Group celebrates National Philanthropy Day

WINCHESTER – Awards were presented to Mitchell Bartoldson, Ramon “Ray” A. Alvarez, and White House Foods for their philanthropic works in the community during an annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Friday.

Stephanie Landes, Tri-State chapter president-elect for the Association of Fundraising Professsionals, told volunteers and philanthropists at the luncheon that “It’s because of you that we are to meet the voids and the gaps in the community that wouldn’t be met otherwise.”

Mitchell Bartoldson was presented with the Youth in Philanthropy Award for his leadership in volunteer work through Martinsburg High School in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Bartoldson said, “I started community service when I was very young to give back to the community. It was amazing.”

“In high school I joined many service organizations and started to give back in a lot of different ways,” he added.

Bartoldson was nominated by Christina Johnson of Hospice of the Panhandle.

As part of the ceremony, an individual is recognized as being among the top philanthropists in the area.

Ray Alvarez won the Individual Philanthropist of the Year award, but was unable to attend the luncheon.

Alvarez is a graduate of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and a former top executive at Honeywell. The Alvarez family has also created a scholarship in memory of Alvarez’s sister.

He has been a member of the alumni association, Gridiron Club, and is a founding member of the annual donor leadership circle.

A video of Alvarez accepting his award was shown at the luncheon.

In the video, Alvarez said, “In my younger days I shied away from the term philanthropist because I thought it only applied to the very wealthy who made financial contributions.”

He added that he has since come to understand the broader sense of what being a philanthropist means.

Alvarez was nominated by Niccole Rolls of Shepherd University for his over 40 years of volunteer work and service to the school.

In addition to the youth and individual awards, a business is also recognized for its service to the community.

David and Paige Gum accepted the award for Corporate Philanthropist of the Year for their business White House Foods, a national fruit product company located in Winchester.

David Gum said, “We appreciate the recognition and award on behalf of the White House team who works extremely hard to ensure that we can give back to our community. It’s a very important culture in our company.”

White House Foods sponsors a special concert on the final Sunday of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival at the Winchester Church of God and all proceeds have gone toward Lord Fairfax Community College’s Great Expectations program for foster youth. The average gift is $30,000.

White House Foods also supports the United Service Organization and helped raise funds for the Winchester Medical Center’s campaign to build a new cancer center.

White House Foods was nominated by Lord Fairfax Community College.

Nineteen other individuals and businesses were also recognized as distinguished volunteers for their service to the community.

Barry Lee, of 92.5 WINC FM, was emcee for the event.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com