Fresh off of their 33rd wedding anniversary, Donna and Alvaro de Molina are planning to walk down another aisle later this month - but this time it’s a runway! The couple is part of the Social Butterfly Campaign for RunningWorks’ Metamorphosis: The Art of Giving fashion show fundraiser.
It’s a fitting way to honor their anniversary, as philanthropy and community have been a consistent value in their family. Since arriving in Charlotte in 1989, they have been passionately involved in the development of our city and, whether they’ll admit it or not, have played key roles in elevating Charlotte’s business, arts, and nonprofit communities.
Help them reach $33,000 for their 33rd anniversary by contributing to their RunningWorks campaign!
You are “Social Butterfly Mentors" for RunningWorks Metamorphosis Gala. How did you get involved with RunningWorks and why is it important to you?
Our intro to RunningWorks was due to a combination of events. Serving as context, we were fully aware of the issues surrounding homelessness and upward mobility that Charlotte was facing as a community. We were considering how we might help in some small way. As luck would have it, we were introduced to a force of nature named Meredith Dolhare, the founder of RunningWorks. Meredith is an accomplished athlete (ultra marathoner) with a totally selfless personality. Not only does Meredith give unconditionally and full time to the RunningWorks clients but she does so while taking ZERO compensation.
We are always interested in finding ways to help organizations or people help themselves. RunningWorks fits that objective perfectly. Those that engage with RunningWorks EARN their way to assistance of various forms through bringing rigor into their lives. The model builds on success and thereby, importantly, allows for dignity and pride in accomplishment.
Meredith asked us to be involved in the mentoring program and their annual gala and the opportunity was too intriguing to pass up. Also, we were afraid to say NO to Meredith.
You both are involved in so many community efforts and organizations - how do you decide what to say ‘yes’ to when it comes to your time and gifts?
Well that is difficult to do. First of all, we don’t let our particular passions play too big a role. As mentioned above, we like to help people help themselves as we believe that this is a better way to build sustainable results.
We feel so blessed to have made Charlotte our home. We are always interested in causes that deal with particular challenges that the city may be facing (in this case homelessness and upward mobility). Also, we try to help in areas that continue to make Charlotte a great place to live and work (the arts, for instance).
Finally, we like to find ways to leverage the relationships we have. Charlotte is full of wonderful, giving people that want to help others. We can help by finding synergies and encouraging collaboration.
Those criteria present plenty of opportunity to get involved.
What local effort are you most passionate about right now?
Obviously we are focused on RunningWorks in particular and we are interested in finding opportunities to help with the issue off homelessness and upward mobility more generally. Of course, this does not lessen the needs of the organizations we have been involved with over the years. We serve or have served on several boards in the community including Allegro Foundation, Carolina Thread Trail, Center City Partners, Charlotte Ballet, Foundation For The Carolinas, Opera Carolina and others.
Philanthropy and community seem to be such a large part of your lives. How did you attempt to cultivate that same spirit in your children?
Influencing our children is always a high priority for us. Just like in any area of parenting, setting the example works best. We have been fortunate that our children seem to be quite interested in helping others. That may be true of their whole generation, it certainly feels that way. Our kids have all been involved, to varying degrees, in the Allegro Foundation which helps children with developmental challenges. We made the point with them, again, through example, that just because our family was blessed, doesn’t lessen the needs of others. We have been impressed with the passion with which our kids have embraced the issues of social and racial injustice and those revolving around our planet earth. Frankly, we constantly learn from all three of our kids in these areas and others.
We are big champions of local philanthropy. In that vein, what are some of your favorite local businesses?
We feel blessed to have been brought to Charlotte by Bank of America. We learned from the McColl family and so many others of the importance of supporting our own community. This is not limited to the arts and social services but includes all those that make Charlotte better or a more competitive city. This includes local businesses. There are too many to name, and we don’t want to risk missing one. So, suffice it to say that when there is a local choice, we will strongly consider making it.