Rao Family Philanthropic Award

Established in 2018, the Rao Family Philanthropic Award is an award annually by the Montgomery County Office for Aging Foundation to an exemplary philanthropist in the community. The Rao Family have been and continue to be great friends and supporters of the Office for Aging. Dr. Rao and his wife, Jyothi, have donated not only to the local Amsterdam and Montgomery County community, but worldwide.

Hill and Markes

Hill and Markes will receive the Rao Family Philanthropic Award from the Foundation for MCOFA. Hill & Markes is a 3rd generation, family-owned local business that provides food service products, janitorial solutions, and safety items to many integral and beloved businesses throughout New York State. Hill & Markes cares deeply for the community, and being a good corporate citizen is a core pillar of the company. Over the last 115 years, they have donated to and fundraised for many organizations. As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc for all of the country and NY businesses we love, they donated hard-to-source and must-have products like PPE, sanitizers, disinfectants, toilet paper, and more to frontline employees, hospitals, and other essential workers. They supported local restaurants by creating a #TakeoutTuesday campaign to help supplement lost business during the dine-in shutdown. During the holiday seasons, they continuously partner with meals on wheels to provide to-go packaging for those in need, annually donate food to the Regional Food Bank and work with City Mission to adopt a family. They’ve collaborated with other local organizations like St. Mary’s Hospital, Centro Civico, Alpin Haus, FMCC, and Stewarts to donate 3+ pallets of food and $4,500 to Catholic Charities and have been consistent, supportive donors to the Crohns & Colitis Foundation. They donated over 1,000 backpacks and $15,000 worth of supplies to 15+ school districts in New York in 2021. Their recent partnership with NYSID has provided job opportunities for people with disabilities. Most recently, they are proud and excited to partner with FMCC and HFM BOCES on a certificate for Warehouse Supervisor and a degree in Supply Chain Management for upcoming professionals. Their sweetest community effort to date was their Halloween Trunk-or-Treat, which was open to all. Their mission is more than moving a product off a shelf, it is to be great to their people, customers, community, and earth.

Del B. Salmon

Del B. Salmon is an Elder Law Attorney with a practice in Amsterdam that focuses on Estate Planning and Administration, Wills and Trusts, Asset Protection, and Medicaid Qualification. Del has provided free legal advice and consultation as the Legal Service Provider for 23 years, authors the Legal Ease column for the OFA LIFESPAN Newsletter, and conducts regular seminars on topics of interest to seniors.

Del has single-handedly raised in excess of $65,000 over the past 23 years to supplement the limited budget of the OFA Legal Services Program so that more seniors can be served.

Del freely volunteers his time to benefit local Charitable Organizations as a fundraiser as well as a donor. Del was instrumental in the creation of the OFA Foundation and its revitalization in 2015. He secured the first Foundation donation of $150,000 from the late Helen Black, a long time OFA volunteer and supporter. Del took the lead in raising $75,000 for the OFA’s 40 for 40 Anniversary Campaign and another $75,000 for the first Burn the Mortgage Campaign. Del is a member of the OFA Foundation and the immediate past President. He has helped to grow the Foundation’s Endowment to over Two Million Dollars which includes a One Million Dollar donation from the late Frances Allen, which he secured. Del has also been involved with fundraising for Fulton Montgomery Community College (FMCC) as a Board Member since 1997 and as Board Chair from 2002-2005 and from 2013-2019. He has been influential in raising Seven Million Dollars in the last ten years for the FMCC, part of which was used to construct the Allen House, which boasts the Salmon Board Room donated by Del and his wife Randie. Del has served as a Board Member and past Board Chair of the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare. He is currently a member of the Mountain Valley Hospice Foundation and is President of the Board of the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center. Del and his wife Randie have contributed generously to support the Missions of several local Charitable Organizations.

Arkell Hall Foundation

Arkell Hall Foundation in Canajoharie has been a leader in community giving since its original formation in 1948 by Mrs. Bertelle Arkell Barbour. Mrs. Barbour created the Foundation for the dual purposes of operating the Arkell Hall Adult Home and to continue the Arkell family tradition of helping local and regional not-for-profit organizations provide needed services to their constituents.

Arkell Hall and Arkell Center continue to provide residential services in Canajoharie at the Arkell Hall Adult Home and the Arkell Center Apartments. The Arkell Center Community Center – built and operated by the Foundation, provides a broad selection of programs and services to seniors throughout the area.

The Arkell Hall giving program has, for over sixty years been a leader in in giving to local and regional institutions primarily in the areas of health care, education and community-based services. The Foundation has provided college scholarships to top Canajoharie High graduates for decades. Many of the region’s colleges and universities maintain Arkell Scholarship funds which are targeted toward students from our local area. The local hospitals have long recognized the Foundation for the considerable support it has provided for many capital campaigns and for their many general gifts. Canajoharie High School’s Arkell Performing Arts Center was made possible by a major gift from the Foundation, and the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie was a major project undertaken by the Foundation in 2005 – 2007. Innumerable local groups and organizations, including the Village of Canajoharie, other area municipalities and schools, and the Montgomery County Office for Aging, have received support from Arkell Hall Foundation for many decades, attesting to Mrs. Barbour’s foresight and the devoted and effective Trustees who have carried out her wishes over the years.

The Rao Family

This year the Foundation for Montgomery County Office for Aging will also be honoring the Rao family with the first annual Rao Family Philanthropic Award. This award recognizes a local individual, group or business that has demonstrated exceptional financial generosity, extraordinary civic and charitable responsibility and outstanding commitment to the community. The Rao family, via the Neena Rao Charitable Corporation, have been avid supporters of Office for Aging and have sponsored one year of meals each for a total of 19 clients in the Home-Delivered Meals program. Additional beneficiaries of their generous donations include: Amsterdam Free Library, Catholic Charities, Walter Elwood Museum, Amsterdam YMCA, Fulton Montgomery Community College, Centro Civico, Danielle House Homeless Shelter, Greater Amsterdam School District, Salvation Army, local Iraq war veterans’ families and the construction of the Rao Outpatient Pavilion of St. Mary’s Healthcare. The Rao family extends their philanthropic efforts to India where they have constructed a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in a 500 bed pediatric hospital as well as a five story, 1000 bed facility to house family members attending to patients of a  cancer hospital. Dr. Rao is a former recipient of our Fr. Joseph F. Girzone Crystal Pillar Award and we look forward to honoring him again for his impressive charitable work.

Intro Video

Previous Winners

Dr. Rao 2018 Acceptance

Del Salmon speech introducing the Rao Family