Too many New Jersey children don’t know where their next meal will come from. Mark Cortazzo understands this feeling of uncertainty because he grew up in a food insecure household. Today, Mark is a senior partner at MACRO Consulting Group and has dedicated his life and work to giving back.
“When I was growing up, I lived in a single parent household and my mom was ill for a while,” Mark told us. “She had to go out on disability and she didn’t make very much money in her day-to-day. We often got help from our local food bank.”
The food they received to supplement their budget “took the edge off a difficult financial situation.” They often sacrificed many other necessities for food. Mark said he and his mom were fortunate because they had a strong support system, but he added that “not all people are so lucky.”
His childhood struggles inspired his commitment to the fight hunger. He started a tradition at MACRO to support the cause; every time someone opens an account, the company makes a donation to the client’s local food bank.
“In lieu of sending gift baskets, we make a gift to charities to impact lives,” Mark explained. “Hopefully it will also inspire our clients to give back and help people less fortunate than themselves – a powerful outcome.”
For the holiday season, he and his colleagues organize a “Christmas Spectacular” of sorts by handing out gifts to seniors at a local center.
“You see how happy it makes them,” he said, “and that’s what keeps us going.”
Mark extends this culture of giving among his children, who volunteer at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
Hunger hits close to home for Mark and, in addition to his commitment to the cause – through volunteering, donating and advocating – he hopes to inspire people to give back to those in need.
“I would like people to see that you can come back from adversity,” Mark said. “Hopefully somebody reads that and says, ‘wow, if I’m in that same situation, I can use this as fuel to make a difference.”