Patrick Pompeo says the reason he and his wife, Caroline, give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is simple: “I know St. Jude is going to use my gift to do the right thing.”
Strong supporters of St. Jude for many years, the New Jersey couple chooses to direct some of their generous giving through their donor advised fund, which they established with a major financial services firm.
They have enjoyed their relationships with regional St. Jude representatives over the years — hosting them in their home and learning about the important work of the hospital. The Pompeos especially appreciate knowing how they have been able to have an impact on the children and families at St. Jude.
Mr. Pompeo retired in 2001 from Blimpie, an international sandwich shop chain. When his brother-in-law founded the company in the 1960s, Mr. Pompeo was working on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, but his relative wanted him to join the growing business. “I had experience working at an Italian deli for five years,” said Mr. Pompeo. “I knew cold cuts. I knew food.” Finally, in 1975, he decided to leave Wall Street and join Blimpie, beginning his second career that spanned more than two-and-a-half decades.
The Pompeos keep busy by spending time with their daughter and three granddaughters, gardening, volunteering at their parish food pantry, and collecting coupons for weekly shopping to keep the pantry well stocked.
Mr. Pompeo originally began giving to St. Jude because of Danny Thomas. “I watched Make Room for Daddy,” he explained. “I loved the show and I loved Danny. One day he was doing an interview, and he shared his story about praying to St. Jude to make it in show business — and how he built the hospital as a shrine to St. Jude. He made such an impression on me.”
When I became successful, I thought I should also do something for St. Jude. I discussed it with my wife and we have been contributing to the hospital since then.
Mr. Pompeo explains that in giving to St. Jude, he never had goals or ambitions. "It is just simple giving. I never doubt St. Jude and how they use the money,” he said. “We are contributing to a great organization to help children.
“We just wanted to do something good for somebody.”