When asked why she joined Impact100 SJ, Lois Gabin-Legato, a C-Suite senior executive at the Philadelphia Foundation, said, “I feel a personal responsibility to give back to our community. Impact100 SJ offers that at a grass roots level where you can touch and feel it… where you can learn where the need is and be able to help. The pandemic made me think about how many organizations had to shut down and needed help. I wanted to see our community thrive and Impact100 gave me the opportunity to help others thrive. That’s a GREAT feeling.”
As a professional in the philanthropic sector, Lois was aware of the collective giving model and had read about Impact100. She noticed the organization surface often in the local media. After watching how the chapter was developing and making an impact in the community, Lois knew she wanted to be a part of it and reached out to Impact100 SJ through the website expressing interest in becoming a member. Kyle Ruffin was quick to reply and Lois became a member in 2021 and joined two committees – Events and the Grant Review committee for education. She learned a lot from serving on the grant review committee and said, “it raises awareness through the process and the communications and provides choices on how and where you want to help. This in turn helps you evaluate what your priorities are.”
Lois was happy to meet some of the Events Committee members in person and is looking forward to meeting other members in person in the future. She shared that, “it’s great to meet and spend time with motivated like-minded women.” Being a member of Impact100 aligns with Lois’ core values and provides her with the opportunity to think more about her legacy. She believes that “legacy can’t happen unless you make time for it and Impact100 provides that platform for me.” Membership fits well into her philanthropy DNA and giving back. She has also spent many years mentoring young women and students and bringing the next generation into the philanthropy circle, including her young adult daughter.
Lois has two children that she and her husband raised in Moorestown, three step children, and seven step-grandchildren. She is a 31 year resident of South Jersey after relocating here from New York City. Lois grew up in a bedroom community of Manhattan so the city was always her backyard. After a career in publishing and on Wall Street with EF Hutton and UBS Securities, Lois earned her J.D. at Temple Law School. In 2004 she began a career in philanthropy working in senior level Institutional Advancement roles at Temple and Drexel Universities before becoming the V.P. of Institutional Advancement and Chief Advancement Officer at Philadelphia Foundation in 2016. Philanthropy was a great transition from her Wall Street career where she could use her financial background and law degree in a profession that enabled her to give back and facilitate others’ charitable giving.
The Gabin-Legatos are a skiing family and love to travel. They also love to cook and consider themselves foodies. Being a native New Yorker, Lois also has an inherent love of the arts and theatre. The pandemic has allowed her to resume some old hobbies, like painting, and take up new hobbies, like raising chickens. This past year, Lois has been renting chickens, complete with a pen, and enjoys fresh eggs daily.
She and her family have taken a hiatus from travel during her childrens’ college years and hope to resume soon. But right now, their focus is on supporting local businesses as they recover from the pandemic.