but, Farro says, he felt the pull to “see if I could do something that really helps the organization.” So in 2013 he created the National Hemophilia Foundation Business Council. The Council’s goal is to foster relationships with the business community in the New York City area, leading to new sponsorships and increased fundraising opportunities. Proceeds go to help expand NHF’s mission to serve the bleeding disorders community.
In honor of Farro’s work as chairman of the Business Council, along with his widespread support of NHF activities, he was honored as the 2017 Philanthropist of the Year at NHF’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Driven to help
Farro, who lives in Little Silver, New Jersey, initially became acquainted with the bleeding disorders community about eight years ago when NHF was looking for a new banker.
A friend introduced him to the organization, and soon after he attended an NHF retreat, where he learned much more about NHF’s work. “They really inspired me to use my resources to help them,” Farro recalls.
“Everyone knows someone who has been impacted by cancer,” says Farro. “Everyone knows someone who has been impacted by heart disease. Not everyone knows someone who has been impacted by a bleeding disorder.” Farro recognizes that if a disease or disorder doesn’t directly affect an individual, “it doesn’t necessarily resonate with you.”
Along with his work as chairman of the Business Council, Farro also has been recognized with the 2014 Corporate Volunteer Award at NHF’s Spring Soiree (now known as the Red Tie Soiree), and he served as co-chair of the 2013 Spring Soiree.
New contacts, new opportunities
Although he has done volunteer work for various nonprofit organizations over the years, Farro says he felt like he didn’t make a huge impact anywhere. But while attending NHF’s Annual Meeting in Denver in 2010, and meeting those who have been affected by bleeding disorders, “I was very much inspired by their passion,” Farro recalls. “I felt as though it was a great opportunity for me to learn from others.”
That moving experience was the seed of the Business Council, which has raised nearly $100,000 for NHF. Crucially, the Council has introduced the organization to new business contacts in different industries, Farro says. “I wanted to create a very powerful group for the good of the organization.”
Farro’s wife, Alexandra, and daughters, Olivia and Felicia, join him for events, such as the Hemophilia Walk in New York. “It’s very important for me to show them that everybody matters, and it’s important to give back. Even if you don’t have money, you can give your time.”