Venti Questions: Lori Pepenella

As a syndicate for philanthropic entrepreneurs, movers, shakers & changemakers, Volatile continues “Venti Questions” to highlight those in the community that are making waves & getting work done. Lori Pepenella, the Director of Community Development for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore graciously accepted our invitation to share her version of philanthropy and said she was honored to be following fellow community leader Joe Mangino.


1. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Philanthropy means more than giving money, that is a donor. It means more than giving time, that is a volunteer. It is effort. To be philanthropic is to care about outcomes, the problem you are solving immediately and the sustainable solution your participation may hopefully provide for the future. It is not a one shot, it is a life long practice.

2. What inspired you to make a difference?
I know what kind of person I do not want to be, those people are forever inspiring me to make a difference.

3. Do you feel a personal responsibility to help others?
Yes, I do, at whatever level a person can assist someone there is an obligation to do so. The most inexcusable parts of history is when the need for help was ignored.

4. What is the source of your passion?
Purpose, there is nothing that fuels an attempt to reach your goal then a sense of understanding why it needs to be done and why you need to be dedicated to making it happen.

5. What impact would you like to make in the community?
Positive is the only right answer for that one

6. How long have you been doing this?
I have worked professionally with non profits for over a decade, I have been advocating and volunteering for community causes for 30 years.

Pepenella - Southern Ocean Chamber

7. Is there/what is the ripple effect?
I would define the ripple effect as whatever efforts being put out good or bad stemming into the community. Yes, it happens and could bring some of the best surprises.

8. What are your goals and values?
Goals always start with what my family needs, what my friends need, I fit in what I want to do, but is has to align. My values are based on honest achievement, consistent pursuit of what I believe is the right thing to do, and respecting the capacity of others.

9. How do your goals and values reflect what you are doing to give back and make a difference?
It comes back to community, we have components that are vital to our collective identity that needs stewardship. To keep that conversation going there needs to be respect, diligence and positive energy.

10. What exactly is your end goal and how do you plan on accomplishing this?
End goal for career or end goal as last breath? My end goal seem to be family, friends, colleagues and achievements that I could be proud of. If my life ended tomorrow, I would have no regrets on how I chose to spend my time and the people that I spent it with.

11. If someone would like to contribute a donation or lend a hand in this process, how can they do so?
My projects and plans always have partners and room for contributors, let’s talk.

12. Are you involved in any community partnerships or collaborations?
Yes, most recently serving as Honorary Commander to the Joint Base, and years of service to the Ocean County Culture and Heritage Commissioner and Board Member for Ocean County Tourism and Business Advisory board, Pre Cana Team Member for St Mary’s, and many other volunteer efforts including a life time member and Women of Achievement of Girl Scouts.

Pepenella - Honorary Commander, Joint Base

13. How do your collaborations coincide with your end goal?
Working with people that make intelligent contributions to our community and working together towards positive progress.

14. Why do you believe what you’re doing is unique, in comparison to anyone else?
I believe what I am doing is not unique, but my delivery is. One of my benchmarks for success is how many people advance with me, not who I left behind.

15. Do you have any advice for those who want to get involved?
Assist wherever necessary, if you have certain skills offer them. You are needed!

16. How do you encourage volunteerism?
By example, respect the people who are good enough to give their time.

17. How do you think we can motivate our youth to get involved?
Offer something that allows them to grow into, that they want to excel at and have ownership in. Allow them to contribute ideas and never dismiss their opinion.

18. What would you like to pass on to future generations?
The desire to be curious, discover why circumstances are the way they are, who made it that way and how to change it if necessary.

19. What inspires you to keep paying it forward?
No permanent victories, no permanent defeats, just permanent values.

20. Is there a specific uplifting quote that best exemplifies what you stand for?
Ironically I hated math in school, but one of my favorite quotes is from Archimedes. “Show me where to stand, and I will move the world.”

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