Building a Culture of Philanthropy
Long time residents of Fairmount Nick and Jen Wendowski wouldn’t really stand out on the streets of the neighborhood. Two young professionals with children are a dime a dozen in the ever-changing area.
When you peek beneath the surface, you find out that the Wendowskis are change agents in the city of Philadelphia.
Their business sense is probably the first thing you’d take note of.
When they walked into a dilapidated building in 2015, stepping on the moss-covered floor, most people would say “No, thanks.” Instead, Jen saw what could be. Five years later and Yoga Habit is a bustling, beautiful yoga studio that has become a staple of the community.
In 2019, Stone’s Beer & Beverage Market, a neighborhood business since 1955, was for sale. Nick and Jen jumped on the opportunity to make another mark in the neighborhood and purchased the business.
“Stone’s is a representation of the intersection of the neighborhoods in the area,” Nick says. “You see someone coming in for an expensive case of craft beer or a single can. It shows the current neighborhood situation.”
The Wendowskis have a history of looking for the potential in a situation. Which is why Gina Mancuso, Vice President of Legacy of Hope, knew they would be the perfect pioneers for the Legacy of Hope sponsorship program.
Jen and Yoga Habit previously worked with Legacy of Hope during PHL24 2019 by hosting a yoga class on the steps during the 24-hour event. Being fitness professionals in a small community, Gina and Jen knew there would be a time to work together again.
“We apply the same passion and drive to our small businesses.”
“We have only owned Stone’s for about a year,” says Nick. “From the beginning, I wanted to be able to be involved in the community, but the early days are challenging for a small business.” They identify with the passion and drive that Legacy of Hope has to help cancer patients in the area. “We apply the same passion and drive to our small businesses.”
When Gina approached them about the program, the Wendowskis thought it would be a perfect fit for Stone’s. “We knew we could find $100 per month in Stone’s budget for this,” says Nick.
As sponsors, Nick and Jen have committed to give Legacy of Hope a monthly donation that will go directly to groceries for families dealing with cancer. Their involvement doesn’t stop with a check, though.
“I wanted to build a culture of philanthropy into Stone’s,” says Nick. Every Stone’s employee is given two paid days per year that they can volunteer. “We know life is busy. This way our employees have the time to get out there without it cutting into their daily lives.”
Often, those hours are used for Legacy of Hope.
“We were able to meet the families that are directly impacted ..."
“An employee and I were able to go out last month to deliver groceries,” says Nick. “We were able to meet the families that are directly impacted by Stone’s. Opportunities like this mean that every person at Stone’s can be directly involved.”
The importance of positively impacting the community is also something the Wendowskis want to impress upon their children. “If you are in the position to do so, it is your responsibility to give back,” says Jen. “We are fortunate to have the privilege, wealth, and ability to do good and we want our kids to know that.”
"Nick and Jen are the kind of people that make our neighborhood, and our city, a better place.”
Legacy of Hope sees the Wendowskis using their position to lift others up.
"Nick and Jen are the kind of people that make our neighborhood, and our city, a better place,” says Gina. “Both businesses give back to the community in ways that are meaningful and impactful. We're so grateful to have them as a part of the Legacy of Hope team.”
Interested in joining Nick and Jen by becoming sponsors? Learn more about the program here.
Article written by: Annie Schuster
Photos by: Bryan Karl Lathrop Photography