Early in life Bob Gallivan was introduced to helping the poor through mentoring and teaching life skills to adults. He first became aware of the impact of this kind of outreach when as a young professional he volunteered to mentor in a program offered at an inner-city parish near where he lived in Buffalo.
Bob was gainfully employed at the time and able to help people who needed life skills beyond what they learned in school. He enjoyed the family atmosphere of that ministry and saw what a difference it made to the people in the groups served, appreciating that the mentoring was offered in a nonjudgmental way.
That mentoring experience early in life sparked an interest in Bob that led to the legacy giving he planned with the Catholic Foundation. The Robert M. Gallivan Charitable Endowment in the Catholic Foundation was established in 2017 to support outreach services to the poor through Catholic Charities, with a preference for programming provided at Saint Martin Center in Erie and Prince of Peace Center in Farrell. The life skills classes offered at these agencies are what impressed Bob about their programs. Both organizations have a unique way of engaging the poor and providing a broad scope of activities. Bob says, “for as long as we have these needs, I’m glad to help sustain into the future these programs that assist adults and improve their life skills.”
What Bob started with the Catholic Foundation in 2017 has led to annual grants from his endowment. They are used to help clients of both ministries in a variety of ways, including rental assistance and other emergency assistance, free breakfasts and Thanksgiving dinners, and classes specifically to help clients navigate areas of life affecting their health and overall well-being. The impact is tangible, and both clients and staff are grateful for Bob’s financial support. David González, Executive Director of Saint Martin Center, wrote in an endowment grant report, “we cannot thank you enough.”
The idea of giving beyond his lifetime through an endowment in the Catholic Foundation appeals to Bob. He also sees the need for service organizations to have annual income to keep running year to year. That's a balance about which he is thoughtful when planning his giving. Bob knows he’s helping people today with his annual gifts to the organizations he supports, while the endowment will have long term impact.
During his early days in Buffalo, Bob met his wife, Marion, with whom he recently celebrated a 50th anniversary. After leaving Buffalo they lived a few other places as Bob pursued his career as a research chemist. His work eventually brought them to Erie. Bob is a member of Saint Jude the Apostle Parish. Active as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and in other ways in the parish community, Bob’s faith is a constant in his life, as is his energy. On a recent day, after morning Mass and breakfast Bob was going to exercise at the gym, then helping to set up the Rocks and Minerals Show, where he would volunteer most of the weekend. Bob is also a loyal volunteer for the Friends of Erie County Library. In addition to being a leader of the annual Great American Book Sale in Erie for many years, he is a “regular” on site at the Blasco Memorial library in Erie at least once a week. Soft spoken and humble, Bob says, “If the good Lord gives me the health and strength to keep moving, then there must be more for me to do.”
“For as long as we have these needs, I’m glad to help sustain into the future these programs that assist adults and improve their life skills.”