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Those Who Do... Annie & Sal Tomasello A nnie and Sal Tomasello are well-known personalities in Gilroy. The are often seen enjoying retirement and helping out with a variety of causes. Annie and Sal have been on the local education scene for a long time. Together they have more than 75 years of educational experience. Annie began her career as a bilingual aide and went on to hold a variety of positions in programs for at-risk students, crisis response, and for five years overseeing the First Five program of the Gilroy Unified School District. Sal started out teaching, coaching and serving as principal at the secondary school level and went on to become a director at the district level. Along the way they had two children, Mark and Melissa. Annie was born in Gilroy while Sal was born in San Francisco and moved to Gilroy in 1959. They have known each other since 7 th grade catechism class at St Mary’s, began dating in their junior year of high school, and got married in 1969. In their household two things and education. Today in retirement they continue their strong commitment to education. As founding members of the Latino Family Fund de Gilroy, one of the donor-directed funds of the Gilroy Foundation, they are very involved in the Youth in Philanthropy and Leadership Program. The Latino Family Fund (LFF) currently has over $100,000 in assets and has distributed over $25,000 in grants since its inception in 2006. Annie chairs the Committee that reviews the grant proposals and recommends the awards. Sal has chaired the annual Tequila Tasting fundraiser in May. The LFF has attracted notice in the South County area and is experiencing growth in membership and assets. Last year the LFF was honored by Community Agency for Resources Advocacy and Services (CARAS) with the Community Champions Award and by the YMCA of Silicon Valley‘s Project Cornerstone Initiative with the Community Values Youth Award. The Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) is currently active with twenty-five students at both Solosano and South Valley Middle Schools. Youth selected for the project are capable students Written By Larry J. Mickartz who show leadership potential. They attend training sessions throughout the year. The LFF gives YIP grant money which the students are to distribute. To date, the students have distributed $7,000. The students assess needs, seek applications from local non-profits, evaluate the proposals and select the recipients. Several times in the last few years the students found more than one worthy project and raised additional funds on their own to fund a second grant. Plans are in place to expand the Youth in Philanthropy and Leadership Program to Brownell Middle School, as well as Gilroy and Christopher High Schools. The second component of the YIP project is leadership. The training sessions devote time to leadership qualities and activities. Fifty YIP students recently traveled to Microsoft Silicon Valley to understand Microsoft’s philanthropic activities. Annie and Sal get really animated when they talk about the potential and energy of this group of students. They are both involved in the leadership training and mentoring activities with the students. Annie and Sal some how find the time to do more. Sal is involved in a program to mentor and coach new school administrators in Gilroy. He also sits on the Board of the Gilroy Foundation. Annie is involved with the Youth Board and Grants Committee of the Gilroy Foundation after previously serving on the Board of Directors for six years. She also sits on the Personnel Commission for the City of Gilroy, the Gilroy Hall of Fame committee and was recently selected to the Board of the Saint Louise Regional Hospital Foundation. In 2013 Annie and Sal co-chaired the Gilroy Foundation “Day in the Country” event, which raised $57,000. Family is important to Annie and Sal. So much so that Sundays are family pasta night at their home. The gathering often brings kids, grandkids, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Their beautiful home is the “go to” place for grandkids, family and friends. Even in retirement, Annie and Sal are people who do! Sal and Annie (left end) with YIP middle school students — Latino Family Fund’s visit in December 2016 to Microsoft. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 99