It has been a 46-year journey for a young boy from the blue-collar neighborhood of Tioga in Philadelphia to being the president and CEO of Phoenixville Community Health Foundation. He is Lou Beccaria.
An only child, both of his parents were factory workers who dedicated their lives to their family and their community. Lou was especially impressed with his father’s after work hours adventures, giving his self to others.
Lou writes of his life’s journey in his recently published book, “My Journey in Philanthropy,” featuring memoir, reflective essays and true stories spanning his chosen work.
He attended the Catholic school system in Philadelphia, thanks to great financial sacrifice of his parents. He went on to La Salle College for a bachelor’s degree in social science education. At the University of Delaware, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in urban affairs and public policy. From 1969 to 1971, he served in the United States Army at Fort Knox as a specialist fifth class.
Lou has labeled himself as a philantrpoid — one who guides foundations and their growth — opposed to a philanthropist, from whom the funding comes.
His book took 13 years to develop. Throughout his journey, he has looked to Ruth Parker as his life philanthropy mentor, keeping in touch with her and receiving her guidance and support as she reached her 100th year on March 24.
His daughter is a critical care nurse living in Delaware. His son is the head baseball coach and assistant athletic director at Haverford College.
Lynn Seay (his lady) encouraged Lou to continue to finish his book and finally get it published, even when he thought the project would never be completed.
His professional and social life intertwine. Days often run into nights attending galas, events and meetings. Lynn often can be found at his side.
His book gives insight into what Lou feels is important at his job, outlined from the beginning with “Having A Vision” to “Being Open to Learning” and everything in between.
As this year is the 20th anniversary of the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, his schedule is booked for the year. In a future interview later this year, I will feature the foundation and its work.
In addition to all that Lou has on this plate, for the last 17-years, he had hosted local television and radio shows. He currently hosts a television show titled “And Now You Know.” His radio show, “Good News West Chester County,” can be found on WCHE 1520 AM.
Lou declares that he is no cook and has no problems “making reservations.” He can make Jell-O, prefers the red variety. Many of his favorites foods are of the Italian variety, and he loves sandwiches. His one and only cooking creation is “Pasta Luigi,” and he considers Italian Gnocchi his favorite pasta.
Fill a platter with cooked spaghetti. Place cooked chicken cutlets on the spaghetti. Layer roasted peppers on top of the chicken cutlets, then mushrooms. Cover with spaghetti sauce. He did not say, but I would pop it into the oven once it is all together.
(Lou’s favorite pasta but not his recipe)
In order to produce the lightest gnocchi, use the least possible amount of flour, just enough to keep it from sticking as you shape it.
2 pounds potatoes
1 oz. butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 to 4 ounces Semolina flour
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Peel and boil the potatoes. Mash them while very hot and add butter, whole eggs, egg yolks, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well. Incorporate the flour until a stiff dough is formed. Roll dough into long rope-like shapes and cut in ½-inch pieces. Shape over the tines of a fork. Cook in boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes; remember fresh pasta cooks faster.
Let Bette Banjack hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.