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Bishop blesses TVs donated by Russ Salvatore


Russell Salvatore was the man of the hour as the generous restaurateur was honored for his donation of 60 75-inch Smart TVs to Catholic elementary and high schools in the area. Bishop Michael W. Fisher was on hand to bless the sets during a presentation at the Catholic Center on March 16.

Nancy Gugino, executive director of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, introduces Russell Salvatore, who provided Smart TVs to all Catholic schools in the diocese. A thank you reception was held at Catholic Center in downtown Buffalo for his generosity. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

When Nancy Gugino, executive director of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, approached Salvatore to donate one Smart TV for the upcoming Cocktails for Catholic Education fundraiser to be raffled off to one school, the Buffalo-born philanthropist decided to give one to every Catholic school in the Diocese of Buffalo, not wanting to leave anyone out.

“They are so overjoyed to have something that they didn’t have before,” said Gugino.

Bishop Fisher thanked Salvatore on behalf of all the students.

“We are so grateful on behalf of our Catholic schools in our diocese, all the people here in Western New York are grateful to you for your philanthropy and your donation to our schools. I’m sure our administrators, our teachers are happy about this wonderful gift of technology,” he said. “I know our students are going to benefit so much in their learning process and their enjoyment as they learn and are formed in our schools.”

Speaking after the ceremony, Salvatore explained the root of his generous nature.  

“I don’t believe when you get old you put it in the bank. You can’t take it with you,” he said. “Give back. Give back so people can use it. My parents said, ‘Be good to people. They’re good to you, Russ. Give back to the community.’ And I love doing it.”                                                                     

Several schools have already received their sets. At St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, the set will be placed in the library, which is used for large-group meetings and guest speakers. It will allow many people to use it. 

Bishop Michael W. Fisher, assisted by Father Sean Paul Fleminig (left) and Deacon Steve Schumer, blesses one of the large screen Smart TV that Russell Salvatore, has donated to the Catholic schools in the diocese. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

“It’s so exciting. Just the use of technology. It’s where are students are. It’s really one of the best tools out there for good pedagogy,” said Father Matt Foley, OFM Conv., director of Campus Ministry at St. Francis. “We’re very grateful to Mr. Salvatore for his generosity.”

This year’s Cocktails for Catholic Education gala, a televised event for 2002, will air on Buffalo’s own WBBZ-TV on Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m.


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