We cannot possibly celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Life’s WORC without recognizing the immense contributions of Rick Del Mastro, former Chairman of the Board of Directors and board member for over 30 years.
During Rick’s tenure on the Board, spanning from the late 1980s until 2019, the agency grew from 12 homes to over 40 homes, significantly expanded the number of non-residential programs and services. The opening of the Family Center for Autism in 2015 would not have been possible without a $1 million donation solicited by Rick, but it was his hard work and devotion to our mission that led to the dedication of the FCA building in 2016, now known as the Del Mastro Pavillion.
His generosity and financial support in the form of gifts, contributions to events, donations of billboard space in Times Square, and so much more, were numerous and an incredible asset to Life’s WORC. However, Rick’s tireless efforts to support, protect and improve the lives of people with special needs are what is truly missed with his passing. Though he stepped down from the Board of Directors in June 2019, he never stepped away from everyone at Life’s WORC.
The entire Life’s WORC and Family Center for Autism community – staff, Board of Directors, program participants, residents and their families – were deeply saddened when Rick passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19. His was a life that was not only cut short, but one that deserved to be celebrated. Being deprived that opportunity last year, we are comforted knowing that a little over a year later, family and friends were able to come together to remember such a kind, caring, successful, generous soul.
In addition to his contributions to Life’s WORC, Rick was a successful entrepreneur who launched several businesses in the out-of-home advertising industry, including OOH Impact Inc., City USA, City Outdoor, City Streets and City Eventions. He was also a board member of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, which inducted him into its hall of fame in 2019. Rick was widely viewed as a pioneer in the industry and was dedicated to developing new opportunities and driving innovation in outdoor advertising.
Rick’s professional accomplishments never diminished his time or commitment to Life’s WORC. “Rick made it a point to welcome me on my very first day as CFO at Life’s WORC,” says Janet Koch, CEO. “When I was promoted to CEO, Rick became not just a professional mentor, but my personal friend. He set the perfect example for me to follow in his commitment to the Life’s WORC mission. I miss him terribly.”
With all that Rick did for others, there was only one thing he ever asked of us: He wanted us to “be the best me we can be.” His own words and actions exemplified exactly what it meant to be his “best me.” His impact on everyone at Life’s WORC and the people we support will be felt for many years to come, as we all strive to be the best we can be in his honor.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Life’s WORC, we will be sharing the stories, people and events that have made Life’s WORC the organization it is today, along with our goals and vision for the future. Thank you for celebrating with us!