Katherine and Joe TrioloBetween Katherine and Joseph Triolo, they have lived more than 198 years, but one of their most memorable days was July 13, 2017. Just a few weeks before Katherine’s 101st birthday, the couple decided to distribute part of their estate and make major gifts to seven non-profit and educational organizations. “At this point in our lives, material things don’t matter to us,” Joe explained. “We decided to give our money while we are still living.”

Northern Illinois Food Bank is a grateful beneficiary of a generous gift from the Zion, Illinois-based couple who describe themselves as “good savers.” Their $510,000 gift – the Food Bank’s second largest individual donation ever – will have a lasting impact on the Northern Illinois community. Not only will the Triolos’ gift help open the Food Bank’s new South Suburban Center in Joliet, it will also help feed thousands of hungry neighbors in Lake County where they reside.

“This extraordinary gift from Joseph and Katherine will enable the Food Bank to make great strides toward solving hunger in Northern Illinois,” said Julie Yurko, President & CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. “The fact that they decided to do this now, while we have an opportunity to thank them in person and share the results of how their gift makes a difference, is such a blessing to me, our staff and our hungry neighbors.”

Joe Triolo with awardsKatherine and Joe’s story began back in 1954, when Joe was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station and Katherine was working at Abbott Labs. They first met one evening when Katherine and her friends visited a North Chicago hot spot known for attracting young sailors. Fast forward to today, and they have been happily married for more than 62 years, living in North Chicago for most of their marriage.

Joe is the son of Italian immigrants who settled in West Virginia where his father worked in the coal mines. Katherine was born in Arizona, and her family moved to North Chicago when she was just three years old for her father’s work, and from then on she has lived in Lake County.

Joe served in the US Navy for 21 years, leaving as a Chief Boatswain’s Mate before starting a career as a teacher at North Chicago High School until his retirement in 1991. Katherine worked in the business department of Abbott Labs, where she first started investing through the company’s
stock buying option.

According to Joe, it was a combination of Katherine’s disciplined saving and savvy investing, as well as an inheritance from her sister, that helped position them to become philanthropists earlier this year.

When they became interested in learning more about charitable organizations in the Chicagoland area to consider supporting, their friend David Lee introduced the couple to Northern Illinois Food Bank.

“Initially, Joe and Katherine were making plans to make gifts to these organizations in their estate, but decided to make the gifts now,” said Lee. This way, the Triolos could see the immediate positive impact of their contributions.

Joe and Katherine Triolo with Julie Yurko and David LeeThanks to his own recent volunteer and charitable experiences, David didn’t hesitate in mentioning Northern Illinois Food Bank as one of the organizations on the short list.

When asked about their legacy, the Triolos say they are blessed to be able to make these donations.

“Meeting Joe and Katherine is one of the highlights of my time at the Food Bank,” said Yurko. “They represent all that is good about the people of Northern Illinois, and to say that we are overwhelmed with gratitude to them is an understatement.”

If you would like to talk about making a gift to the Food Bank that will leave a lasting impact, contact Gina Gramarosso, Senior Development Officer – call 630-443-6910 ext 130 or email.