GENEROSITY: Jody and Kathy Victor
This second-generation IBO couple gives generously around the world and at home.
Talking about their charitable work makes Amway™ Independent Business Owners Jody and Kathy Victor somewhat uncomfortable. “We don’t give back for the recognition,” Kathy says.
Instead, the Victors have made generosity a way of life. Over the years, they have supported a number of diverse causes, including the American Heart Association, a scholarship fund at The Ohio State University, and the Back to the Wild wildlife rehabilitation center. Jody even received the Polish Heart Award from the government of Poland in concert with the Roman Catholic Church for his work overseas – creating free enterprise business opportunities for people and helping build public recreation facilities throughout the country.
But as often as they make personal donations, they also contribute to causes anonymously, wherever they see a need to be filled. “That’s just how we do things,” says Jody. “We’re here to help.”
For their decades of quiet philanthropy, Jody and Kathy Victor are the recipients of the 2013 Amway Hero Award for Generosity.
Giving that lasts
As Crowns Jody and Kathy explain, generosity is about making a lasting difference, and that kind of giving means the most. “We like to create things,” says Kathy, “instead of just donating.”
Those efforts began in 1981, when they were approached to help fund a baseball field for youth in their community who needed a place to play. A former baseball player himself (he was an all-star second baseman) with a lifelong passion for the game, Jody leapt at the opportunity and together the couple financed Crown Field in Ohio – complete with an electronic scoreboard, dugouts, fencing, sod outfields, and bleachers.
The Victors have continued to support Crown Field for 30 years while expanding its facilities. Now the field even offers youth events and an XStreme Baseball Academy – a program where kids can hone their skills while learning valuable life lessons.
“It teaches them about character while they play the game,” says Jody, “about having a good self-image, and overcoming obstacles like fear and procrastination.”
The Victors are also actively involved in the U.S. Dream Academy, empowering at-risk children through innovative after-school and mentoring programs that incorporate technology. One of the founding members, Jody serves on the board of directors, and both of the Victors donate their time and resources to helping children succeed.
“We just wanted to find a way to stop this cycle,” says Kathy, “of each generation of at-risk kids following the next.”
Above all, Jody and Kathy say they cherish being able to provide others with so much joy.
“God has blessed us greatly,” Kathy says, “and when God has given so much to us, it’s our duty and our pleasure to give back.”
A community that cares
While they support national organizations, Jody and Kathy say they feel a responsibility and true conviction to give back within their community. This extends to helping even at the individual level.
In 2011, Walter Kobak, an 87-year-old man with disabilities, was having trouble getting a wheelchair ramp built for his house. Walter couldn’t get down his front-porch steps on his own and had to ask the local police force for assistance whenever he wanted to leave his house. The city told Walter he needed to apply for a zoning variance before he could build the ramp. The application cost $200.
“We read about Walter’s problem in the local paper,” says Jody, “and we immediately knew we wanted to help.” On the day Jody arrived at Walter’s house to drop off the funds, a local news crew was filming Walter’s story, and they asked to capture Jody’s act on camera. “It was pure chance,” Jody laughs.
Soon, the Victor’s gesture sparked an outpouring of support from the Danbury Township community in Ohio. The local Home Depot offered the necessary building materials for the ramp at a discount, and employees donated their time to help with construction. Even the police who had carried Walter down the steps showed up to swing hammers.
Jody explains that just one small gesture has the power to inspire a greater impact. “Walter didn’t realize that other people cared so much,” says Jody. “And it was made possible out of everyone’s generosity – whether money, time, or elbow grease.”
Watch WKYC Channel 3’s story on Walter at: tinyurl.com/walterkobak
“Giving back is a necessary part of being human.” | Kathy Victor
“We hope we’ve taught our children the importance of giving to others without expecting anything in return,” says Kathy.
For the Victors, the Amway™ business and giving back are true family values. Jody’s parents were among the first three IBO couples when Amway was founded in 1959. All of their children are also IBOs – son Joe and his wife Kelli (Founders Platinum); son Steve and his wife Marcia (Sapphire); and daughter Terri and her husband Greg Fraumann. Along the way, generosity has always been emphasized, and they’ve all taken that to heart.
“Giving back is a necessary part of being human,” says Kathy. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a little or a lot. It makes a difference in your life – and in the lives of others.”