November 14, 2014

National Philanthropy Day 2014

On November 10, 2014, the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored local individuals, foundations and businesses by presenting awards as part of National Philanthropy Day.


National Philanthropy Day is a special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities and our world. At the luncheon, the following individuals and organizations will be honored for their outstanding philanthropic commitment to our region by providing their unwavering support and leadership to engage others in community involvement.


Two Saginaw area individuals were presented with awards: Dr. K.P. Karunakaran, M.D. (Dr. Karu) received the Outstanding Philanthropist award and Jaylon Vinson, Bridgeport High School Junior received the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award. Saginaw business Hausbeck Pickle Company was presented with the Outstanding Corporation award.




Dr. K.P. Karunakaran, M.D. (Dr. Karu)

Outstanding Philanthropist


Dr. K.P. Karunakaran, known by his patients and his community as simply Dr. Karu, learned from an early age the importance of giving back. He was born to a family of nine children in the small Indian village of Kuthanur – a village without electricity or running water. He watched his father, a farmer and philosopher, help feed hungry villagers from his stores of grain and provide them with drinkable water. Leading by example, his father taught him the importance of giving back and having a joy for life.


Dr. Karu attended college and medical school at Madras University in India before moving to the United Kingdom to further his training and residencies at the Royal College of Surgeons. In the mid-1970s, Dr. Karu was a resident Harlem Hospital Center in New York City and then a fellow at Tuffs University School of Medicine in Boston. In 1978, Dr. Karu made his way to Saginaw establishing a practice specializing in general surgery and family medicine. He is a staff surgeon at St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant HealthCare. He also serves as Chair of the SVSU Foundation board.


Dr. Karu believes in service before self and practices the Indian values of togetherness and family. He believes it is vital to share knowledge and is often quoted by his family and peers. He believes education and information are key for people to improve their everyday lives.


Constantly seeking ways to give back and help, Dr. Karu helped establish the Indo-Pak Friendship Society – a society formed to promote fellowship among members of the Indian-American and Pakistani-American communities. He founded the K. P. Karunakaran Family Foundation at the Saginaw Community Foundation responsible for helping countless initiatives and nonprofit agencies across the region. He created an endowed scholarship at Saginaw Valley State University to assist and encourage students in India to come to the United States and SVSU to pursue degrees. And most recently, he is serving as president of the new Tri-City Hindu Temple – the northern most in Michigan – which will provide a place for worship and feature a medical clinic providing free health screenings and services to the community.


When Dr. Karu looks back on his philanthropic endeavors, he simply says: “I haven’t done enough. I still have more to give.”




Jaylon Vinson

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy


Jaylon Vinson is filled with a can-do spirit. The Bridgeport High School Junior has logged hundreds of hours of volunteer work, following the advice of his mother to “get out and help anyway you can.”


An active member of his church – New Life Ministries – Jaylon has volunteered at many church events including Thanksgiving in July, Christmas in July and as a group leader with a Summer Youth Program. He assisted at his Uncle LaMarr Woodley’s Summer Youth Football Camp in Saginaw doing anything that was asked of him. He has volunteered at the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk by staffing a registration table and working inside the Survivors Tent.


He also participates as a member of FORCE, the Youth Advisory Council at the Saginaw Community Foundation, as a School Ambassador and is responsible for recruiting members to join FORCE as well as speaking to classmates about volunteer opportunities.


Jaylon has even volunteered out-of-state at Cradle Beach Camp – a camp for special needs children in Angola, New York – serving as a Pioneer Camper since age 15.


Jaylon belongs to the National Honors Society and is a member of the Bridgeport High School Student Council. As a council member, he helps coordinate school dances, fundraisers and local college visits for high school seniors. Jaylon’s future plans include pursuing a nursing degree at CMU or music industry management degree at Ferris State University.  



Hausbeck Pickle Company

Outstanding Corporation


A third generation family business founded in Saginaw in 1923, Hausbeck Pickle Company honors its deep roots in the Great Lakes Bay Region by giving back. The company has provided support for such organizations as Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Saginaw YMCA, Stevens Family Business Center at SVSU, Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square, Saginaw Arts and Enrichment Commission, Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and New ERA Community Group.