Long before he was a household name, Mario Batali was a philanthropist. Whether donating his time, services or dollars, Mario has been actively involved in the charities close to his heart for many years. "Children's disease research and relief, and hunger relief," Batali says, describing which benefits he and his staff support in a recent article for The New York Times. "We do it because it feels good to do good."
Since 2003, Mario has served on the board of The Food Bank For New York City, playing an integral part in the organization's various achievements and events. Each spring, Mario and his wife Susan Cahn also organize and execute the Food Bank Can-do Awards Gala, which in 2008, thanks to Mario and Susan's efforts, raised over $1.2 million. Chef Batali also works with Meals on Wheels and City Harvest, organizations devoted to hunger relief both city and nationwide.
Recently, Mario became a founding member of the Feeding America Entertainment Council, previously America's Second Harvest. As a member of the council, Mario will help elevate the organization's profile to help make hunger relief in America a top priority in the general public's consciousness.
Chef Batali's other key campaigns are devoted to child advocacy and children's illnesses. In 2004, Mario became a celebrity supporter of Love our Children USA, a leading national grassroots organization dedicated to honoring, respecting and protecting children by empowering the public with knowledge about various cycles of abuse and victimization and, most importantly, prevention strategies.
Given Mario's love for kids, it should come as no surprise that children love Mario right back! For the last six years, Mario has had the privilege and honor of being a wish-granter for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. In addition, Mario is proud to be part of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. For over seven years Mario has participated in their annual Kids for Kids Family Carnival, raising money to support the foundation's critical research, training, and advocacy programs.