“The world truly gets better, one person at a time. The true heroes are Sister Mary Jane (Ranek) and Jerry (Daviner), who actually do the hands on work.” That’s the sentiment and the giving philosophy of an anonymous donor we’ll call Ryan, and what inspired him to make a $500 donation, which his Fortune 100 employer matched for a total of $1,000. Their generosity enabled the children of San Ildefonso, Mexico to create artwork, which is being sold online, and selling well. Jerry Daviner, a youth advocate for migrant education, connected Sister Mary Jane and Ryan with each other. Jerry is matching the price of each painting sold with his own donation, which goes back to the children Sister Mary Jane ministers to in Mexico.
An Italian American, who was born to immigrant parents, Ryan calls his story “the ultimate immigrant experience.” His generosity is his way of paying it forward. He met Jerry when he helped him sell his business, several NFL merchandise stores, before going to work in the migrant community in Stockton, California in the mid 1990s. “He put his faith and trust in me when I was a young kid, new in the business,” Ryan laughed. Ryan learned about Sister Mary Jane and her work with children in Mexico though Jerry, who’s a mutual friend of both. Ryan cares about both the Mexican people and the work done by Sisters everywhere. His aunt is a Dominican Sister, and he and his wife have enjoyed the people and hospitality of Mexico while they vacationed there.
As far as choosing to remain anonymous, Ryan sees it as a balancing act. He’s the parent of two sons, one of whom is autistic. He both volunteers time and donates money to the Boys Scouts because of the huge impact they’ve made on his sons’ lives. “It’s important to know that people give. It’s a push-pull as far as remaining anonymous goes. It’s a balance between both accolades and actions,” he added. Regardless of how donors choose to give, whether it’s acknowledged, anonymous or through volunteering their time, giving ripples outward. Because of Jerry’s and Ryan’s generosity, children thousands of miles away benefited in both their art and their lives. “They’re incredible kids,” Jerry said. “Sister Mary Jane puts smiles on their faces everyday. You get more than you give,” he added.