Everyday Hero: Gary Rosenberg
Big Brothers Big Sisters recipient of car dealership president’s passion Published: Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 12:00 a.m. CST
For nearly two decades, Gary Rosenberg has been the driving
force behind a major annual fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry
Rosenberg, the 59-year-old president of Crystal Lake
Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, was introduced to the nonprofit youth mentorship
organization through his work with United Way of McHenry County. After meeting
the people involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, he wanted
to do what he could to help.
“It’s a marvelous, marvelous entity. They really do good
work,” he said. “And the passion of the people there is incredible.”
Dave Barber, who was running the United Way at the time,
told Rosenberg that Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County needed more than
money. The organization needed a business person to help lead it.
After discovering an immediate connection to the
organization and its mission, Rosenberg joined the board in 1999. He served on
the board for six years, and continues to help the organization by serving on
its advisory council, which is made up of former board members who provide
advice and support.
“This organization really does help kids,” Rosenberg said.
“There are a ton of single parents out there raising families, and they need a
Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County matches adult
mentors with at-risk children ages 6 to 14.
“Many times, these are kids who are in desperate need of
role models,” said Jamie Maravich, board chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters
of McHenry County.
Studies have shown children in the program are more likely
to do well in school and graduate, gain confidence, avoid drugs and alcohol and
break the cycle of abuse that is sometimes present in their family structure,
At the time Rosenberg started working with Big Brothers Big
Sisters of McHenry County, the organization wasn’t doing well financially. He
made payroll for the nonprofit for the first two months, and it was clear the
organization needed to find more stable ways to bring in revenue to pay its
professional staff members and other program expenses.
Eventually, Rosenberg and friend Jack Cook came up with the
idea of Swing for Kids Sake, an annual golf outing that would raise money for
Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County. Swing for Kids Sake, now in its
13th year, has raised more than $500,000 for the organization.
“It’s absolutely a Herculean effort for everyone involved,
and there are a lot of people involved in this,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg takes pride in recruiting players and sponsors to
“We get people from all walks of life to play,” he said. “I
bring anyone who will talk to me.”
Despite the effort that is involved in hosting a successful
golf outing fundraiser, Rosenberg said he never tires of the challenges.
“I’m relentless; I’m a car salesman,” he said.
He added: “I love it. Kids are my passion.”
Swing for Kids Sake is one of Big Brothers Big Sisters of
McHenry County’s largest annual fundraisers, and the event also raises
awareness about the organization and its mission, Maravich said.
“Whenever the agency needs something, [Rosenberg] is there,
and he fixes it,” she said. “He’s amazing. It’s so much more than writing a
check. He’s promoting the organization and enabling it to thrive.”
Rosenberg has been involved in several organizations that
help children. For 15 years, he coached fifth- and sixth-grade basketball for
the Crystal Lake Park District.
“He’s a passionate guy,” said Todd Hammond, a board member
of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County. “He loves kids. He loves the
mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s a home run for us. We’d take 10 or 15
Gary Rosenbergs if we could find them.”
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