Hope Loves Company has new roles on Board of Directors; provides eight scholarships to students impacted by ALS

Hope Loves Company completed its sixth camp in New Jersey on May 20. (Courtesy photo)

As 2021 came to a close, Hope Loves Company (HLC) hosted its annual public board meeting where members reviewed the organization’s impact and financial performance for 2021, shared the board-approved 2022 objectives, and gave an overview of the long-term strategy. 

HLC is the only non-profit and 501c (3) in the United States with the mission of providing both emotional and educational support to children and young adults who have or had a loved one battling ALS. 

In 2021, HLC hosted six Camp HLC’s for 233 participants from 22 states, sent 250 Hugs of Hope packages to 30 states, facilitated 27 virtual group shares and meet-and-greets with families from 12 states, awarded eight Young Ambassador scholarships to applicants from five states, and hosted one Virtual Family Fun Day. 

The Board of Directors is now led by Gary Bachrach, who was elected the new president. He is executive director of Business Development, Home Care at The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest accrediting body in healthcare.

According to a press release, over the last few years, Bachrach has worked to support HLC’s mission, raising awareness, fundraising, recruiting new board members and, most recently, serving as vice president of the board. 

In this new role, Bachrach takes over for Tracey Vasile, who has impacted the growth of HLC as president of the board for the past three years. 

“It has truly been an honor and a pleasure being a member of HLC’s Board of Directors. Since joining the board in 2016 following the passing of my close friend from ALS, I have had the opportunity to meet so many families and children during my time with HLC,” Vasile said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing those friendships and will always be a supporter and advocate for this incredibly impactful organization.”

Vasile added that while leaving the role is bittersweet, she cannot think of a better and more passionate person than Bachrach to serve as the new president.

“Since joining the board, he has been an incredibly engaged, energetic and devoted advocate for HLC as well as the children and their families,” Vasile said in the statement. “In addition to his compassion, Gary also brings a great deal of business acumen to the role which will be key in leading HLC to successfully execute on its long-term strategic plan.”

Bachrach is “honored to lead HLC and carry on for Tracey, whose dedication and leadership made a difference to so many,” according to the statement.

“Until I volunteered at HLC’s first Chicago area camp with my family, I never realized how children were affected by an adult’s ALS diagnosis,” he said in the statement. “The work we do for families is so meaningful and I am proud to be part of such an incredibly impactful organization.”

Joining Paul Grote, who is continuing as treasurer of the board, HLC welcomes two new members to the Executive Board: Richard Sperry as vice president and Phil Calamia as secretary. 

In addition to hearing testimonials from campers, supporters and volunteers, HLC announced the winners of its two signature scholarship programs, the Susan B. Anderson Scholarship and the Sara E.K. Cooper Scholarship.

In all, eight students impacted by ALS were awarded a scholarship to help fund their continuing education. 

Titusville’s Jodi O’Donnell-Ames founded the nonprofit after losing her husband to ALS. 

HLC offers various programs and resources, all at no cost, to children, young adults, and families affected by ALS. Some of these programs include Camp HLC, a three-day weekend retreat where campers enjoy recreational activities while learning coping skills and receiving much-needed support.

They also provide Hugs of Hope care packages, which include a Camp HLC T-shirt, stuffed animal, children’s book, and signed card from the HLC team, educational materials and children’s books, Family Fun Days, and more.

For more information about Hope Loves Company, visit www.hopelovescompany.org. 

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