A third-generation entrepreneur, he was taught the ropes of the business by his father. From him, he also learned two important things – a strong work ethic and philanthropy. A Marinelli & Sons has been prosperous under his watch over the years, even as it transformed from a paving contractor to a successful supply yard.
“All the success … if we don’t share it with others, what’s the sensibility in that?” asked Fran.
His wife, Rose Marinelli, agrees.
“We are very grateful for what we have in our lives, and to show that gratitude is to be able to give back,” she said.
Rose is a breast cancer survivor; more recently, she recovered from a brain injury.
“I have been so close to death,” she said. “I want to appreciate what is in front of me.”
The couple’s business, A. Marinelli & Sons, is the presenting sponsor of this year’s West Chester Charity Ball on Dec. 1. The annual event benefits Friends Association for the Care and Protection of Children.
Rose recalled the day, almost two decades ago, when she was approached to be part of the Charity Ball committee.
“At that time, the event was not exclusive to Friends,” she said. “At the Ball, they used to pick a charity each year, and donate the money toward it.”
One such was Friends Association.
Over the years, she has had the opportunity to know the team at Friends and understand their work.
“From what I can see, the people who work there are wonderful, caring, and warm-hearted,” Rose said. “And it is obvious that that carries over into their jobs. Because from what I understand, they really work hard to help people who need help, and it sounds like they are very good at turning the lives of a lot of these people over and around.”
As part of the committee, Rose helps promote the event, and in the last few years, she has been in charge of the decorations. For the 30th “pearl” anniversary celebrations this year, she lets on, in a tone of excitement, that guests can expect pearl-themed decorations.
Three decades is a long journey, and her voice takes a serious tone to emphasize the growth that the event has seen.
“Looking more from a businessman’s standpoint,” Fran said, “I would say it has certainly grown financially. The money that they raise, it just seems like every year, it grows and grows. We are lucky enough to be in a pretty affluent area in the Chester County, and the people here are very generous.”
Last year, Friends Association helped 270 children and 122 families overcome homelessness. A feat that might not have been possible if not for the amount raised at the West Chester Charity Ball — the Association’s largest fundraiser.
“This holiday gala, part of West Chester’s Old-Fashioned Christmas, is essential in funding the important work Friends Association does to improve the community,” said Catherine Friedman, the Association’s Executive Director. “All proceeds benefit the mission of Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children: preventing and ending family homelessness in our community. Thousands of families have been helped throughout the past three decades.
“We are grateful to the Marinellis for supporting this important event that helps to support the families we serve. It is so great to see guests reinforcing our work through their generosity. With everyone’s help, we were able to raise crucial funds for our programs.”
Apart from the Charity Ball, the couple donates toward Relay for Life, a community-based fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, The Salvation Army, an international charitable organization, and events at their church, Saint Agnes. They also help the Community Warehouse Project, which provides household goods and furnishings to Chester Country families and individuals in need.
“We help collect used furniture for people that are coming into the shelter,” said Fran. “We have trucks, and we help them move things when they have to.”
The couple will complete 40 years of marriage this year.
“I love my wife, but I have to say not once in all these years has she ever woken up to make me breakfast and lunch,” Fran joked.
“I am not a morning person,” said Rose. “We are opposites.”
What they undeniably agree on, however, is the need to be kind, help others, and spread love.
Click here for information about tickets to and sponsorships of the West Chester Charity Ball.