For the first time in our magazine’s 17-year history, Capital Region Living is honoring the five people in the local nonprofit and charity orbit that we feel are at the apex of the giving game. (Five others are being honored on the Saratoga Living side to make it an even 10.) There’s no doubt that if there ever was a perfect time to honor the region’s top givers, it would be right now, at the end of this year, when there was so much need.
These five individuals couldn’t be giving at a more crucial moment in time. The pandemic has tried and failed to send them off course; they’ve forged ahead, working longer hours to break new ground and keep their respective organizations afloat.
We’re hoping that, besides reading their wonderful stories within the pages of this magazine, you will feel equally compelled to support them in their causes. A great place to start? At our hybrid virtual-live Capital Region Gives Back event, which takes place on December 10. (To get tickets, click here.)
Who are these five supreme do-gooders? Allow us to introduce you to our 2020 Capital Region Gives Back honorees.
For Patti Veitch, her work on the board of directors at Gateway House of Peace begins and ends with family. She first heard about it while caring for her own elderly parents. “After my father and mother had passed, I thought, now I’m going to contact them and hear all about it,” she says. Veitch has been with Gateway House for seven years now.
For the uninitiated, Gateway House of Peace runs a quaint, two-story residential-style home in Ballston Spa, which hosts up to two terminally ill patients (that number has been scaled back to one because of the pandemic) already under hospice care, providing them with all of the creature comforts one might require in the final months of his or her life. Residents are usually older but sometimes arrive heart-wrenchingly young. That was the case when 35-year-old Lisa Emery, who had been stricken with a rare form of cancer, arrived there in 2016. Emery, it turned out, was a big fan of ’90s sitcom Friends, and by sheer coincidence, Veitch’s brother-in-law, Kevin Bright, had executive produced and directed episodes of the show. “I thought, maybe he would just come and meet her—it would mean a lot to her,” says Veitch. Bright jumped at the opportunity, visiting and calling Emery regularly. Bright and his wife, Claudia Wilsey Bright (Veitch’s sister), have since become major financial supporters of the organization.
While the Gateway House is certainly resident-focused, it provides support to residents’ families, too. “I really love meeting with the families and seeing the impact we have on them,” says Veitch. Some relatives of patients have been so moved by the experience that they’ve later joined the charity’s board. “There’s a lot going on in that little house,” says Veitch. Yes, there is—a lot of love.