Elena Piperno attended an information session at the Ronald McDonald House in October 2019. But even before then, she knew she was interested in joining Impact100 South Jersey. After reading about us on social media and recognizing some faces, she was intrigued by the idea of women contributing equally to generate high impact grants to local non-profit organizations. It was no surprise Elena immediately joined our ranks effective this year.
Elena was raised with a family culture of philanthropic generosity. Her dad, Pepe Piperno, spent his early years in Camden and has a long history of community support. At the early age of six, Elena became involved in the family tradition of delivering Christmas baskets to Camden families through Sacred Heart Church. This early experience instilled in her the importance of giving back and community involvement.
While attending Providence College as a Public and Community Service major, Elena volunteered with local schools, focusing on programming for at-risk youth. In her spring semester, she completed a Service-Learning Certificate program in South Africa doing similar work. Upon graduating in 2010, Elena accepted a position with Catholic Partnership Schools as the Coordinator of After-School and Summer Programs. For the next four years, she coordinated enrichment programs for 300 Camden youth annually. She then joined A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts as the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager and managed the company’s community outreach and charitable programs.
Fast forwarding to the present, Elena is now the Director of the Domenica Foundation, founded by her father in 1991 in honor of, and named after, her grandmother. Embracing Domenica Piperno’s caring and compassionate spirit, the Foundation seeks to support underserved and impoverished communities with a focus on education and community development to create access to opportunity.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Domenica Foundation has been proactive in reaching out to their local partners in Camden. Elena described supporting the critical needs of organizations such as Cathedral Kitchen, Guadalupe Family Services, Joseph’s House of Camden, and Ronald McDonald House, among others. Thus far, the Domenica Foundation has provided over $100,000 in emergency funds to support direct relief services for food, shelter and supplies.
Despite the brief time Elena has been a member of Impact100 SJ, she has already become actively involved in the grant review committee. Elena noted that it has been great to learn about new organizations serving South Jersey. “There are so many incredible organizations doing good work to support our community. I’m excited to be a part of the Annual Event where the grant finalists will be announced to the group. I can’t wait to see the voting process unfold.”
Elena finds it very rewarding to be part of this collective women’s group. “It has been a joy to meet so many compassionate and empowering women who have all come together to make a big difference in our community. It’s amazing how much this group accomplishes each year.” Elena said.
Elena and her husband Mike recently celebrated their first year of marriage! In her spare time, she loves to travel and has taken up a new hobby of photography to keep busy.