St. Mary Magdalen parishioner named philanthropist of the year

When Diane Holm first heard about an award recognizing central Florida's top philanthropist, she said she knew it would go to someone "well deserving." Little did she know that she would be that someone.

Diane Holm"I was like, 'No, no, no, there must be far more deserving people than I,'" she said humbly.

Holm accepted the Outstanding Philanthropist award during a breakfast Nov. 15, at the Central Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals' annual National Philanthropy Day at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The event honored donors, volunteers and professionals whose gifts of time, expertise and resources contribute significantly to the quality of life in central Florida.

"I am just so blessed that someone would even consider me and that I was voted on," said Holm, a member of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs for more than 20 years. "I want to continue doing all that I can to help the less fortunate."

Holm has dedicated herself to volunteering and helping others since it was instilled in her as a child - her father was a member of the Knights of Columbus and her mother volunteered at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park. She called it a "family lifestyle," one that she and her husband, Eric, have passed on to their children.

"The award is special mainly because we are able to give back to the community, and Diane takes a leadership position in that," said Eric Holm, who serves on the board of directors for the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida. "It's our responsibility to do as much as we can. Diane leads the charge for our family."

Diane Holm said she helps her parish and local Catholic community through time, talent and treasure. One recent event includes a tuition fundraiser at St. Mary Magdalen. Last year, they hosted an 80th birthday party for Father Ed Thompson, parochial vicar of St. Mary Magdalen. The Holms are also members of the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida's Corpus Christi Society and Mary and Joseph Guild.

"What is so admirable about Diane is that she is willing to live her faith in everything," said Lois Locey, pastoral associate for administration and stewardship at St. Mary Magdalen Parish. "She is very generous, and it is incredible that she really is a missionary here in central Florida."

In the local community, Diane Holm has served on a number of local boards, including a local women and children's shelter, the Salvation Army and Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, a camp serving terminally ill children, which nominated her for the award. The Holms, co-owners of 30 Golden Corrals in central Florida, will host their 20th annual Thanksgiving Day celebration, which serves dinners for approximately 25,000 people in need.

Additionally, through the Holms' support of a country music event, the All Star Acoustic Jam in Orlando, they have helped raise over $1 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Central Florida.

"Personally, it's the most rewarding thing anyone can do, to reach across and give someone a hand," Diane Holm said. "The more you do, the more you want to do."

Last year, the Holms were recognized nationally by the International Catholic Stewardship Council as the Christian Stewardship Award recipients. While recognition is nice, Diane Holm said, she said it is all about helping people in need.

"I just genuinely enjoy doing things for others," Holm said. "It might be for a family that has fallen on hard times, or helping a family with a child that is not healthy, or someone in-between jobs. Although I am honored to receive the award, it doesn't mean that since I have received it that now I'm done. It just means that there's more to do."

Story by Michael Harker
Reprinted Courtesy of Florida Catholic

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