The Casey Feldman Foundation Welcomes Kelsey Butler and Matthew Thornton to the Board of Directors

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

By Melanie Riehl*

Casey and Kelsey Butler, 2008

Casey and Matt Thornton, 2006

The Casey Feldman Foundation is thrilled to announce the appointment of two new members to its board, Kelsey Butler and Matthew Thornton. Both were close to Casey and are passionate about carrying on her legacy.  Their experience and unique knowledge will help to strengthen the Foundation’s impact in awarding scholarships which promote good citizenship, combatting the epidemic of distracted driving, and supporting animal welfare.

“As we look ahead, Kelsey and Matt are outstanding additions to our Board. They’ve each been involved with The Casey Feldman Foundation for years and we are excited about the unique expertise that they bring as we continue to expand and lead the Foundation forward, ” says Dianne Anderson, co-founder of the Casey Feldman Foundation.

Kelsey was appointed to the Board in January of 2019. She and Casey met at Fordham University Lincoln Center, where they were roommates and best friends. The two also worked together on the student newspaper, The Observer and Kelsey has been working with Foundation on its Fordham and Observer scholarship programs for some time.

Kelsey carried out her passion for journalism after graduation, and is a reporter and editor living in New Jersey today. Her work has appeared in a number of outlets, including NBC News, Women’s Health, Brides, and Prevention. Coming from a strong background in journalism and communications, Kelsey hopes to use her skills to boost the visibility of the Foundation and reach more individuals like Casey.

Kelsey is Committed to Making This World a Better Place

Kelsey is committed to making the world a better place, like Casey always aimed to do — and is dedicated to educating others on the dangers of distracted driving. Inspired by Casey’s passion to help others, Kelsey supports a number of causes, including refugee and immigrant rights, as well as advocates for sexual assault survivors. “One of the things that I admired most about Casey was how she threw herself into whatever she did, whether it was volunteering at an animal shelter or working hard on news stories that exposed abuse, or other tough issues that deserved attention. She has inspired me to double down on causes that are important to me, as well as fighting to end distracted driving so that no other family or friend group has to lose an important part of their circle,” explained Kelsey.

Even though she is in a new position with the Foundation, Kelsey’s goals remain the same. “The number one goal for me is to fight distracted driving every day — no one should have to experience that loss because of a text message or a missed GPS turn. I also want to make sure that we continue to support causes that meant a lot to Casey: animal welfare and journalism among them. We lost an amazing person in July 2009, and I want to help carry on her legacy in any way that I can, as well as let people in on the full, fun, bright, happy, strong person that she was.”

Matt Hopes to Put the Best Foot Forward in Helping Those Less Fortunate

Matt was Casey’s boyfriend of more than three years, meeting when they attended Springfield High School together. Matt was appointed to the Board in January of 2020, and hopes to “help others drive without distraction, foster cooperation among diverse groups, and put the best foot forward in helping others who are less fortunate.”

Matt brings financial and volunteer experience to the Board as a graduate of The Penn State Smeal College of Business. He currently works for J.P. Morgan Chase as a Trust Portfolio Manager. He has been active in environmental cleanups, volunteer financial education classes, and is a 3 gallon Red Cross blood donor.

Matt has worked with the Foundation since its inception in 2009, participating in and volunteering on days of service, which are held on the anniversary of Casey’s death. Matt has also played a significant role in reviewing and awarding annual Foundation scholarships for Springfield High School and the Greater Philadelphia Cappies.

Matt describes Casey as “one of the most unique, loving, and good-hearted people who has ever influenced my life … When we’d call each other at night in college she’d always be telling me about how she was chasing down complex stories for The Observer or that she went and volunteered at a women’s shelter or at Animal Haven no-kill shelter. She had formed some strong convictions before many of her peers knew the same about themselves and I greatly admired that about her.” Casey was driven and passionate, and the Foundation aims to award like-minded students and open up a world of possibilities for them.

Casey’s Influence Continues to Impact Matt’s Life

“Her death left me with one of the most empty feelings of my life. She was the first person in my life that I lost, someone with whom I had shared so much, and whose influence still has an impact on me today. She also inspired me to impact those around me in much the same way she had when she was alive. I started volunteering more, both with her memorial Day of Service as well as by donating blood to the Red Cross, and doing environmental cleanups in Delaware where I moved once out of college. In those moments I always found a way to center myself and hold her memory close,” Matt explained.

With this new position, Matt hopes to use his financial expertise, volunteer experience, and relationship with Casey to expand the Foundation with much more consistency over the coming years; “I hope that by serving as a Foundation board member I can bring some new ideas, a passionate voice, and a profound respect to her memory … I consider it to be an immense honor to still be involved in carrying the good of her life forward, even out of the tragedy of her death.”

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*Melanie Riehl is a sophomore Communications and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. She serves as a Copy Editor on the executive board of Fordham’s student newspaper, The Observer.

The Casey Feldman Foundation Welcomes Two New Board Members

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

By Morgan Steward*

The Casey Feldman Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of two new board members to the Foundation’s board of directors: John Bair and Janine Repka. The Board provides the Casey Feldman Foundation leadership for carrying out the Foundation’s mission to provide financial support to individuals, groups, and institutions whose interests and goals align with those of Casey. This includes providing scholarships to deserving students and promoting safe driving through our sponsored site, EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving).

Janine Repka is the Assistant Director of Leadership Giving at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. She has previously worked at Mount Sinai Health Systems as a major gift coordinator and then project manager and at Atlantic Theater Company as manager of individual giving and special events.

Janine’s relationship with the Feldman family began back in 2006 when she and Casey were randomly selected to be roommates at Fordham University their freshman year. The two immediately hit it off, becoming best friends and choosing to remain roommates the following two years, until the time of Casey’s death. Prior to being asked to officially join the Board, Repka has worked with the Foundation on a variety of projects, including writing blog posts, managing their social media accounts and giving presentations about the dangers of distracted driving at high schools and museums in Pennsylvania.

Coming from a career in nonprofit fundraising, Repka hopes to put those skills she has developed in her personal career to good use at the Casey Feldman Foundation. She looks forward to expanding fundraising and scholarship opportunities as well as promoting Casey’s story and inspiring others to examine their dangerous driving habits.”I am thrilled to be able to continue to honor Casey’s life through working more closely with the Foundation,” said Janine.

John Bair is the owner and founder of Milestone Consulting, the co-founder (along with his wife Amy) of the Bairs Foundation, and an active member of the Association for Justice (AAJ) . Bair first became connected with Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson (founders of the Foundation) in 2010, right after the launch of EndDD.org. Casey’s story really resounded with Bair, whose daughter was a freshman in high school at that time, and he seized the opportunity to get involved with the organization.

Bair is joining the Board with three fundamental strategic issues he hopes to tackle. First, he hopes to advise and counsel the founders in an attempt to help them actualize their long-term goals for the Casey Feldman Foundation. Secondly, he hopes to fundraise for the Foundation to create a viable and systematic flow of money into the Foundation so that the organization can fully focus on spreading awareness and teaching others the dangers of driving distracted. Finally, Bair hopes to help the Foundation network throughout the country to recruit other strong willed advocates to support the organization in whichever ways they are capable.

“I didn’t appreciate how much of an epidemic we were sitting in the middle of,” Bair explained when asked why he ready to take on a bigger role in the Foundation. “Being exposed to Joel and Dianne’s loss— Casey being killed— was a wakeup call. I recognized that I was an unsafe driver and I drove distracted. The personal message delivered by Joel, that we can all make such a huge difference in our communities and in the networks of people we are close to, by just becoming an advocate made me think.”

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*Morgan Steward is a junior Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).