They say to give and you shall receive, but Anna gives simply because it feels good. She firmly believes that everyone has a responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. And she doesn't just believe this, she lives it. In addition to her namesake charity, Benson's Battalion, Anna stays involved in countless charitable endeavors. Her charitable resume demonstrates her passion and commitment to philanthropic endeavors.
After relocating to Pittsburgh, PA back in 1999 with husband Kris Benson, Anna started by working with local charities like the Mars Home for Youth and the local chapter of the Salvation Army. It wasn't long before she was involved with the Battered Women's Shelter, the Butler County Humane Society, the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Read Around Pittsburgh, and Saint Barnabas Hospital. Anna always makes volunteer work personal by getting to know the people whom she helps and, subsequently, maintaining personal relationships with them. While volunteering at Saint Barnabas, Anna met a very special patient named Joe Palumbo who suffered from Cerebral Palsy. Joe had an idea for a new program called Presents for Patients that would provide donated presents for patients in nursing homes. Joe passed away shortly after spearheading the new program, but Anna and Kris diligently carried out his dream. They remained prominent figures in the Presents for Patients program for years until relocating to the Atlanta area in 2004.
Like the rest of the world, the tragedy of September 11 horrified Anna and her family. But it also supercharged her altruistic desires. She immediately donated 50k to the Salvation Army, the United Way, and the Red Cross, for families of the victims. But feeling helpless, Anna also decided to start her own charity. Using 100k of her own money, she initiated Benson's Battalion, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting terrorism through local police, fire, and public safety organizations. The Battalion has diligently provided necessary equipment and supplies, such as computers and bulletproof vests, to aforementioned groups in order to better help them serve and protect. In February of 2004, Congresswoman Melissa Hart honored Benson's Battalion in Congress for their efforts fighting terrorism.
The Battalion is not the only organization that continues to thrive because of Anna's passion for charity. New York welcomed Anna with open arms as she continued to bring good works to one of the most important cities in the world. When her husband Kris signed his contract with the Mets, Anna couldn't help but get involved. Thanks to her power of persuasion and a little persistence, Anna got the Mets to agree to an extra million dollars to be used exclusively for charitable purposes. Half of the money is helping local protection agencies through the Battalion, but the other half is being used for charities throughout New York, and soon after Kris’s subsequent trade to the Orioles, in Baltimore as well - on behalf of the Mets Foundation and the Orioles Foundation. Anna makes sure that everyone benefits from her and her husbands successes.
Anna continued to work with several charitable organizations in New York. She donated 50k to Tuesday's Children, an organization dedicated to helping the children who lost parents during September 11, 2001. She also contributed 25k to the Children of Chernobyl Foundation. She helped organize the first official Bring Your Dog Day at Shea Stadium with proceeds benefiting the North Shore Animal League. Back home in Atlanta, she donated 15k to the Georgia Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, a group she felt obligated to assist because of her own experiences as a teenage mom. She even put in the time to assemble more than 250 hygiene bags for displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Anna doesn't participate in charity work hoping for awards and recognition; however, it is nice to have one's work acknowledged. Anna not only is recognized for the work she does here, she was also recognized by the U.S. Army Forces of Central Command - in Saudi Arabia - for her work with Operation Enduring Freedom. Due to the care packages that she assembled and shipped to soldiers overseas, many of our troops wanted to show their gratitude. In January 2006, Anna and Kris received the New Jersey Sports Writers Award, the Thurman Munson Award, the Joan Payson Award, and the Alzheimer Foundation Award, due to their charitable works around New York. More recently, Anna helped create a special charity for a special family. Jim Duquette, former New York Mets General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations in Baltimore, has a daughter that was suffering from Nephrotic Syndrome since she was 2 ˝ years old. Anna and Jim started a foundation to help raise funds for her cause called Lindsey’s Lucky Ducks. Anna kick started the charity by personally pitching in $25,000. To this day, it continues to raise money for a cure.
But the biggest rewards that Anna and Kris receive are the countless thank you letters and kind words from the individuals whose lives they touch; the differences that they make in individual lives are the biggest payoff that they could ever hope for.
© copyright Anna Benson Enterprises.