Donor Profile: Mike Lazenka

Donor since: 2008

Occupation: Coordinates outreach and communications for the organization that provides support to technical professionals at the University of Pennsylvania.

Why I give: I firmly believe that as individuals we must be sensitive to how our decisions impact society and we must collectively work to ensure that everyone is granted the opportunity to have a better life.

A Philadelphia native, Center City resident,and graduate of Temple University and Archbishop Ryan High School, Mike Lazenka is deeply committed to social justice for everyone in our region.

“As a younger gay man, I focused on organizations that impacted the gay community,” Mike says. “As I have gotten older, I’ve become more sensitive to the threads that connect all of us, and to the lasting impact that social injustice can have on people from all walks of life.”

Recent political and economic events have prompted Mike to increase his giving: “I wanted to barf at the 2010 election results, so I doubled the amount of money I gave to Bread & Roses.”

“From challenges to free speech to anti-gay groups to pervasive racism at the city, state and federal level, there are a lot of reasons to be angry. But an organization like Bread & Roses also gives me hope,” says Mike. “Bread & Roses has become for me the group that best allows me to ‘pay it forward’ and address the needs of society as a whole.”

Mike gives to Bread & Roses through the Penn’s Way campaign. Workplace campaigns are active at many area employers, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Bryn Mawr College, the City of Philadelphia, and countless other workplaces through the United Way. Workplace donors like Mike agree to have a certain amount deducted from each paycheck and sent directly to Bread & Roses.

“The continuing softness in the economy coupled with the efforts to expand the scope of services and support provided by Bread & Roses prompted me to increase my contribution again in 2011 by 50%. Even with these increases, my monthly contribution—deducted automatically from my pay—is really manageable for me. And I hope to increase the amount I donate every year,” he says.

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Mike Lazenka

Mike Lazenka