Joyce is a Group Director of a Wealth Management field office. She is an avid reader and enjoys gardening, cooking, competing in local 5Ks, and spending time with her husband of over 30 years and their three sons. She also donates time to St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Greenfield Center, Saratoga Springs Code Blue Homeless Shelter and the Giving Circle local Outreach for our street friends. She travelled to Uganda with her son Liam Rice in February of 2019 to meet the wonderful staff and children in our communities. The trip was life changing and Joyce is whole heartedly committed to all our initiatives locally and abroad.
Carl KornAfter many years as a political reporter in Annapolis and Albany, Carl Korn served for 25 years as press secretary for New York State United Teachers. Working in the union movement helped cement Carl’s passion for social justice and helping the most vulnerable around the world. Carl has worked with Fair Trade coffee farmers in Nicaragua and in the Peruvian Amazon, and is currently very active in The Giving Circle’s education projects in Uganda. At home, he delivers meals to the needy over Christmas and Thanksgiving. Recently retired, Carl looks forward to having more time to perform Tikkun Olam — repairing the world — with his wife, Cara, and their two grown children.
Kim Poli is a physician with Albany Medical Center who lives in Saratoga with her husband and two children. She has been involved with The Giving Circle since its earliest days, helping to fundraise for TGC’s first rebuilding projects after Hurricane Katrina and joining a TGC relief crew in response to the Schoharie floods. Since that time, Kim and her family have continued to support TGC’s local initiatives and in 2009, with the initiation of TGC Africa, the Poli-Laddis family began sponsoring two Ugandan siblings at the Koi Koi House orphanage. After eight years of letter and video correspondence, the entire family joined the 2017 summer trip and was able to meet their sponsored children in person. It was also during this trip that Kim was able to work alongside The Giving Circle nurse at the Kagoma Gate clinic and witness first hand the The Giving Circle’s healthcare services. Just two years later, Kim and her family again joined the 2019 team for a return visit to the TGC children and medical clinic. Today the Poli-Laddis family sponsors five children through TGC Africa in Uganda. As they look forward to more trips to Uganda and TGC’s growing local presence in Saratoga, Kim and her family remain inspired by the work of The Giving Circle and their mission to lessen the suffering of others while giving every child a chance.
Lisa has been inspired by the mission of Mark and Kelly Bertrand and The Giving Circle since its inception. Lisa and her family have helped with various projects and events that support those in need in the local community. She has traveled to Waveland, MS to help with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, and to Uganda to support The Giving Circle’s international development. Through her involvement with The Giving Circle, she has met many selfless volunteers and is grateful for each interaction with the people this amazing organization has positively impacted.
Lisa is a special education teacher and certified dyslexia instructor. She enjoys working with children, and volunteering with nonprofits that support children and families.
Ron Deutsch has been with the Giving Circle since its inception. He served as President of the organization from 2008-2018 working on numerous Giving Circle projects and events. Ron is currently a self-employed consultant working on social and economic justice issues. Ron was most recently the Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI); an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers. Ron Deutsch has been a tireless advocate for working families for nearly 30 years in Albany. He led the Statewide Emergency Network for Social and Economic Security (SENSES, a statewide anti-poverty advocacy organization) for 13 years and then became the Director of FPI’s sister 501(c)(4) organization, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness for 8 years. Deutsch is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany.
Rachael has lived in downtown Saratoga Springs for the past 21 years. She was always aware of the homeless population and always tried to help in small ways like leaving my bottles and cans for them to collect, handing out clean T-Shirts and giving a few dollars here and there for those asking. Her helping in small ways was drastically changed in December of 2013 when the emergency Code Blue shelter opened and Rachael started to volunteer the very first week. “My life has been so much more fulfilling since then,” state Rachael. Not only has she been able to help many men and women living rough on the streets but she also met four of her amazing friends during her time at Code Blue. In the spring of 2015, when Code Blue came to an end, Rachael and her friends thought they would miss the friends that frequented Code Blue and felt sad that they would not see them until the following season. They decided to host a get together on Thursday nights to provide a meal and other basic supplies from April through October. In 2016, after another Code Blue season was over, Rachael was approached by Mark Bertrand, founder of the Giving Circle. Mark asked if the team would like to become a part of the Giving Circle. To this day, Rachael is grateful to be a part of the Giving Circle because as a 501c organization, the team has found additional ways to help. The Thursday night Street Outreach as our name has developed over the years and is still going strong lead by the 5 original members and many friends and families that help out on a weekly basis.
Rachael is also involved in Code Blue, volunteering and providing meals. Rachael also collects and distributes clothing and essentials which she distributes to those in need. She volunteers for the Salvation Army delivering groceries once a week and is a member of Touched by an Angel committee that plans for an annual fundraiser for Hospice.
Rachael is also an elementary age reading and math tutor. In her free time, Rachael enjoys spending time with her friends, family especially her two nieces and nephew every chance she gets. Her guilty pleasure is binge watching on Netflix.
Mary C. Mahoney
Mary C. Mahoney, a graduate of Fordham University, came to the Giving Circle through Code Blue of Saratoga, where she has gratefully volunteered since its opening season.
She retired after thirty years service with the New York State Departments of Social Services and then Health. Her duties there included development and delivery of training and public information campaigns about public programs, particularly Medicaid.
Activism in her union, the Public Employees Federation of New York (PEF), led to a committed relationship with labor and social justice groups. In addition to holding a seat on PEF’s Executive Board, Mary was privileged to serve three terms as the Executive Secretary of the Albany County Central Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO). Mary’s association with The New York State Labor – Religion Coalition permitted her to participate in their efforts fighting wage theft abuses. Contacts within these organizations led to involvement in peace and environmental actions over the years. She is the proud owner of a worn out bull horn.
Finally and in a far less political vein, Mary’s proud to be Secretary of her neighborhood Home Owners’ Association.
Will heard about The Giving Circle through his mother. She asked him if he wanted to take a trip to Uganda with a group that goes to help people. “Absolutely” was his response. Will ended up immediately falling in love with the organization and all of the people he met on his journey. “The Ugandans that I met gave me a new outlook on life through their happiness and perseverance. Once I made it home I knew The Giving Circle was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Bio coming soon.
Merle O’ConnorMerle has been an educator for 20+ years in the Capital Region and is currently a Realtor on the Howard Hanna team. Merle takes pride in teaching her clients about the Real Estate process. Whether first time buyers or experienced homeowners, her goal is to make people feel comfortable and guide each person through the process one step at a time.
Rob is a father of 3 and an owner of Proactive Energy Management, a sustainable energy consulting company based in Saratoga Springs. In addition to that, he is a musician and songwriter and avid outdoor enthusiast and mountain biker.
Mark is the Founder of The Giving Circle, Inc (TGC). Born in Troy, NY, Mark and his wife, Kelly, were vacationing at the Cape when Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit the gulf coast in 2005. They wanted to find a way to help the families in Louisiana and Mississippi. Inspired by his ideas, they decided to try to bring Christmas to all the children and families in Louisiana and we did, to over 7,000 children! That is how TGC was born. Since then, we have expanded our non-profit to helping those in need domestically, nationally and internationally (Uganda and Afghanistan). Since Mark was a teenager he wanted to work in Africa. Once TCG was built in the US, he searched out contacts in Uganda. Once vetted, he found a very trustworthy team lead by Wambi Moses and Walubi Emmanuel. Mark is a Jefferson Award Honoree nominated for all his selfless acts of compassion and humanitarian work. He is the strategic and logistics partner for all work done in the US and in Uganda.
Mark sits on several boards of directors including Shelters of Saratoga (SOS), Code Blue Steering & Programs Committees, and Peace Week Committee. He has sports, nutrition and strength conditioning certification where he’s mentored and coached many pro, elite and Olympic athletes but he’s left this behind to focus 100% on TGC.
Kelly is a co-founder of The Giving Circle, Inc (TGC). Born in Albuquerque, NM but raised in Greenfield Center, NY, Kelly and her husband, Mark, were vacationing at the Cape when Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit the gulf coast in 2005. They wanted to find a way to help the families in Louisiana and Mississippi. Inspired by Mark’s ideas, they decided to try to bring Christmas to all the children and families in Louisiana and they did, to over 7,000 children! That is how TGC was born. Since then, we have expanded our non-profit to helping those in need domestically, nationally and internationally (Uganda and Afghanistan). Kelly is very passionate about sustainably helping people and assisting in helping them meet health, education and quality of life goals. Kelly has a B.A Computer Science from Skidmore College.
“It is a privilege to be involved with TGC, an organization that shows not only what we can achieve individually, but also how much we can accomplish as a community when we support each other.”
Kelly’s favorite quote and one she tries to live by, “The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
Aaron Gryder is an American thoroughbred racehorse jockey, who is most well known for his 14 length victory aboard Well Armed in the 2009 Dubai World Cup, and 2012 Breeders’ Cup Marathon win aboard Calidoscopio. Born June 5th, 1970, Aaron has ridden to over 3,600 career wins and appeared on Animal Planet’s 2009 reality documentary, Jockeys. He continues to ride today and is based in Pasadena, California, where he spends much of his time riding at Santa Anita Park. Serving as an ambassador for the sport, Aaron spends his time out of the saddle showing visitors around Santa Anita and making TV appearances, spreading the word about horse racing.