Don and Pat Cressy
It’s the realtor’s mantra: Location, location, location.
After being a leader in the real estate business for more than 40 years, Don Cressy knows something about the importance of location. It’s particularly critical to the success of commercial development projects, such University Park Mall—one of Don’s first efforts in this area—and the more recent Edison Lakes, which includes St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and WSBT.
Don and Pat believe that location matters in philanthropy, too. St. Joseph County is “their place” in many respects. It’s where they’ve lived since 1968, where they raised their three children, and where they’ve poured a tremendous amount of resources into making our community a better place to live and work.
The most impressive thing about the Cressys’ commitment to philanthropy is their emphasis on going beyond financial support: They’re generous with their time, talent, and energy, too. Don and Pat have served dozens of local nonprofits—Women’s Care Center, Center for Hospice Care, Center for the Homeless, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, CASIE Center and many others—on boards, coordinating fundraisers, and doing hands-on volunteer work.
Much of their philanthropy addresses immediate needs in our community, but they’re also attentive to the challenges we’re likely to face in the future. You can see that foresight in Pat’s work as the first director of Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka, a program that helps connect young professionals with community leaders, programs, and service initiatives, creating a network of individuals who make substantial contributions over time to community progress. Pat’s commitment to Leadership was so strong that she donated her salary back to the program, and volunteered for another eight years to help continue to strengthen and develop it. To date, more than 1,400 young professionals have graduated from Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka.
Don and Pat have been involved with the Community Foundation since the organization’s earliest days. Don was a Founding Board Member, and served as the Foundation’s Board Chair from 1999-2000. The Cressy Foundation, Inc.—the nonprofit foundation which Don and Pat created as a vehicle for their charitable work—is a supporting organization of the Community Foundation.
“Don and Pat radiate a rare type of caring and optimism that is truly contagious,” says Community Foundation president Rose Meissner. “They are always ready with a smile, a word of appreciation or encouragement, and a sincere desire to help.”
You can find Don and Pat in the South Bend Hall of Fame, among the rows of plaques that line the walls of Century Center’s main hallway in recognition of the accomplishments of our community’s greatest citizens—but you’re more likely to spot them out and about, volunteering for one of the many causes they care about, as they work together to make St. Joseph County a better location for everyone.