Marie Coffee is a long-time donor and volunteer for the Israel Idonije Foundation. In recognition of her continued support of the foundation, IIF asked her to reflect on her experiences as a volunteer for the Foundation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Marie Coffee, and I was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside side and currently reside in the Beverly area. I work for the law offices of Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP as the Facilities Manager and I have over 20 years of legal administration under my belt. I’ve been a member of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) for more than 15 years consecutively. I am currently the Community Relations Director for the ALA board.
How did you first hear about the Israel Idonije Foundation?
I previously served as the Co-Chair of Community Service on IFMA’s board of directors. While attending IFMA’s Annual Bowl-a-thon, Kelly Speck, and IIF board member, approached me and asked how IIF could become a beneficiary of the event in the future. After a quick conversation, Kelly and I coordinated a meeting with Israel Idonije to discuss the opportunity and the rest is history. I was instantly won over by the passion in which Izzy and Kelly spoke about the organization and even more moved that IIF targeted youth from the Roseland and Englewood communities where I had a special interest.
What event(s) have you volunteered at with IIF?
Since that first meeting in 2010, I've been involved in the Shop with a Cop event and the All-Star camps and I was able to coordinate a Bowl-a-thon and a Casino Night for my company where proceeds benefited IIF.
How was your experience? What was the best part of volunteering?
My first experience was the Shop with a Cop event in 2010 and I was moved beyond words. I saw first-hand the needs of the children and the love that they had for Izzy and he had for them. Those kids were overjoyed. The best part for me in volunteering was knowing that the work we were supporting as volunteers could forever change the behavior of a child.
What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer for the foundation?
I would encourage all adults but especially those who were once in a similar, economically challenging situation as a child. They will definitely see themselves in the eyes of these children and will recall that moment that something happened or someone influenced the way in which they saw the world.
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