Allen and Gherrie Routzahn of Sun City West have been named as Benevilla’s 2014 Honorees at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Spirit of Philanthropy Awards dinner on Thursday, November 13, 2014.
The honor is a result of the Routzahn’s lifelong commitment to giving back to the community. Originally from Fredrick, Maryland, Allen was the owner of several department and furniture stores and met Gherrie when she started working as one of his fashion buyers. They became involved in several charitable organizations in Maryland and started the Routzahn Scholarship Foundation in 1979. The foundation provides funding to several students each year to attend business school.
“Six years ago, I wanted to find out if it really was better to give than receive, so with my wife Gherrie’s consent, I gave away literally every cent that we made – over a half million dollars! And that went so well that I did the same thing the next year!”
Allen’s involvement with Benevilla is the result of a chance breakfast meeting with two friends who suggested he get to know the organization. Within two weeks, Allen was putting in 40 to 60 hours a week applying the business skills mastered during a very successful career owning and managing retail stores in the Midwest.
“Benevilla is still the best kept secret in the Northwest Valley, and it’s time we change that,” Allen says over coffee at Birt’s Bistro as a big red wagon full of toddlers from Wirtzie’s rolls by. “The story is the kids in the stroller – the work the agency is doing to reach the next generation… and the generation after that.”
“Along with giving of his time, Allen has given generously of his financial resources and is a member of the Legacy Circle, a special group of donors who participate in planned giving,” said Michelle Dionisio, president and CEO of Benevilla. “Through his charitable planned giving, Allen is assured that the vital services provided to those in our community will continue long into future generations.”