The Regional Director of Catholic Charities Communities Services (CCCS), Tom Egan wants people to know “There is always a role for people to play in the community--whatever your talent or calling, volunteering is something we should all do in our lives!” Tom himself is involved with many nonprofits. “I just can’t seem to say ‘no’” he laughs.
Tom became associated with Catholic Charities in 1999. “I have a background as a marriage and family therapist. Since I have been a child welfare advocate, I was looking for a position where I could work with families and children. After working with children and families for a while, I found my niche was in administration and organization. So the position at CCCS has been a good fit for me.”
Arriving in Phoenix after he was done with graduate school, Tom admits, “I was really looking for somewhere that had a more temperate climate than where I grew up near Buffalo, NY. I am thrilled with being in Arizona, because you don’t have to shovel HOT!” He adds, “We can do so much in 300 days of sunshine! My wife and I enjoy hiking and riding bikes, and in hot weather we just hang out in the pool!”
One nonprofit Tom is associated with is Bridging Arizona Furniture Bank (Bridging AZ). “I’ve known the founder, Jim Piscopo, ever since I’ve been in Phoenix. Four or five years ago Jim just walked away from his full-time job to establish Bridging AZ, and then he asked me to join the board of the nonprofit. I’ve been able to help him with the HOW to go about establishing projects and maintaining the vision of the group. ”Our mission is to provide basic furniture and household goods to individuals and families in need.
Interfaith Community Services was one man’s vision for people to volunteer together for the betterment of nonprofits. As Tom explains, “Most religions have a common version of the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Our goal is to increase volunteerism and interfaith dialog/respect by engaging the interfaith community to volunteer together. I have been with this organization since 2007."
The Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) also operates a National Human Trafficking taskforce that Tom is dedicated to. “People are being exploited, even here in Phoenix. Last year we found 400 kids who were being forced into prostitution. We are committed to ending this horror.”
Tom also serves on the board of the Humane LINK taskforce, whose mission is to educate people, especially those employed as first responders, that there is a direct link between animal abuse and child/elder abuse.
How does Tom Egan maintain a positive attitude through all the wrenching problems he witnesses? “I look at our successes and it energizes me to make a difference. I know I can’t solve all the world’s problems, but I’ve come to see that working together we accomplish so much!”
What are your volunteer activities? Primarily serving on boards, coalitions and taskforces: Humane LINK coalition, Bridging AZ Furniture Bank board member, Interfaith Community Services, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) Management and Administration steering committee and CCUSA Human Trafficking Taskforce.
Which social event is your favorite? Catholic Charities Annual Awards Dinner.
Favorite restaurant? Different Pointe of View
Who is your hero and why? I don’t know if I have any heroes, but I admire Bill Gates as a leader. As the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, he has obviously displayed great business acumen and intellectual prowess. Despite his accomplishments in the business arena, he is equally well known for his leadership and courage in his charitable pursuits. He has given of his time, talents and treasures and has influenced others to join him in making a difference in the world.
Bill Gates has donated vast amounts of money to myriad charitable organizations. He recently announced he would walk away from his day-to-day job and run the Gates Foundation with his wife, Melinda. This will be one of the largest foundations in the world and will focus on public health, public education and at-risk families. I admire a man at the pinnacle of the business world who can see that we all have responsibility to our fellow world citizens, especially those in need.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Vince Vaughn
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Will Smith
What gives a woman/man style? Self confidence
Do you have any Pets? One, a black Labrador named Calvin.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? Pride of ownership and that I trust my wife's wonderful sense of color and style.
What's the best lesson you're learned through the years? Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Honest, outgoing, considerate.
What was your first job? Busboy at Schwabel's Restaurant in West Seneca, NY.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Intolerance
What is your greatest indulgence? Chocolate
What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? Greatest gift I have given is volunteering my time, talent and treasure to Bridging AZ Furniture Bank. Greatest gift I have received is a decorative samurai sword that my mother gave me that she brought with her from Japan.
What is your current state of mind? Happy
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Giving back to the community
What is your most treasured possession? Photo albums of family and friends
What is the quality you most like in people? Honesty
Favorite books / Writers? Good to Great by Jim Collins
What is the best advice you have ever received? This too shall pass