Leaving A Legacy of Love
Volunteering is less a labor of love for Jerry Dietz ’75 as it is a legacy of love. Over decades living in Ithaca, Jerry and his wife, Judy Schapiro Dietz ’76, left their mark on scores of local nonprofits. When Judy passed away in 2012, it seemed fitting to Jerry that her efforts continue.
Their AIDS Ride for Life, launched in 1999 to benefit patient support groups, attracts 500 cyclists a year and has raised more than $2 million. The couple also helped coordinate Taste of the Nation Ithaca, now in its 25th year, raising $50,000 annually to end childhood hunger.
“[The Just Be Cause Not-for-Profit Development Center] is a wonderful community resource. I could never have imagined that it could become what it has—and it’s inextricably linked to Judy.”
Judy was president of Friendship Donations Network (FDN), which redistributes donations to food pantries. Judy had bemoaned the group’s lack of a home base, so he decided to find them one in her honor.
Hearing that the downtown Women’s Community Building was going to be demolished, Jerry expanded his plan so that the space he found could house multiple organizations.
Now, a year after opening, the Just Be Cause Not-for-Profit Development Center is home to five local nonprofits, including FDN, and another 40 use the space for meetings, classes, and events. “It’s a wonderful community resource,” says Jerry. “I could never have imagined that it could become what it has—and it’s inextricably linked to Judy.”
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