TWO LEADING HOME-BOROUGH PHILANTHROPIC ORGANIZATIONS TEAM UP TO SUPPORT CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS AT SIUH

BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMESSE PHOTOGRAPHY

or close to 20 years, the Joseph Maffeo Foundation ( JMF) has been a vital benefactor for several programs at Staten Island University Hospital, funneling more than $2 million of essential funding into the renovation and construction of several pediatric units in honor of New York City firefighter Joseph Maffeo, who lost his life in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. And now, as part of JMF’s current focus on spearheading fundraising efforts for the construction of the hospital’s new neonatal intensive care unit, the philanthropic organization’s co-founders are taking a shot with a new type of initiative and joining forces with another Staten Island organization dedicated to enhancing the health, wellness, and happiness of the borough’s children.

“Our goal was, and still is, to honor Joseph and all those who were lost on that infamous day by choosing to do all that we can to make our world a better place for the children of Staten Island,” noted Keith Manfredi, who co-founded JMF in 2004 with his wife Linda, Joseph Maffeo’s sister. “During the past 12 years, we have watched Anthony Passalacqua as he seemed to be doing the same making our world a better place for our children and youth, utilizing basketball as his tool. His genuine care, commitment, and concern for the children and youth of Staten Island is evident, so when he approached us with his business partner, Salvatore Fabozzi, about combining the mission and objectives of the Joseph Maffeo Foundation with their programs, we jumped at the idea.”

Passalacqua and Fabozzi, owners of JumpShotz in Charleston, a 4,000-square-foot facility that is designed to host indoor basketball instruction and games, have been working with Staten Island youth for years, developing basketball players of all ages at the borough’s Shootin’ School. The duo, which oversees more than 20 AAU teams under the Staten Island Stingrays umbrella, is also responsible for the creation of Because We Can Sports, an integrated sports program that works with players of all ages and abilities, and Saturday Night Lights, a free youth violence prevention program that takes place weekly at PS 44 in Mariners Harbor.

“Their programs are not just about basketball for the sake of scholarships or winning on the court,” said Manfredi. “They are about building confidence, self-respect, self-esteem, and providing the tools and building blocks needed to have the best chance to succeed, and be a winner in the game of life.”

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Defining JMF’s partnership with JumpShotz as imperative to the organization’s longevity and perpetuity, Manfredi said the relationship will enable the Joseph Maffeo Foundation to connect with a whole new generation.

“In the midst of our current project, the development of the Joseph Maffeo Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (part of the new Women and Newborn Center at SIUH), Anthony and Sal’s commitment puts us both in a position to continue to help make our world a better place for the children of Staten Island,” said Manfredi. “Future collaborations with Anthony and Sal, through their programs and initiatives, will include several basketball tournaments, shoot-a-thons, and various fundraising events. We are even planning to develop a program titled KIDS Walk For KIDS all benefitting the Joseph Maffeo Foundation and children’s programs at SIUH.”

“Through the Joseph Maffeo Foundation, Keith and Linda are making the world a better place,” said Passalacqua. “Sal and I want to be a part of that profound effect too. Inspired by the Manfredis, Sal and I started our own non-profit, the Integrated Athletic Initiative, in which the mission is to provide quality sports instruction, teams, events, and leagues that bridge the gap between underprivileged, special needs, and mainstream youth and young adults. The program helps facilitate the building of sports skills, confidence, selfesteem, and sportsmanship, while meeting the needs of each individual.”

The Manfredis are currently focusing all of their efforts on revitalizing JMF’s annual Casino Night fundraiser, which was canceled two years in a row due to the pandemic. Scheduled for Saturday, March 26, 2022, the event should raise at least $250,000 for the hospital’s new NICU.

“Everyone at the foundation is excited to get back to doing what we love to do: bringing people together to celebrate the lives of all who were lost on September 11, 2001, making our world a better place in their honor, and providing support to the many initiatives of Staten Island University Hospital,” said Manfredi.

According to SIUH, the new facility will deliver the latest in life-saving technologies and treatments for the most fragile infants, including those born prematurely or with other severe medical conditions. The NICU will offer highly attentive care for babies in a family-friendly environment. For Keith and Linda Manfredi, the promise of this unit is yet another example of the generosity Staten Island residents have shown throughout the past two decades.

“Nothing we have done or planned to do would be possible without the Staten Island community and our friends and family,” explained Keith Manfredi. “Time after time, they trust us with their hard-earned dollars, contributing with confidence, and trusting that we will turn their donations into something this borough needs.”

“As long as there is a need in this community, we will do our best to make a difference,” added Linda Manfredi. “Through my brother’s death I learned that we are not promised tomorrow, so we have to make today amazing. And helping others in need, hopefully inspiring others to make a difference, too, is something of which Joseph would be very proud.”

The Joseph Maffeo Foundation, Inc.
1 Edgewater Plaza, Suite 525
718.668.0797 / maffeofoundation.org