The Volunteers Behind the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation
Here are some of the credentials, achievements and interests of the folks who work hard to make life a little easier for students in need.
Peter Whitehouse - President
Peter and his wife, Pat, cofounded the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation (CWF) in 1999 after the tragic loss of their son, Christopher. Christopher was pursuing his Ph.D. in Psychology and had a strong desire to help students in need. Using that as their inspiration, Peter and Pat started the foundation based on two principles: first, identify students who need assistance through people who know them best - such as school guidance counselors and second, keep the names of the students anonymous. Those guiding principles have allowed the foundation to influence hundreds of young people.
Peter is a Staten Island native and received an athletic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame where his love of education and track took root. His track achievements are legendary and include setting the record as the highest point scorer in UND history; earning first team All-America honors by placing second in the 110-meter high hurdles in the NCAA championship and qualifying for and running in the 1964 Olympic trials. Peter was also the recipient of the William D. Reynolds Award from UND for “a life of service as an educator, volunteer, founder and current President of the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation.
After graduating from UND, Peter pursued his dual careers of teaching history and coaching track & field. He continues both careers and is an active member of the Notre Dame Club and a leader and guiding presence in all aspects of track & field on Staten Island.
Patricia Whitehouse - Co-founder &
Pat was a lifelong resident of Staten Island and attended Notre Dame Academy and earned her bachelor’s degree in English from St. John’s University. She was a naturally inspired teacher who also pursued her lifelong passion as an artist.
After teaching for many years in the NYC school system and raising her three sons, Pat concentrated on developing her skill as a watercolor artist. She attended the Art Students League in Manhattan and perfected her specialization in Chinese watercolor techniques by participating in several university sponsored art trips to China. She continued teaching at Art Lab at Snug Harbor and for the UFT and her works have been exhibited in numerous galleries in New York City including the Salmagundi Art Club.
Pat was well known by her family and friends for constantly sending individually painted cards tailored for each person and always including inspirational quotations. By doing that, she found a unique way of combining her lifelong love of painting and teaching and sharing her gifts with others. Her cards have been treasured by many as reminders of how she expressed her love.
After their son Christopher died, Pat and Peter decided to start the CWF as an effective way of continuing Christopher’s focus on helping students in need. She served as Vice President of the Foundation from its inception in 1999 until her passing in 2018.
Peg Ventrudo - Vice President
Peg is a lifelong resident of Staten Island and is now a Vice President of the board of the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation assisting in the approval of grants for students in need and helping coordinate the annual Hesburgh Lecture Series.
Her professional life has been spent teaching high school math and coordinating an honors program for over 28 years. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Georgian Court University and her graduate degree in teaching high school math from the City University of New York.
She says that knowing the Whitehouse family “you cannot help but be drawn in by their dedication and generosity”. It is very rewarding work and an honor to be part of the effort to continue the work of their son, Christopher. The grants awarded by the CWF help to make a difference in the lives of so many high school students who are in need of everyday things that many of us take for granted.
Joseph Marotta- Treasurer
Joseph is native born Staten Islander, Joe grew up in the neighborhood of Bay Terrace and is the product of Staten Island’s public schools. He ran track at Tottenville HS and was the recipient of several student/athletic scholarships. After graduation in 1986 Joe accepted one of those coveted scholarships and made the journey down the NJ Turnpike to Villanova University where he earned a degree in political science. A commission as a Marine Corps officer followed and he served in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and Mogadishu, Somalia. Discharged as a Captain in 1997, Joe began a career in the financial sector. He currently works for Merrill Lynch, is a Certified Financial Planner™, and as a partner on a wealth management team in Florham Park, NJ. He lives in Glen Ridge, NJ with his wife Ylonka and their three children Cristina, Joseph, and Sophia.As a childhood friend and HS teammate of Chris Whitehouse, Joe has always appreciated the candor, kindness, and unconditional friendship that Chris gave, and looks forward to continuing Chris’ legacy of generosity.
David Whitehouse - Secretary
David grew up on Staten Island with his older brothers Christopher and Peter and attended Tottenville High School. As a “Whitehouse”, running was naturally in his blood and he received several honors in the sport including: the SI Advance All-Star (Track & Cross Country); two-time NYC-PSAL Mile Run Champion and he represented NYC in the Empire State Games Decathlon. He attended the University of Georgia on a track scholarship and later transferred to SUNY Cortland where he earned his BA in Sociology.
David now lives in New Jersey where he owns and operates a commercial business. His lifelong focus on physical fitness and running has never stopped and he’s coached summer track camps for students from SI and is an active member of the SI running community regularly participating in their annual races.
Serving now as Secretary of the CWF foundation, David is continuing his personal commitment to helping students.
Marty is a graduate of St Peter’s Boys HS, SI, class of 1969 and Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY, class of 1973. He is currently retired from his career as Tax Compliance Agent, the NYC Dept. of Labor. Over the years, Marty has been and continues to be one of the most active volunteers in Staten Island community events. In addition to his work at the Whitehouse Foundation, Marty is an Hibernian (the Richmond County Ancient Order of Hibernians), SI Special Olympics organizer and Notre Dame Club of Staten Island member. Marty is one of the most recognized personalities in Staten Island road running circles, and can usually be found working at the finish line of most local races.
Marty has been married to Ann Alfano McGowan since 1991. He and Ann have one child, Matthew Vincent, who was born in 1996.
Kathy Hardy, Ph.D
Kathy is an Executive Director at IBM, Kathy held a variety of senior positions including heading up the Academic Information Systems (ACIS) group which interfaced with all IBM’s higher education customers across the country. After retiring from IBM, Kathy was named Vice President of Organization Development at Footstar, Inc. while earning her Ph.D. at Columbia University.
Kathy and her sister, Pat Whitehouse, and their two brothers grew up on Staten Island and though she moved often for IBM (aka the “I’ve Been Moved”) company, she always maintained strong ties with Staten Island. She and her husband, Joe, lived in Westchester County, NY for many years and recently moved to NJ and they both share a strong commitment to helping others. She’s been a volunteer for Pro-Literacy for over 20 years and currently also volunteers as a teacher offering free citizenship classes for people seeking to become citizens via the naturalization process.
Serving as a CWF board member, she feels privileged to help continue the example Christopher set of identifying students in need and finding ways to help each of them achieve their own personal success.
Samantha was born in Brooklyn and raised on Staten Island where she graduated from Tottenville High School and was a classmate of Christopher Whitehouse. Upon graduating from the State University at Binghamton in 1990 with a BA in Philosophy, Sam began what would become a 30+ year career in the magazine publishing industry starting at Rodale Press which is now part of the Hearst Corporation. She is currently the General Manager of the Men’s and Enthusiast Group at Hearst Magazine Media which includes the legacy brands, Esquire and Popular Mechanics, as well as the acquired Rodale titles, Men’s Health, Runner’s World and Bicycling.
Sam has been a member of the CWF Board of Directors since 2016 and feels it is an honor and privilege to be working alongside fellow board members, granting students in need the means to access things to help them succeed academically and to take part in activities every student should have the right to access.
Anne holds a B.S. degree in Biology from The College of Staten Island as well as an A.A.S. degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from S.U.N.Y. Delhi. She is a licensed Clinical Laboratory Technologist in the State of New York, a Six Sigma Greenbelt and a Certified Customer Relations Trainer. Over her 30+ year career, Anne has held a variety of Management positions in clinical laboratories. Her current position is at the Bio-Reference Laboratories in Elmwood Park, N.J. where she is their Compliance Officer for the Phlebotomy Dept. While at Quest Diagnostics Stat Laboratory in Manhattan, Anne was awarded the company’s Compliance Award.
Anne was named a Woman of the Year in 2013 by the National Association of Professional Women and is an active member of the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club of Staten Island.
Michele grew up on Staten Island, and attended Tottenville high school with her classmate and friend Christopher and it was there her lifelong focus on physical fitness began. Her track coach, Peter Whitehouse, helped her develop a love for running which continues to this day. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree from Wagner College with academic and athletic scholarships.
Michele and her husband have two sons and live in NJ. When her sons were young, Michele volunteered on PTA boards, school committees and athletic teams. During her career, she was an Administrative Manager, a teacher’s assistant working with special education students and for more than 10 years now she’s been working at Riverview Medical Center as an ICU Cardiac Monitor Technician.
Michele has a strong link with the CWF by sharing its commitment to helping students.
Luci Paul, Ph.D
Luci was an experimental psychologist in the Department of Psychology at Temple
University in Philadelphia and Temple's first Director of Women's Studies. Part of her commitment to student achievement was her interest in educational policy and curriculum and she served on and headed relevant committees at Department,
College and University levels. Now retired, she is Associate Professor Emerita.
In addition to her research, she was always committed to enabling students to do
their best by extending help or eliminating barriers. That might entail
spending extra office hours for tutoring or engaging in discussions of material or
current issues, It often meant encouraging students to do even better than they had
done or providing slack to students with personal problems such as a sick child or
insufficient money for textbooks.
A resident of Staten Island, she was honored to become a member of the Board of
CWF because of its commitment to enabling students. Her concern is rooted in her
roots growing up in a lower middle-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh where she
saw how important education was to a successful adult life and became very aware
of the kinds of impediments, material and psychological, that kept kids from
achieving what they were capable of.
She views CWF as a marvelous way to give students the boost they need in tough times and knows that sometimes the small things, such as a CWF grant, can give hope and inspiration to overcome.
Bob Griswold, D.D.S
Bob Griswold grew up in Hornell, New York and graduated from the University of
Notre Dame and NYU’s College of Dentistry. He and his wife, Peggy, are long-
time Staten Islanders and have raised four children. In addition to practicing
dentistry on Staten Island since 1978, Bob has been active in numerous charitable
activities serving the community as well as offering his professional services.
His charitable endeavors have included examples like volunteering after 9/11 for
the forensic dental effort of the Manhattan Medical Examiner’s Office, co-
founding the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island the Bread-of-Life Food Drive
(BOLD) which serves the hungry on S I and has become a country wide program.
Bob has also had a lifelong focus serving the disabled and disadvantaged such as
with the Special Olympics, the Seton Foundation, On your Mark and the Seaman’s
Society. He founded the Staten Island Special Olympics Swim Meet at the Hillside
Swim Club which has become a tri-state program.
Pride in his Irish heritage has been evidenced by his long membership in the
Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) where he directed the effort to create the first
annual S I St. Patrick’s Day parade. He’s been named “Irishman of the Year” in
2011 by the Richmond County AOH and was selected in 2012 as the Richmond
County Aide to the Grand Marshal of the NYC parade.
Bob joined the Board of Directors of the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation when
it was formed is proud of the wonderful work it does for students in need.
James S. Hazard
James has degrees from CCNY (B.S.) Fordham Law and St. John’s. He operates a consulting firm offering “Expert witness, arbitrator/mediation and litigation support”. He is also a card-carrying actor with membership in Actors Equity, SAG and AFTRA. Jim is a member of the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island and has a personal interest in students with “coping issues”, many of which the Whitehouse Foundation seeks to ease.
Mary lives in New Springville and is a parishioner at the church of St Rita. She graduated from Bay Ridge HS and is retired from THE MONY LIFE INS CO, ( AXA EQUITABLE), where she was the executive secretary to the vice president.
She was concurrently employed for about fifteen years, by a family owned boutique which sold high-end men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. She was a fundraiser for “MY RED HATTER FRIENDS” who helped raise funds for the Alzheimer’s group and the South Shore Rotary Club. CLUB. Mary also worked for other charities and was a hospital volunteer. She remains active in NORTH SHORE FOR BREAST CANCER and the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF ITALIAN-AMERICAN WOMEN.
Francine has been married to her husband Richard for 48 years. They have two children and three grandchildren. She graduated from St. Rita's School, Port Richmond High School, Wood Business School, and Orange County Community College where she received an Associate in Applied Science/Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. She worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at Horton Memorial Hospital in Middletown, NY. She was an administrative assistant to the Honorable Norman C. Morse and the Legal Secretarial Coordinator for Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in NYC. She has been the Secretary for the Port Richmond High School Alumni Association for the past 8 years and taught a Sherlock Holmes class for 10 years at the College of Staten Island Options Program. She is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars, a Sherlock Holmes literary society. In addition to being involved in many projects for the Irregulars, she conducts interviews for The Baker Street Irregulars Oral History Project, whose archives are located at Harvard University.
Tom is a lifelong resident of Staten Island and has been associated with the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation for many years and has been a board member for over five years. The last three years, he has coordinated the Hesburgh Lecture Series for the Foundation. This involves securing faculty members from the University of Notre Dame to come to Staten Island and speak on topics that are of interest to our community.
He graduated from Baruch College with a degree in Business Administration and professionally, spent over forty years in sales and marketing with major American corporations.
Working with the foundation, he’s seen firsthand the difference the CWF grants have made in the lives of so many young students. One can sometimes change the direction taken by a high school student!
Michele Zani Foreback
Michele is a Tottenville High School graduate who trained under Chris' father Pete. She went on to continue her academic and athletic career at Syracuse University where she earned a four year scholarship and a BS in Education. After graduation, she entered the field of teaching while continuing her education at Syracuse. In 1997, she earned a MA in Reading Education. She has worked as a teacher in several school districts teaching various grades from Kindergarten through seventh grade. Over the years as a teacher, Michele has worked in areas effected by poverty and has witnessed first hand how the generosity of others can turn a child's life around. She is committed to the foundation and along with Joseph Marotta has helped expand the scope to reach students in New Jersey as well as Staten Island.
Kevin Zazzera is an attorney in private practice focusing on consumer bankruptcy in the courts of New York and New Jersey. Celebrating over 25 years as a solo practitioner, he has helped thousands of clients on Staten Island. He grew up on Staten Island and graduated from Tottenville High School and then attended Stony Brook University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, he went on to attend California Western School of Law in San Diego and earned his Juris Doctorate and was admitted to practice before the courts in California, before coming back east to take the NY and NJ bar exams.
As an attorney focused primarily on consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure defense, Kevin is especially sensitive to the economic difficulties facing families in everyday life on Staten Island, He considers himself very fortunate to be involved with the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation and is a strong believer in the amazing work that it does to help children of families who are dealing with economic hardships.