Partners in Caring

A few members of Brown’s ShopRite Fox Street store. Photo: Bryan Lathrop

In the realm of charitable events and community support, sponsors can be pivotal in ensuring the success and impact of an initiative. Such is the case for PHL24 this year, thanks to the generosity of Brown’s ShopRite assuming the role of title sponsor. Brown’s isn’t just a financial supporter; their partnership has been a driving force behind Legacy of Hope’s success in reducing food insecurity in Philadelphia’s oncology population.  

These days Legacy of Hope’s Emergency Patient Support Network gets referrals to bring fresh, healthy food to approximately 20 families a week. So it’s hard to believe that four years back they struggled to get groceries to only four families a week. But that was the case. “We’d picked the wrong partners.” says Legacy President, Mike Rowe. “The outcomes in the beginning were so bad that the Emergency Patient Support Network was almost dead before it even started; and then I met with Paul Brauer, President and Chief Operations Officer of Brown’s ShopRite (super stores). I explained how the other vendor couldn’t seem to get it right and Paul told me Brown’s could handle it. The rest is history.” 

Brown’s is a part of Wakefern Food Corporation, the largest co-op in the country, which has 51 different member groups, of which Brown’s is one member group. Member groups own anywhere from one to thirty stores. Brown’s has twelve—ten ShopRites and two Fresh Grocers. Most importantly, six of Brown’s ShopRites are in Philly, in areas that would be food deserts without their presence. 

Paul Brauer, Chief Operations Officer for Brown’s ShopRite. Photo: Bryan Lathrop

Brauer reflects on his initial meeting with Rowe. “Our mission is to bring joy to the lives of the people we serve. We’re in the grocery business, but we have more purpose. We provide employment for around 2300 Philadelphians. Our Philly stores are generally located in tougher, lower income areas where people have needs besides just access to fresh food. But beyond providing access to fresh food, we learned in our communities that there’s a lot of other issues. The bells went off when I met Mike and learned what he was doing with Legacy of Hope and how their work ties directly into our mission. We’re certainly equipped to handle Legacy of Hope’s needs. We have a great team that shops these orders every day. Our team is so excellent that they get it done without me having to worry about it. I only get involved when once in a blue moon there’s some kind of issue or concern. For example, the supply chain issues that made it impossible to get certain products during COVID. A bigger challenge was when our Parkside and Fox Street stores sustained heavy damage during the BLM protests in the summer of 2020.” Brauer recalls “We couldn’t get back in for a couple days, but when we did, I was the first one in. I walked in and there’s a ton of people in the store. And I’m thinking ‘maybe this isn’t over yet.’ It turns out that the people inside were our neighbors and customers; they were sweeping and cleaning up. It was emotional, because these are the people that we’re here for. Naysayers asked ‘Why would you ever redo this and open again here? It’s too difficult and it’s too tough.’ Our reply is simple, these are the people we serve and we stand by them.” With all hands on deck, Brown’s employees and their neighbors not only helped get the Parkside store back up and running in only seven days. Even more impressive, Brown’s team got the deliveries out to Legacy’s patients despite the chaos created by the upheaval. 

Neither the pandemic, nor damaged stores kept Brown’s ShopRite from getting grocery orders to our patients. Volunteers also played a critical role keeping things moving. Photo: Bryan Lathrop

“That’s what’s cool about the neighborhood. It’s important that we’re connected to that two mile circle around us, that we understand the needs of the neighbors.” says Brauer. 

Since that initial meeting between Brauer and Rowe, Brown’s ShopRite has been the clutch player in helping to get a staggering amount of healthy, fresh food to cancer patients in Philly: enough food for nearly 400,000 meals provided to 2380 cancer patients (5918 people total, if you count their families).

Partnership within a partnership—Brown’s ShopRite and the Philadelphia Police. Nia (left) of the Shop from Home team routinely goes above and beyond fulfilling orders for Legacy of Hope. Officer Fitzgerald stops in to pickup orders for delivery. Photo: Bryan Lathrop

There are lots of moving parts to the operation which has become a well-oiled machine. It started with Melissa Denton, an oncology nutritionist at Jefferson Hospital, who several years ago developed a grocery list specifically for cancer patients. This standard order, with occasional exceptions dependent on circumstances, goes to Brown’s Shop-From-Home team who gathers  fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs and dry goods,  and prepares the grocery bags for pickup by volunteers and the Philadelphia Police (officers make upwards of 90% of the grocery deliveries). Chief Inspector Altovise Love-Craighead was instrumental in getting the Emergency Patient Support Network off the ground. Love-Craighead shared Legacy’s vision for creating a new city-wide system of providing food to families in need across the city. Deliveries have recently expanded to Camden, where Brown’s plays the same critical role. 

Brauer shares that “Brown’s is different because of its willingness to operate in food deserts.   We’re a major exception to that rule.” Brauer explains “We want our customers to walk into any of our stores and not be able to tell if they’re in King of Prussia, West Philly or North Philly. People deserve that kind of experience. But a lot of the supermarket companies absolutely won’t do it. And [when they don’t] you end up with food deserts, or just lousy stores–dirty, high-price corner stores with no fresh food.” 

Officer Washington picks up orders from Brown’s ShopRite Island Avenue for delivery. Photo: Bryan Lathrop

“Legacy of Hope’s mission to help people that are in a really vulnerable spot just makes all the sense in the world. It’s a timely idea and a great program that brings to light that, even though we’re doing a great deal of good, there’s much more to be done. Legacy does great work  helping cancer patients, but it really makes you think about all these other folks that can’t just jump in a car and get somewhere and get food.” 

In an era marked by rapid change and uncertainty, the power of community partnerships stands as a beacon of hope and resilience. The partnership between Legacy of Hope and Brown’s ShopRite Super Stores exemplifies how collaboration can improve the quality of life for some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents, food insecure cancer patients. It is a testament to the incredible impact that can be achieved when organizations unite for a common purpose. 

In an era where corporate social responsibility is more important than ever, Brown’s ShopRite stands out as a beacon of generosity. Their role as the title sponsor for PHL24 is a testament to their unwavering commitment to creating positive change in Philadelphia; and it shows that when a business chooses to be a force for good, the possibilities for transformation are endless.

The importance of Brown’s partnership with Legacy of Hope in this process cannot be overstated. Brown’s title sponsorship of PHL24 is far more than just financial; it’s a symbol of shared values, and an understanding that being a responsible corporate citizen goes beyond business transactions and creates meaningful connections which make a tangible difference in our communities. This is a value system that resonates with the ethos and mission of PHL24 and Legacy of Hope, which is grateful for the generosity of Brown’s ShopRite team and all that they do.

Join the partnership to sustain this important work by making a donation. You can also witness our amazing community by coming out to cheer on our PHL24 athletes as they climb the “Rocky” steps for 24 hours straight this weekend—9am Saturday, September 9th til 9am Sunday, September 19th. 

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Dr. Claudia Capparelli, PhD

Affiliations: Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Education: PhD, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy – 2011

Focus & Impact:  Focus on the role of the SOX10 transcription factor with regard to tumor cell heterogeneity and plasticity across multiple genotypes in melanoma. Investigating how SOX10 plasticity/heterogeneity affects the response to MEKi and anti-ErbB3 combinations in WT BRAF melanoma patients. 

Publications: Publications Link

Honors & Awards:

  • Legacy of Hope Merit Award

  • Outrun the Sun Melanoma Research Scholar Award

  • Unical Fellowship Visiting Scholar

  • International Pigment Cell Conference Travel Award

  • Best Poster Presentation, Ninth Annual Jefferson Post-doctoral Research

  • INPDAP Fellowship for Student Merit 

  • University of Calabria Fellowships for Student Merit 

Dr. Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Affiliations: The Wistar Institute, The Chen Laboratory, University of Maryland

Education: PhD,Immunology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, State University of New York at Buffalo (Dean’s Award for outstanding dissertation) – 2006

Focus & Impact:  Focus is on the molecular mechanisms of brain metastasis originating from primary tumors like breast cancer, and the interplay between cancer cells and the stromal cells that populate the brain microenvironment. 

Publications: Publications Link

Honors & Awards​:

  • Legacy of Hope Merit Award

  • Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy Award

  • Susan G. Komen, CCR Basic/Translational and Clinical application

  • The V Foundation for Cancer Research Award

  • Dissertation Research Award, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation 

Nia Andrews

Bio Coming Soon

Rebecca Blinn

Bio Coming Soon

Carol Sollenberger

Bio Coming Soon

Maree Lavo

Bio Coming Soon

Bryan Lathrop

Bio Coming Soon

Kimberly S. Reed

An award winning international speaker, author, corporate trainer and diversity, equality and inclusion executive, nationally recognized thought leader, expert, strategist and advisor to some of the world’s most influential organizations in global professional services, health care, financial services, consumer products and pharmaceutical industries.

Kimberly is a seasoned leader in transforming organizations into high-performing enterprises and challenging leaders to live without limits, with more than 20 years of HR, talent acquisition, and diversity & inclusion experience; successfully turning around troubled diversity practices by designing, building, leading, and shaping high-performing cultures at global organizations with robust strategies, global employee development programs and enterprise-wide initiatives that have increased revenue growth and organizational brand eminence.

Michele Redrow

Michele is a Director on the Legacy of Hope board and also serves on the Executive Committee.

mary chicorelli

Professional:  Mary is a certified city planner for Philadelphia, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pro Bono Honor Roll First Judicial District of Philadelphia.

Bio: Mary’s insight into the legal world is invaluable to Legacy of Hope, both in keeping our daily operations moving fluidly as well as making connections for our patients and their families when needed.

“Michael reached out to me about 2 years ago through mutual friends. We worked together to help a woman with stage 4 cancer get her electricity turned back on after it was shut off during the winter. I’ve been 100% supportive of Mike’s vision since then.”

joseph ruggieri, jr

Education: Bachelor’s of Science from West Chester University in Management and Finance

Bio: As a member of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.’s upper management team, Joseph brings a wealth of knowledge regarding finances, management, team-building and planning to the Legacy of Hope board. Joseph linked up with Michael, our President, and Wells Fargo began supporting Legacy of Hope annually.

“My father passed away from what started as Colon Cancer in 2015. Cancer is horrible and if there is something I can do to help others impacted I would want to be a part of it.”

David April

David is the founder of the Fishtown Beer Runners, an organization with chapters all over the world based here in Philadelphia.

dr. kevin kelly

Dr. Kevin Kelly leads Legacy of Hope’s Scientific Review Board to seek out and support the most promising cancer research in Philadelphia using a merit-based system.  He is Jefferson’s Director of Solid Tumor Oncology.

greg garber

Greg Garber is the director of Oncology Support Services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Gina Mancuso

Gina’s experience as the very successful co-owner of CoreFitness, LLC coupled with her expertise in planning special events makes her the perfect Vice President for Legacy of Hope. With energy, passion, and drive that makes her seem superhuman, Gina’s connection to our mission is a personal one.

“Both my father and my dear childhood friend were diagnosed with cancer within 3 months of one another. They were surrounded and supported by friends and family throughout their battle and until their passing. No one should suffer through a diagnosis alone and, without Legacy of Hope, some people would do just that.”

Michael Rowe


Volatile Media Management’s Mover, Shaker, Changemaker Award – February 2017

Miles Mack Community Services & Leadership Honorable Mention – 2016 TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2015

TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2014


With his free time so limited, Michael manages to fuse his work with his other passion: running. Whether it is with the Fishtown Beer Runners, our own Team Relentless Hope, or his closest friends, Michael can often be spotted on the streets of Philadelphia keeping himself fit and active.