Mercy Home for Boys & Girls
Chicago-area businessman Perry Mandera owns and operates the freight transportation business The Custom Companies, Inc. Through his business foundation, Perry Mandera gives to numerous charities, including the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.
Together with volunteers from AkzoNobel, a paint company, the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls recently promoted sustainability initiatives through a gardening project at its Hay Campus. The volunteers and Mercy Home workers and residents joined together to rejuvenate the garden with the planting of vegetables and flowers.
Helping a community reduce its carbon footprint and move toward greater self-sufficiency is an important goal of the project, said Alison Kalantzis, AkzoNobel’s North American Communications Coordinator. In addition, the gardening project, named Green Thumbs for a Greener World, helps educate the young residents of Mercy Home about the value of social responsibility and sustainable practices. Often, these initiatives are focused on children from more affluent backgrounds, but Mercy Home is helping to spread the sustainability message further, said Kalantzis.
Jesse White Tumblers
Perry Mandera founded The Custom Companies, Inc., in 1986, and continues to oversee all facets of the business. A supporter of multiple philanthropic organizations, Perry Mandera sits on the Board of Directors of the Jesse White Tumblers.
With almost a 60-year history, the Jesse White Tumblers seeks to provide a positive outlet for youth living in inner-city neighborhoods, keeping them away from drugs, alcohol, and gangs while inspiring them to stay in school and keep up their grades. With 1,500 performances each year, these talented youth have performed on television, in movies, and in countries around the world.
The Jesse White Tumblers have seven separate teams. Some have performed in Hong Kong, Bermuda, Belize, Japan and Croatia in the past. They also perform at local sporting events and charity functions, to continue the spirit of giving back.
The Tumblers are supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and donors, Training and uniforms are free to all accepted participants.
Walter and Connie Payton Foundation
Since 1986, The Custom Companies, Inc., and its founder, Perry Mandera, have provided high-quality, customer-focused transportation and shipping options for clients across North America. Ranked among the Illinois Transportation Association’s Top 100 American Transportation Executives of the Millennium in the year 2000, Perry Mandera continues to focus his Chicago-based company on efficiency and customer service.
The company additionally takes an active role in its community, contributing corporate support to a variety of charitable causes. These include the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation, which works to uplift vulnerable members of society and assist them in maintaining dignity and personal pride in achievement.
The WCPF, also based in the Chicago area, is a tribute to the late football legend Walter Payton, nicknamed “Sweetness” for his kind and generous personality. The record-setting Chicago Bears player was also known for his philanthropy, and established the foundation, to concentrate on the needs of underserved children, a year before his death in 1999.
Today, the foundation oversees a holiday toy drive, a school supply drive, and numerous other humanitarian projects that benefit Chicago communities. Its annual “Sweetness” Run, a 5K and 8K run-walk, is sponsored by, among other organizations, the Chicago Bears and The Custom Companies.
Walter & Connie Payton Foundation
As founder and president of The Custom Companies, Inc., Perry Mandera directs a Chicago company that provides dedicated transportation services spanning the nation. Over the decades, Perry Mandera has grown his business to encompass more than 600 employees. His firm maintains a strong community focus and supports the efforts of the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, which assists the less fortunate.
One major initiative of the foundation is an annual holiday toy drive. With volunteers stationed at the entrance to Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, football fans are encouraged to drop off unused, unwrapped gifts in their original packaging, to be distributed to children statewide. The Annual Holiday Gift Giving Program also works in partnership with institutions such as the Chicago Heights establishment Club 390.
This foundation initiative is complemented by a back-to-school supply drive that involves sorting and filling backpacks for children. Through these coordinated efforts, some 14,000 in-need children are reached annually, enriching their young lives.