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.”

___________

*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.

Meg Boeni Receives Second Annual Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

R to L: Scholarship recipient Meg Boeni, SHS Teacher & Theater Director, John Gildea and Chris Price, 2011 Casey Feldman Recipient

Meg Boeni of Unionville High School in Chester County, PA was awarded the 2012 second annual Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies scholarship at the Seventh Annual Greater Philadelphia Critics and Awards Program for High School Students, commonly known as the Cappies.

The Cappies is an international program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend theatrical productions and musicals at other high schools, write reviews of the shows and publish those reviews in local newspapers. Students vote on the winners, who are announced at the Cappies Gala, which is patterned after Broadway’s Tony Awards program.

Production numbers and dramatic scenes are performed, interspersed this year with 42 Cappies presentations made by teachers, principals, superintendents and others from high schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey at the Greater Philadelphia  Cappies Gala.  The Greater Philadelphia Cappies, with 34 participating high schools in the region, is second in size only to the program in Washington, D.C., where the Cappies started in 1999.

SHS student Cappies winners, Bridget Elise Yingling - Best Featured Actress in a Play and James Cella -Senior Male Critic Award

In 2005, The Greater Philadelphia chapter was established and Casey became the first lead critic from Springfield High School (SHS). Casey acted in 6 theatrical productions during her high school years and was nominated for a Cappie herself at the 2006 Gala. Casey played Gwendolyn Pidgeon in the Odd Couple and accepted the 2006 Cappie on behalf of the entire SHS cast that year for Best Play. In 2010, Casey was awarded an Honorary Cappie, which was accepted by her parents at the Gala that year.

Casey’s Springfield  High School theater director and teacher, John Gildea, nominated Meg Boeni this year to receive the Casey Feldman scholarship and presented the award at the Gala. In nominating Ms. Boeni, Mr. Gildea pointed out that Meg has  starred in musicals and plays at her school, has been a nominee for Undergraduate Female Critic, a recipient of the Comic Actress in a Play Cappie Award, and director of her school’s May Play Society; she has participated in the Walnut Street Theatre student-writing program, has taken a dual enrollment course at Immaculata College, in addition to an online course to learn Arabic at BYU in an effort to further  her journalism repertoire. All of this was accomplished while maintaining a 4.19 GPA in high school.

Casey Feldman and Matt Thornton arriving at the 2006 Cappies Gala

In presenting the award, Mr. Gildea stated,

“However, her most important trait is that of community service, which is exactly what Casey excelled in during her lifetime. Tonight’s recipient is heavily involved in her church’s Migrant Ministry, in particular the Ignited Youth Program which sponsors the Bilingual Puppet Ministry. In this program, tonight’s recipient does outreach to the migrant and elementary communities, teaching the stories of the Bible as well as lessons on bullying and other important life lessons, using both her Spanish and English skills. She also involves herself in Good Neighbors Projects, the Girls Scouts, her school’s National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society to conduct community-service oriented projects.”

Meg was surprised, grateful and humbled to receive the Casey Feldman Cappies Scholarship which is being put to good use at Boston University, where Meg is now enrolled as a freshman majoring in journalism.

Congratuations Meg!

Contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional deserving students may receive scholarship opportunities.

 

Related Links:

YouTube Video – Greater Philadelphia Cappies 2012 Nominations

Greater Philadelphia Cappies

“High school stage stars honored at Cappies Gala”, The Daily Times

“Chris Price Receives First Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship Award”,  Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates

“Casey Feldman Awarded an Honory Cappie; SHS Laramie Project Cast Wins Awards at the Cappies”, Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates

  Photos of Casey’s high school performances and the 2006 Cappies

“SHS theater family remembers beloved actress”, The News of Delaware County