Who Are Pittsburgh's Young Philanthropists?
Nonprofit organizations are finding that Next-Gen donors crave opportunities to give of their time and talents as well as their dollars. Meet 12 young givers who are doing just that in Pittsburgh.
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photography by douglas duerring
Bonnie M. Mangold  & Jay R. Mangold Jr. 
Bonnie is an associate at Reed Smith LLP; Jay is an associate at Cohen & Grigsby, P.C.
Philanthropy means writing million-dollar checks and seeing your name on the side of a building, right?
No way, say Jay and Bonnie Mangold, founders and chairs of the Children’s Trust of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. Monetary support plays a part, they say, but so does giving of your time and talents.
Now at 150 members and growing, the trust engages emerging leaders in the Pittsburgh region through volunteerism and pooling funds to support talented, locally based researchers with annual research grants. In 2015, the trust at the end of its first year awarded a $40,000 grant to Dr. Dennis Simon of the Pediatric Critical Care Department at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC for research into traumatic brain injuries.
“People from this city — and the city itself — are world class,” says Jay. “We want to make it the best place it can be.”
People would be most surprised to know that the couple … met at an SAT and college prep program at Northeastern University while both were in high school; they’ve been together ever since.
Steve Sokoloski 
Advertising Sales, Comcast Spotlight
It’s never who you think it is.
That’s the thing with illiteracy, especially among adults: The image you’ve conjured up rarely matches the reality.
“[People lacking literacy skills] live right next door to you, or they work in your office,” says Steve Sokoloski, whose tenure as a Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council board member began in 2009 and inspired him to spearhead the development of Thrive, its Young Professionals Advisory Board.
Now nearing 30 members strong, Thrive embraces the council’s motto of “Better lives through learning” via fundraising and hands-on involvement.
“Everyone has a role in helping people in their community have access to education,” he says.
The book I will read over and over … “Onward” by Howard Schultz. It’s the story of how Starbucks bounced back, but it also shows you that if we don’t make mistakes, we really don’t advance.
Vanessa Thompson 
Grant and Community Outreach Manager, Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania
Vanessa Thompson says she found walking into the Allegheny County Jail for the first time to be really intimidating.
In fact, it remained intimidating for the first few times she went as part of a ministry outreach through her church, Living Way Christian Fellowship in East Hills.
“Now I love it,” she says. “It’s really empowering because I was able to overcome my fear and [know] that I’m giving someone else the gospel and hope,” she says.
As an alumnus of the first graduating class of The Pittsburgh Promise, volunteering is something she can’t imagine not doing.
“There’s been so much that has been given to me, I just feel a need to give back.”
When I look in the mirror, I see … An endless amount of opportunities, many waiting to be explored.