NPD 2018 Honoree Profiles

2018 Outstanding Philanthropist

Diane_Sauer_Pic.jpgDiane R. Sauer

Diane R. Sauer was born and raised in Coldwater, Ohio, and is a graduate of Coldwater High School. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Upon graduation, Sauer took a job as an accounting clerk at Martin Chevrolet in Warren, Ohio, a move that would set her on a successful career path in the retail automotive business. In 1994, Sauer became the dealer and by 2004, she owned the dealership, renaming it Diane Sauer Chevrolet. Today, her son, Matthew, works for the business and daughter, Gretchen, is employed by the Ford Motor Company.

In 2000, Sauer permanently endowed the Diane R. Sauer Undergraduate Scholarship at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business which supports students from Trumbull and Mercer counties (her current home and childhood home, respectively) who are pursuing degrees in non-traditional fields. In 2015, she and her husband opened an endowment fund at the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley for local projects and initiatives. In 2016, they endowed the Kurt and Diane Sauer Scholarship at Youngstown State University.

Diane has been a philanthropist for the majority of her life. She has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Warren since 1988. Her most important civic achievement was spearheading the Rotary River Walk fundraising initiative for the creation of the Warren Community Amphitheatre, launched while she was president. For 20 years, Sauer has been a member of Trumbull 100, a group dedicated to improving the quality of life in Trumbull County and to ensure its bright future, and provided guidance and leadership for the United Way of Trumbull County, serving on the Board of Directors, Campaign Chairman and numerous committees.

Diane has been very supportive of the mission of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Youngstown, acting as an integral part of the successful Diocesan capital campaign. She established a fund the Diocese of Youngstown (DOY) Foundation to support her local church parish, Blessed Sacrament.

In 2005, she assisted with the Trumbull Memorial capital campaign for a new building, donated to each of our two local hospitals in Trumbull County - Trumbull Memorial (now Trumbull Regional Medical Center) and St. Joseph Warren Hospital.

In addition to those listed above, Diane has provided leadership and/or personal monetary donations to the Children's Rehabilitation Center Foundation, Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp, Forum Health, Warren Education, Cultural and Civic Foundation, Trumbull Memorial Hospital Foundation, Trumbull County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

The work that she has done, and continues to do, inspires us all to be better stewards of our time and resources. She doesn't just give, she gets involved. She has raised the bar when it comes to leadership and making a difference for the causes she is passionate about. She does all of this with grace, humility, a sense of humor, and the recognition that we need to work together to make a difference.


2018 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group

Recipes of Youngstown

Nearly 40 years ago the economic downturn in the Youngstown area sent Don and Bobbi Allen to California to raise their 3 small children.  It was always considered temporary, as Youngstown would always be “home”.

Over the years, Bobbi’s mother, Betty, would visit and they would spend hours recreating some of their favorite Youngstown recipes.  The memories Bobbi and Don grew up with brought curious children to the table to listen to the tales of “too much salt”, “not enough sugar”, and to laugh at the adults trying to remember a recipe made from “handfuls of this and a pinch of that”.  Sadly, Betty succumbed to the last of many strokes in January of 2010. 

A few years later, Bobbi joined social media to keep in touch with children, grandchildren, family and friends scattered all over the world.   She thought it might even be a way to get recipes for those Youngstown dishes she remembered so fondly, but had no idea what ingredients to use. 

In April 2013, Bobbi started “Recipes of Youngstown” with 11 relatives and friends reluctantly added as members.   The rules were simple; no internet recipes, just tried and true food made with the love of generations of Youngstown’s proud people.  Membership grew to over 1,000.

 In September of 2013, Bobbi and Don moved back home.   When membership reached close to 2,000 there were too many recipes and memories to search easily, so the idea of a cookbook was tossed around over good food, a little wine and a Facebook page that was flooded with ideas.

Book One was dedicated to replacing the water wheel at Lanterman’s Mill.  Members hoped to raise $5000 to generate interest from the community, and perhaps raise more through donations. To date, the water wheel has been replaced and the proceeds from that book are over $82,000.  

With the success of the first book, membership grew along with more recipes and wonderful memories making a second book necessary.   Mahoning Valley Historical Society needed to fund the catering kitchen at Tyler History Center on Federal Street in Youngstown.  The kitchen is proudly dedicated to the members of “Recipes of Youngstown”.   The Historical Society continues to collect proceeds on Book Two.  It has raised in excess of $70,000.

Book Three is dedicated to the “Recipes of Youngstown Scholarship Fund” at YSU.  The scholarship will help our Youngstown Veterans and is administered by the University.  The Recipe group partnered with MVHS to raise over $20,000 to date.  The goal is $100,000.

“Recipes of Youngstown” now boasts 12,000 members who share memories, recipes and even helpful hints when needed.  They all have a connection with our beloved Youngstown, and even though they are scattered all over the world, they are one family, dedicated to keeping alive sweet memories of life in Youngstown


2018 Legacy Award Honorees

Dr. Thomas D.Y. Fok
Dr. Maria M. Leung Fok

Dr. Thomas D. Y. Fok and Dr. Maria M. (Leung) Fok were educated in pre-Communist China.  Both were born in Canton, China. She earned her M.D. from National Sun-Yat-Sen University in 1942. Tom received a bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from National Tung-Chi University in 1945.  In 1947, as Mao Tse-tung’s Communist revolution strengthened in China, Tom and Maria made the life-changing decision to leave their families and homeland.  They met on a Russian freighter boat as they fled the Red Army takeover, the trip was 40 days long.

After coming to the United States, they continued to pursue their education and respective careers. Tom received his M.S. from the University of Illinois, M.B.A. from New York University 0, and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon. He accepted the position as Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Youngstown State University in 1958. During his tenure he was appointed Director of the Computing Center and he received the Walter E. & Caroline H. Watson Foundation Distinguished Professor Award. He was at YSU until 1967 when he formed a partnership business, Moser-Fok Consulting Engineers. In 1976 he became chairman of Thomas Fok and Associates, earning a reputation of excellence in engineering while also authoring numerous articles in professional journals.  In 1984, he was named Outstanding Civil Engineer by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Maria was a fellow at Western Reserve University in 1948.  She received her M.S. from George Washington University and was a resident physician at the Jewish Hospital for Chronic Diseases in New York.  From 1954-58, Maria was with the school of public health in Pittsburgh as a resident fellow then associate professor. When the Foks came to the Mahoning Valley, she spent one year as an intern at Trumbull Memorial Hospital and then from 1959-2004 she was a resident at Youngstown Hospital Association.  In 1960 she opened her medical office in Austintown, working as a family physician through 2004 and serving three generations of families.  She was proud to help deliver over 100 babies in her career and to have some of her research published professionally.

As they enjoyed success in their fields, they were always very grateful for the freedoms afforded to them in America. They had a deep gratitude to God for everything they were able to achieve in their lives.  They felt an obligation to express this gratitude by generously supporting their church, their community, the political process and other humanitarian causes. They were busy, successful professionals who chose to live very humble lives. They believed the best way to express their appreciation was through philanthropy.

Maria and Tom were members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.  Besides their generous tithing, they supported special projects, including $100,000 to name the banquet area in the parish center.  Tom served on the Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library Board from 1973-2009, so in 2002 he and Maria made a major gift to sponsor the meeting room in the Austintown Library. Tom was active in Austintown Rotary and served on the YSU Board of Trustees (chair 1981-83) and the YSU Foundation Board.

After Tom’s death in August 2013, Dr. Fok continued her philanthropy but she began looking for projects that could honor her husband as well as express her appreciation for the community that had been so welcoming and supportive of them. Just before her death in November 2014, Maria made arrangements in her estate to donate $2.5 million to Youngstown State University and $500,000 to the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.  YSU renamed the Alumni House on Wick Avenue Fok Hall and establish the Thomas and Maria Fok Scholarship.  In 2014 MVHS named the main gallery in the Tyler History Center the Drs. Thomas and Maria Fok Exhibit Gallery. Through these commitments, the legacy of the Foks generosity will live on, touching the lives of many for years to come.