For the Slifka family, finding solutions for people living with chronic illness has been a longstanding and shared commitment. Richard Slifka and his late brother Fred had their first experience with MS as children when their mother, Sonya, was first diagnosed. The impact of her illness on the family generated a great sense of compassion and responsibility for others in her sons.
Richard Slifka has served as a passionate and generous volunteer leader for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society since 1981, and Richard and Fred have impacted lives worldwide through their support of groundbreaking research and critical initiatives. One example is their critical role in the launch of the Sonya Slifka Longitudinal Study, named after their mother, which integrates the clinical information, health-care practices and socio-economic data of 2,000 people with MS to track their disease course over time and address a variety of research questions.
As philanthropic-minded businessmen, Richard and Fred found great value for their company, Global Partners, LP, to also support the movement to create a world free of MS. The company has sponsored numerous Society fundraising events and has leveraged its business relationships to bring significant support to the table.
“Helping the Society help people with MS was natural for me and for Fred, because we saw firsthand the impact MS had on our mother,” said Richard.
The family’s next generation of leaders, including Richard’s son, Andrew, and Fred’s son, Eric, have now moved into positions of responsibility within Global Partners. Andrew is the Executive Vice President of Global Partners, and President, Gasoline Distribution and Station Operations, and Eric is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Partners. They are following the example their parents set by driving philanthropic support for multiple sclerosis as well as cystic fibrosis. To manage and advance the full scope of ongoing fundraising activities for both multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis, the family formed the CFMS Fund Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.
Global Partners’ Alltown, a growing chain of convenience stores and gasoline stations, is also helping to advance the foundation’s mission. Alltown regularly runs campaigns in its stores to encourage its customers to make donations to the CFMS Fund, which in turn generates awareness and understanding for both diseases at the same time that it raises significant financial resources.
The passion that the Slifka family members have for philanthropy is clear in their roles as leadership volunteers; as individuals who make significant gifts, participate in events and engage others; and as businessmen who ensure their companies are good corporate citizens.
“Philanthropy is something that we just do,” said Andrew. “Through example, my father and uncle taught Eric and me the value of generosity and the rewards that come with it."
In Richard’s words, “Seeing my son, Andrew, and my nephew, Eric, take on the cause as their own is a very rewarding feeling, because it means the work will continue and people’s lives will be changed.”