2017 Better Our Communities Award Winners


Marcos Brocca

Marcos Brocca knows the power that education holds. That is why he dedicates his time and talent to El Faro del Saber, a government education institution that offers free education for marginalized communities in Mexico City. Marcos teaches students of all ages four days a week and gives them tools to open new opportunities, including a second language, reading and basic grammar.

Donation made in Marcos’ name to: Faro del Saber Constituyentes A.C.

Active in the following organizations:
El Faro del Saber



Michael Galante

Michael Galante’s expertise in event planning along with his high energy has contributed to the success of countless fundraisers and community events. Michael is described as “selfless” with his time and knows how to bring smiles to the faces of adults and children alike, especially when times are difficult. Known for always highlighting the volunteer work of others, Michael’s tireless contributions to his community have impacted the lives of many.

Donation made in Michael’s name to: Camp Good Days & Special Times  

Active in the following organizations:
American Cancer Society, Camp Good Days, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Explore & More Children’s Museum, Knox Church, P2P Family Fun Days, Ride for Roswell, Special Olympics, Theatre of Youth, United Way, Vision Niagara



Cheryl Sanko

Cheryl Sanko has dedicated her time, talent, and energy to numerous organizations in the last 20 years. Cheryl’s leadership skills have brought together many teams to fundraise and support organizations close to her heart. Her giving attitude is infectious and inspires those around her to also give back and make a difference..

Donation made in Cheryl’s name to: Plymouth Crossroads

Active in the following organizations: Covenant Academy, Free the Girls, Knox Church, Light the Night, National MS Society, Rich’s Annual Christmas Family Adoption, SPCA, Spirit of Nursing- Cindy A. Feery Memorial Scholarship, St. Luke’s Church



Patricia Spencer

Patricia Spencer is a constant voice, driver, and leader of fundraising of St. Jude - To End Childhood Cancer Fund. Her fundraising efforts range from bake sales to implementing Associate annual giving to St. Jude’s. Patricia encourages others to live the Rich Promise through Better Our Communities and dedicates her volunteer work to honor Associates and their families touched by cancer.

Donation made in Patricia’s name to: Make a Wish Foundation

Active in the following organizations:
Make a Wish Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Wounded Warriors



Aaron Tichenor

Aaron Tichenor’s dedication to youth and less fortunate of our community speak volumes of his character. From coaching JV basketball to serving Thanksgiving meals, Aaron has exemplified what giving back to the community means. His positive, helping attitude can be seen throughout his volunteerism.

Donation made in Aaron’s name to: Buffalo City Mission

Active in the following organizations: Alden High School, Buffalo News Kids Day, CS&L, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Meals on Wheels, National Breast Cancer Foundation,
Special Olympics, YMCA



Jennifer VanHoff

Jennifer VanHoff knows that making a difference sometimes only takes a small gesture. That is one reason why she participates in a multitude of community service endeavors and why she carries “Buffalove” care bags with toiletries, socks, and granola bars in her car. Jen’s contributions range across many charitable organizations and her “pay it forward” attitude impacts groups of all different ages and backgrounds.

Donation made in Jennifer’s name to: Niagara Hospice

Active in the following organizations:
Adopt a Highway, Cradle Beach Camp, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Buffalo News Kids Day, North Tonawanda Athletic Association, Meals on Wheels, Red Cross, United Way


2017 Better Our Communities
Team Awards


Buffalo Bisons

Buffalo’s minor league baseball team created “Superhero Night” at the ballpark to benefit the Mental Health Association (MHA) and Compeer Buffalo.  A percentage of that night's ticket sales, 100 percent of donations collected on site, half of 50/50 ticket sales, proceeds from a commemorative jersey, and 100 percent of each superhero cape sold at the game were donated to MHA and Compeer. 

Team members: Buffalo Bisons staff


Green Turtle Restaurant and Kaiyo Restaurant

Just two days after Hurricane Irma, the teams at Green Turtle and Kaiyo Restaurants mobilized the “Green Machine,” their mobile catering kitchen, to bring more than 2,000 meals to the community. They also raised $1,500 in donations to aid local relief efforts. 

Team members: Terry Albury, Amanda Blamowski, Jesula Bontemps, Tony Bontemps, Islande Brutas, Jodi Clinton, Chris Frank, Nate Frier, Trish Knapp, Piotr Mihalciuc, Artur Monacu, Elana Monacu, Julie Ortch, Dave Rieser, Darryl Roberts, Warren Rogers, Kenly Turchetti, Ryan Wisely


Houston Relief Efforts Team

This team of Associates coordinated donations for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. They turned to their San Antonio community to donate clothing, food, furniture, and toys for Associates impacted by the hurricane. Their efforts did not end there - they continue to organize flood relief events to support those at the Rich’s Missouri City location get back on their feet.

Team members: Kim Claussen, Patrick Jackson, Wilson Riddle