Montblanc and DEPARTURES are pleased to announce the nine honorees in the Montblanc
"Great Characters" initiative. The accomplishments of these individuals—and their passion for giving
back to their communities—are illuminating and inspiring.
Each will be honored at a private fundraising reception at a Montblanc boutique in 2015,
with a portion of sales benefiting their designated charity.
The awardees were selected
from nearly 100 essays submitted by DEPARTURES readers nominating candidates for their
Adam Braun, New York
During a college visit to India, Adam Braun
met a boy begging on the street. "What
would you want most in the world?" he
asked. "A pencil," the child answered. That
simple request inspired Adam to start
Pencils of Promise.
Adam used his experience working at Bain
& Company to develop a "for-purpose"
approach for nonprofits, combining forprofit
business acumen with nonprofit
idealism. With $25, he founded Pencils
of Promise on his 25th birthday, in 2008.
Today the organization has helped build
over 250 schools around the world. As well
as being a sought-after speaker, Adam
wrote a best seller, Pencils of Promise.
PENCILS OF PROMISE
is a for-purpose
organization that builds schools, trains
teachers and funds scholarships. The
organization believes every child should
have access to quality education. Using the
for-purpose approach, PoP measures the
return on investment of every donor dollar
spent and covers operational costs through
funds raised through private donors,
companies and events.
Kristin Connor, Atlanta
At just one month, Kristin Connor's second
son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma,
an aggressive cancer that strikes infants
and young children. She has since dedicated
her life to addressing the suffering of
children and families due to childhood
cancer. In 2006, the budding lawyer left
her practice to become executive director
of CURE Childhood Cancer in Atlanta.
Kristin has led the development of
innovative and highly effective support
programs focusing on the critical and
urgent needs of patients and families. For
Kristin, this fight is personal, and her passion
inspires others and drives her and the
organization to succeed.
CURE CHILDHOOD CANCER
to conquering childhood cancer through
funding targeted research and support of
patients and their families. CURE Childhood
Cancer believes that childhood cancer
can be cured in our lifetime. Dr. Abdel
Ragab, Emory University's first pediatric
oncologist, founded the organization in
1975, recognizing the need for a dedicated
research program and support for families
facing childhood cancer.
Stephen Cushman, San Diego
Inspired by his father's community
commitment, Stephen Cushman is dedicated
to civic service, including serving on over
70 boards and commissions. The fourth generation
San Diegan began working at
nine, when his father gave him two delivery
routes of the family-owned paper. He's
worked ever since, including successful
careers in travel and automobiles.
The Cushman Family Foundation donates
millions to education and other causes. In
2011, former president Bill Clinton helped
announce the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego
Food Bank, in honor of the $1.76 million
donation and longstanding support of the two families.
SHARP MESA VISTA HOSPITAL
is one of the largest private behavioral health care providers in California. Since 1963, the San Diego hospital has treated more than 150,000 children and adults for mental illness and substance abuse. To meet increasing demand, Sharp Mesa Vista recently expanded its Senior Behavioral Health Center, enhanced its therapeutic gardens, and increased outpatient programming.
William Greehey, San Antonio
For Bill Greehey, infusing a caring culture
into business is central to good leadership.
NuStar Energy, where he's chairman, makes
the highest per capita contribution to the
United Way in the country.
His dedication doesn't stop at the office.
In 2003, Bill founded the Greehey Family
Foundation, which has issued more than
$100 million in charitable grants, including
$25 million to the University of Texas
Health Science Center to fund research
and treatment for children's cancer. In
2003, he founded Haven for Hope and
raised more than $100 million to build the
center, a national model in the fight against
HAVEN FOR HOPE
provides a holistic
system of care for the homelessness in
San Antonio. The organization's goal is to
address the root causes of homelessness
and help individuals transform their lives
and become self-sufficient on a long-term
basis. With a centralized campus along with
a partner network, Haven for Hope provides
temporary shelter, social services and a
variety of programs and activities.
Zachary Haroutunian, Boston
As a high school graduate, Zachary
Haroutunian founded ZRH Holdings,
specializing in financial services and real
estate, while studying for his university
In 2013, he and his family established
the Garbis & Arminé Barsoumian
Charitable Foundation to support cultural,
educational, religious, charitable and
scientific organizations that advance their
communities. He's a trustee and executive
director. Zachary is also on the Board of
Overseers of the Celebrities series of Boston
and is the youngest board member in the
organization's history. An accomplished
pianist, he identifies with its mission to
enrich lives through the performing arts.
CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON
year from October to May, the Celebrity
Series presents more than 50 multicultural
and international artists and performing
ensembles to audiences in the greater
Boston area. Since 1958, the series has
mounted the Boston debuts of such eminent
artists as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater,
Yo-Yo Ma, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Emmanuel
Ax and Leontyne Price.
Florence Jameson, Las Vegas
Dr. Florence Jameson's goal, that no one
lack access to healthcare, stems from her
childhood. When her father was in prison,
her mother struggled to provide for the
family. A local physician offered to care for
them regardless of compensation. Florence
vowed to pay it forward someday.
Florence earned a medical degree and
opened a practice in Las Vegas. Later, she
founded a clinic for incarcerated young girls
who might otherwise have no medical care
and helped start Volunteers in Medicine of
Southern Nevada, a free clinic that provides
medical services to the uninsured.
VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA
Founded in 2008, Volunteers in
Medicine of Southern Nevada opened its
first clinic in January 2010. VMSN provides
preventive healthcare and care for individuals
and families who might otherwise be
neglected and cares for the chronically ill.
Comprising of a volunteer workforce of more
than 450 doctors, nurses, medical personnel
and support staff, VMSN has treated more
than 2,300 patients over some 5,500
Mark Kaufman, Chicago
In 1991, Mark Kaufman founded Athletico
to offer outpatient physical therapy, sports
medicine and rehabilitative care, serving
professional sports teams, dance companies,
universities and high schools in the Chicago
area. He understands firsthand the value of
personal treatment and integrating healthy
practices into daily life.
Mark has been a board member of Big
Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago
for 12 years, serving as board chair for four
years. He's a founding member of the board
of directors of Operation Walk Chicago and is
active with many health- and medical-related
organizations, and the Chicago Fire Advisory
THE BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO
's mission is
to empower at-risk youth by providing lifechanging
one-to-one mentoring to enable
lifelong success. It currently serves some
1,700 youth facing adversity with positive,
caring, screened-and-trained adult mentors.
In 2013, 100 percent of its high school, seniors
graduated from high school with 100
percent attending college or a trade school.
Lee Klein, Miami
Since helping establish the Children's Cancer
Caring Center in 1965, Lee Klein has worked
tirelessly as the non-salaried chairman and
CEO of the all-volunteer organization.
An indispensable resource, the center is
the only free treatment center for cancerstricken
children in the southeastern U.S.
Lee personally maintains each patient's
financial records, attends to medical bills
for uninsured and under-insured patients,
and develops and oversees the CCCC's
services and programs, including camps and
special events. Through her work, she forges
emotional bonds with the children and their
families—meaningful connections that last
long after treatment.
CHILDREN'S CANCER CARING CENTER
is an all-volunteer organization that raises
funds and enlists other resources to support
a total-care program for children afflicted
with cancer. It offers services and programs
at no cost to help alleviate the suffering and
anguish of these children and their families,
and educates the general public on the
profound needs of childhood cancer patients.
Jim Ziolkowski, Stamford
Jim Ziolkowski is the guiding force of
buildOn, the organization he founded in
1991 to harness the power of education to
combat poverty around the world. During
a trek to the Himalayas after college, the
celebration of a school opening amid
a region of extreme impoverishment
profoundly moved him. Two years later,
he quit his corporate finance job to found
buildOn. The organization built its first
school a year later in Malawi. Ziolkowski
moved to Harlem to better understand the
challenges facing American urban youth.
The passionate leader recounts his story in
his bestseller "Walk in Their Shoes."
At home or abroad, buildOn's goal
is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy
and low expectations through service
and education. Across the U.S., buildOn
empowers urban youth to transform their
neighborhoods through intensive community
service. It hopes to help change the world by
building schools in some of the economically
poorest countries. Since 1991, buildOn has
constructed 736 schools worldwide.