Retired executive Sue Guarino continues to lead through volunteerism
Sue Guarino is the consummate community volunteer, giving hours of her time to aid organizations in Memphis, her adopted hometown. In addition to being on the GiVE 365 A-Team, she serves as board chair of Playhouse on the Square and spends two mornings a week at the Mid-South Food Bank helping with everything from balancing bank accounts to filing. “I just don’t wash the bathrooms!” she exclaims.
Sue and her husband, Frank, moved here in 1991 for her to take a leadership position in systems analysis at what was then Schering-Plough (now Merck). Having been raised in upstate New York and moving from Connecticut, Sue says, “It was a big decision [to move to the South], but the best decision for us financially, personally, and professionally.” Though she and Frank have been here for more than 25 years, her outsider’s perspective gives her a profound appreciation for Memphis. “For someone not from here, there is so much that Memphis has to offer that just needs to be uncovered.”
The Guarinos already had a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation when the foundation launched GiVE 365 in 2010. They were immediately attracted to the idea of the program and are founding, Lifetime members. They are so enthusiastic about GiVE 365 that the couple has two memberships, so they do not have to share one vote. They have also been passionate promoters of the membership group, recruiting many friends to join.
“We don’t fit the typical young philanthropist [persona], but I love the fact that my small amount of money gets added, and the impact it can have for the nonprofits,” Sue says. “I love being exposed to all the nonprofit organizations and learning about all the good things going on in this city. It’s an opportunity to give back at places we wouldn’t normally think of.”