Friday, October 7, 2011

Tramuto Foundation Observes 10th Anniversary

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

The Tramuto Foundation observed its 10th anniversary on Saturday, October 1 at the Beachmere Inn, to raise funds for its far-flung work.
More than 200 people showed up at the celebration that included a silent auction, and over $150,000 was raised.
“I’m just numbed,” Donato Tramuto, chairman of the Ogunquit Select Board and creator of the foundation, said in a telephone interview this week. “I knew we were going into it with a lot of momentum and lot of success, but this just beat my expectations.”
The foundation was established in 2001, following the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York. Tramuto had planned to be on Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center, but made a last-minute decision to get on an earlier flight.
His close friends, Dan Brandhorst and his partner, Ron Gamboa, and their three-year old son, lost their lives in that crash. The foundation was established three weeks later.
The foundation provides grants to help youths with special challenges overcome adversity and build the confidence necessary to achieve personal excellence.
“We’re still counting, checks are still pouring in,” Tramuto said. “This is just really amazing. It says a lot about Ogunquit. It says a lot about the community.”
Honored at this year’s celebration were the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights represented by Kerry Kennedy; The Ogunquit Playhouse, represented by creative director Brad Kenney; The President Mary Jane England Scholarship at Regis College represented by Dr. England; The Iris Network represented by James R. Phipps, and the foundation itself.
The funds raised will allow the foundation to continue its work.
“We’ll be able to do wonderful things in third world countries, but also make a real difference in the local communities,” Tramuto said. “We will continue our commitment to the Regis College nursing program, where we give scholarships to needy students.
“We started the Ogunquit Playhouse hearing device program, which will now be extended and expanded and allow for sign language at each show.”
The successful fund-raiser will also allow continued support of the Iris Network, he said, a nonprofit group that helps visually impaired or blind people attain independence.
“The remaining dollars will flow into my foundation,” he said, “helping children get scholarships to go to college.”
“We’re basically about doing small things to help people do big things,” he concluded. “A big congratulations to everyone involved.”
As a child, Tramuto, founder, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive Holding LLC, struggled with severe hearing loss. He overcame the obstacles to become a leader in the healthcare industry, elected official in Ogunquit, and board member serving on several prestigious boards.
He is passionate about inspiring others to realize their own dreams through dedication and hard work.
Other causes and organizations the foundation has helped in addition to those honored this year include Maine Special Olympics, Cambodia - The Sharing Foundation, Leukemia Society, Katrina, 3 Family’s, Walden Street School Foundation, Windbrush Farm, state of Maine Foster Children Program, AIDS Seacoast Foundation, American Diabetes Association, The Friends Project, Frannie Peabody Center, Seacoast Hospice, Camp Sunshine, Gastro-Intestinal Research, Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, and more.
(Molly McCoy contributed to this report)
Photo caption: Donato J. Tramuto, creator of the Tramuto Foundation, led a recent community fundraiser event, which has raised more than $150,000 to help a variety of charitable organizations. (Courtesy photo)