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Nov 08, 2016

Board of Director Spotlight: Tom Fink Receives 2016 Simon Benson Award

For Janus Board member, Tom Fink, philanthropy is about more than just donating time or money. For him, it is about making a difference in his community. One of Tom’s favorite quotes is by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” This is a concept that Tom has embraced. “I feel like I have been blessed and I want to give back. There could have been so many things that might have derailed my life. But I was lucky enough to have missed those obstacles and want to help others less fortunate,” says Tom. His tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. On November 3, in recognition of his contributions, Portland State University (PSU) and the PSU Foundation presented Tom with a Simon Benson Award at their gala dinner.

The Simon Benson Awards Dinner is an influential forum celebrating philanthropy in Oregon. Since 1999, the gala has raised over $10 million in support of Portland State University. The award was created by PSU in 1999 as a means of recognizing individuals, like Tom, who are dedicated to philanthropy.

The first in his family to attend college, Tom credits his PSU education with enriching his life and opening the world to him. Since his graduation in 1971 and establishing his career, Tom has been giving back to other PSU students. His PSU Telefund Scholarship assists students each year in pursuing their degrees at PSU. The Telefund employs up to 35 students who reach out to alumni and friends each year—to increase annual support for scholarships, program development and research. Tom believes that the Telefund work is fundamental in keeping the wheels of philanthropy turning into the future. The recipient of Tom’s Telefund Scholarship this year is Alexandra Van—a senior studying sociology who overcame significant challenges to realize her dream of finishing high school and earning a college degree.

Tom has been serving Janus for over 30 years. He is a past president and is the Scholarship Chair. He also serves on the St. Mary’s Academy and the PSU Foundation Boards. Through his generosity, Tom has made—and continues to make—a difference in the lives of so many youth.

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