Reading Hospital Foundation (RHF) announced Monday that Tony Balistrere has been named Director of Development, effective December 20, 2021, Stacey Cole has been named Director of Stewardship and Special Projects, effective January 3, 2022, and Melissa Karas has been promoted to Senior Director, Foundation Operations, effective August 24, 2021.
In his role as Director of Development Mr. Balistrere is responsible for supporting Reading Hospital Foundation’s fundraising including the major gifts program, planned giving, donor events, and special fundraising initiatives.
Prior to joining Reading Hospital Foundation, Mr. Balistrere served as Deputy Superintendent for Catholic Education with the Diocese of Allentown where he was responsible for the oversight of 36 schools, was directly responsible for the seven diocesan high school principals, and facilitated multiple endowment gifts. Mr. Balistrere also served as Principal at Berks Catholic High School; Director of Institutional Advancement and Assistant Director of Development at Holy Name High School; Executive Sales Representative for Aventis Pharmaceuticals; and a science teacher at Waynesboro Area Middle School. He is also an active member of the community serving on the Board of Directors for 18th Wonder Association, Alvernia University President’s Advisory Council, Reading Berks Basketball Association Board Member, and is a member of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish.
He received his Masters in Educational Leadership from Alvernia University and his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Susquehanna University.
As Director of Stewardship and Special Projects Ms. Cole works collaboratively with Reading Hospital Foundation team members to support donor cultivation and demonstrate the positive impact of philanthropy. She will work to strengthen and develop partnerships with community organizations, schools, and universities to initiate and facilitate fundraisers to benefit the mission of RHF.
In her most recent role, before joining RHF, Ms. Cole worked as the Director of Annual Giving at Alvernia University where she created their annual giving day campaign ‘All In For Alvernia’, oversaw the direct mail program, refreshed their class giving program, and managed the annual athletics giving competition. She also served as the Associate Director, The Hill Fund & The 1851 Society at The Hill School; Associate Director, Senior Class & Young Alumni at Lehigh University; and Area Coordinator at Arcadia University. She is also a volunteer with the Animal Rescue League of Berks County.
Ms. Cole received her certification in Project Management from Alvernia University, Masters in Education from Alvernia University and her Bachelor of Science in Sociology & Criminal Justice from York College of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Karas, in the role of Senior Director, Foundation Operations, manages the annual gift program and leads day-to-day operations in support of fundraising and donor relations efforts for RHF. She also leads governance planning, monitoring of data quality, and oversees all administrative functions for gift processing including documentation in support of tax filings, and financials reconciliation functions.
Prior to this role Ms. Karas served as the Director of Annual Giving for Reading Hospital Foundation. In this role she coordinated and led the leadership annual giving program, managed the direct response mail program, and develop an employee giving campaign.
She received a certification in Project Management from Alvernia University, Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit, Public, and Organization Management, and Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications and Minors in Public Relations and Speech Communication from Kutztown University. She is a volunteer for the Exeter Area Food Pantry and Exeter High School Boys Soccer Boosters Club.
Katherine Thornton, Reading Hospital Foundation President said, “I am thrilled to have Melissa in her new role and both Tony and Stacey join the Reading Hospital Foundation team. Their extensive skills and industry expertise will help us continue and grow our mission to support hospital programs and team members through research, innovation, and education. Every generous gift to the Foundation stays right here in Berks County for the health and wellness of our patients and communities.”