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Karen DiCarlo Of Santa Claus, Inc. Wins Spirit Of The Entrepreneur Award

By Carl Dameron
Community Writer
2015-11-16 at 10:34:18
The Spirit of the Entrepreneur‘s Social Entrepreneur is Karen DiCarlo, executive director of Santa Claus, Inc. DiCarlo was presented with her award at the 13th annual awards presentation in front of an audience of 740 business and community leaders. “I am still so excited, I’m on cloud 9,” said DiCarlo. "The competition was pretty tough in our category. I was completely overwhelmed and humbled to win." DiCarlo credits Santa Claus’s win to the fact that helping children touches people’s hearts and the longevity of the organization. “I also credit the huge growth we have created over the last several years.” The annual black-tie gala event recognizes the leadership, innovation and business acumen of Inland Empire entrepreneurs. The event was held at the Riverside Convention Center to celebrate and honor Inland Empire entrepreneurs. “It was another great event,” said Dr. Mike Stull, founding organizer of the event and director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship. “The goal is to recognize the best, have fun and be inspired by the region's top entrepreneurial success stories. I am still in awe of how many great entrepreneurs we have in this region” The evening’s festivities included networking, entertainment from Wonderworld Cirque and a troupe of mimes, at what is now being called "The Oscars of Local Business". DiCarlo is very happy with Santa Claus, Inc’s growth of service to children. “We served 18,000 children in 2012, and so far this year 72,000 children have been served by our year round projects.” Santa Claus, Inc’s growth is still happening. DiCarlo says they are headed towards serving 100,000 children this year. “We will serve 15,000 children or about 6,000 families this year during the Christmas season”, said DiCarlo. Year round children services provided by Santa Claus, Inc. include backpacks loaded with school supplies; Distribution of 27,000 pairs of Sketchers shoes to children in need; providing clothes, hats, shoes, coats and toys to needy children and the Birthday Bag program for children whose parents can’t afford to give them a birthday present. We are also happy to be partnered with the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in a project called All My Own. This mission gives children in foster care or who are all alone in the hospital who have nothing to call their own – clothes, coats, hats, toys blankets, a teddy bear, etc. “We are also working on a new service project with local law enforcement to get homeless families with children, single women and veterans off the streets and into hotel rooms. “The goal is for the family to stay in the hotel for a night or two while law enforcement connects them with social organizations that help them to get into more permanent housing and begin to put their lives back together”, said DiCarlo. Santa Claus, Inc’s growth is credited by DiCarlo to a hard working group of volunteers. The non-profit volunteers include a committed board of directors. They are: Board Chairman - Larry O'Nan, Kathleen Albrektson, Attorney at Law, Kendra Dockham, C.P.A., Jana Schweppe-Herrera, Executive Director, Villas at San Bernardino, Margie Miller - Owner and Editor, City News Group, Tony Lourenco, Psychiatric Social Worker, Don DiCarlo, Business Executive “Santa Claus, Inc.’s extraordinary volunteers really make the magic happen! With an army of 2,000 volunteers nationwide and a core group of over 50 working every week at the workshop, Santa Claus, Inc. pulls off the impossible! Without our invaluable volunteers Santa Claus, Inc. would not exist,” said DiCarlo.

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