About the Foundation
The Mario Lemieux Foundation was created in 1993 by hockey legend Mario Lemieux. In that year, Mario was enjoying the greatest season of his brilliant career and on pace to establish a new NHL scoring record. Then he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. After a successful battle with Hodgkin’s, Mario is now 25 years cancer free, and his experience led him to focus on ways to assist those not so fortunate. He devotes much of his time to the Foundation to help reach the ultimate goal: a cure for cancer.
The Mario Lemieux Foundation is dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and patient care, as well as Austin’s Playrooms, an initiative that creates playrooms for children and families in medical facilities. Since 1998, the Lemieux Foundation has given over $25 million to cancer research and patient care initiatives in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Recent projects include a $2.5M gift in 2014 to establish the Mario Lemieux Lymphoma Center for Children and Young Adults at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and a $3.5M gift to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to open the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at the Hillman Cancer Center in 2012. Additionally, the Foundation has opened 33 Austin’s Playrooms in western Pennsylvania as well as three military playrooms.
The Foundation’s first major donation was a $5 million gift to UPMC Health System to establish the Mario Lemieux Centers for Patient Care and Research in 2001. In 2002, the Lemieux Foundation established an Endowed Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with a $1 million gift.
Nathalie Lemieux expanded the Foundation’s scope in 2000 when she created Austin’s Playrooms following Nathalie and Mario’s personal experience while caring for their profoundly premature infant son at Magee-Women’s Hospital. As they were tending to young Austin, there was no place to provide a comfortable calming environment and engage his sisters Lauren and Stephanie. It was then that Nathalie devised this idea to someday raise funds for playrooms at area hospitals. In 16 years, 33 Austin’s Playrooms have opened, including our three military playrooms at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in California and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
In 2005, the Lemieux Family Center was established at the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh with a $2 million gift – an initiative that supports and nurtures families during the difficult process of transitioning from hospital care to life back at home.
A gift of $1.6 million to The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC established the Mario Lemieux Foundation Endowment for Pediatric Hematology /Oncology Research. The gift also provided funding for two new playrooms: an Austin’s Playroom on the sixth floor for in-patients and the Lemieux Sibling Center in the main lobby which is dedicated to patient siblings.
The Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers, which opened in January 2012 at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, offers comprehensive diagnostic services, individually designed treatment plans, and long-term follow-up services to patients with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and other blood malignancies. Funded in part by a $3 million gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation, the Center features SMART (self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology) technologies in order to deliver more effective, safe, efficient, and individualized care, such as patient touch screens, patient tracking systems, and videoconferencing, all aimed at enhancing patient-centered care.
After the initial pledge of $3M, the Lemieux Foundation Board of Directors pledged an additional $500,000 to the new Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers to provide an outdoor terrace to the larger 24,000 square-foot outpatient treatment facility. The terrace is designed to provide an outdoor oasis for patients and caregivers and contributes significantly to their treatment and recovery experience. Specifically, this type of outdoor space provides positive benefits to patients by providing a retreat from the clinical space to a natural environment that promotes relaxation and healing.
In 2014, The Mario Lemieux Lymphoma Center for Children and Young Adults was established at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC through a $2.5M gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation. The Lemieux Lymphoma Center is the first of its kind, focusing on clinical care, laboratory research, and clinical research surrounding difficult-to-treat and rare childhood lymphomas. The Center will increase access to care and cutting-edge treatments for all childhood lymphomas, while also bringing together a critical volume of patients with rare lymphomas for research studies that can have a global impact on care.
The Mario Lemieux Foundation is able to make these important donations through contributions from generous individuals and through yearly fundraising events. The Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational was the Foundation's signature event for 18 years, from 1998-2015, and raised over $10 million for cancer research and patient care. The Foundation started the Mario Lemieux Fantasy Hockey Camp in 2012, which offers campers a chance to join Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Theo Fleury, Curtis Joseph, Bryan Trottier, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Pierre Turgeon and other NHL greats for a once in a lifetime NHL experience. To join the waiting list for the Lemieux Camp, click here.
Other fundraising events hosted by the Mario Lemieux Foundation include Nathalie Lemieux’s Austin’s Playrooms Luncheon & Fundraiser held in May of each year, the Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run and Family Walk, and Penguins Charity Night on AT&T SportsNet, an event held annually in conjunction with AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation where Penguins fans can purchase prize bags full of unique Penguins related items. All proceeds from Lemieux Foundation fundraising events benefit cancer research and patient care, as well as Austin’s Playrooms.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mario Lemieux played for the Pittsburgh Penguins for 17 seasons between the years of 1984 and 2006. During this time, he led the Penguins to back to back Stanley Cup Championships in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, the same year he created the Mario Lemieux Foundation. After a successful battle, he is now 24 years cancer free. In 1997, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is now the co-owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Learn more about Mario’s Story here.
Thomas B. Grealish is President of the Lemieux Board of Directors, as well as President of Henderson Brothers Inc, the largest independent agent in the Greater Pittsburgh region and family business started by his father. In addition to his responsibilities at Henderson Brothers, Mr. Grealish also serves on the boards of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Duquesne University, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mr. Grealish is a proud graduate of Duquesne University and he resides in downtown Pittsburgh.
Nathalie Lemieux, wife of Mario Lemieux, is the chair of Austin’s Playrooms. She also serves the Lemieux Foundation as Vice President and is on the board of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. In 2012, she received the Leadership Award from the American Society of Interior Designers, Pennsylvania West Chapter for Austin’s Playrooms designs on behalf of the Foundation.
Mr. and Mrs. Lemieux have three daughters and one son, who was the inspiration behind Austin’s Playrooms.
Chuck Greenberg is founder and chairman of the Greenberg Sports Group, and owns three minor league baseball teams. Previously, he was the Managing Partner and CEO of the Texas Rangers and currently, he is reported to have signed a letter of intent to purchase the Carolina Hurricanes NHL franchise. Mr. Greenberg received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and earned his Juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Greenberg has three grown sons, and he currently resides in Westlake, Texas.
Robert G Hofmann II is President of North Side Foods and all facets of managing the McDonald’s account on behalf of Smithfield. He has spent more than four decades with North Side Foods, a fifth generation family meat operation. Prior to joining the family business in 1975, Robbie served his country in the United States Navy after graduating from Villanova University.
Throughout his career, Mr. Hofmann has been involved in many charitable and corporate boards including, Smithfield Foods, UPMC St. Margaret Hospital in Pittsburgh and Ronald McDonald House Charites both nationally and the local Pittsburgh chapter. Mr. Hofmann and his wife Christie have two grown sons and two grandchildren.
At the Lemieux Foundation, Mr. Hofmann serves as Treasurer and is an Investment Committee Member.
John T. Chesko retired from Mellon Bank after 34 years of service as Vice Chairman. Mr. Chesko attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate degree and continued on to receive his MBA there as well. An avid golfer, Mr. Chesko has two grown children and one grandson.
Mr. Chesko serves on the Investment Committee at the Lemieux Foundation.
Mr. Anthony W. Liberati is a Limited Partner in the Fort Pitt Funds. Mr. Liberati retired in 1995 from the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, Youngstown, Ohio, where he was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. Since 1982, He has been a Director of Ralphs Grocery Company, Inc., as well as a Director for both The Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation and Pennsylvania Capital Bank. In addition, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Pittsburgh Penguins for many years. Mr. Liberati is a native Pittsburgher and a graduate of Duquesne University. He and his wife, Margie, have three grown daughters and X grandchildren.
Mr. Liberati has served on the Lemieux Foundation Board for over 20 years and heads the Investment Committee.
Steve Reich is the President of ReichPM, a full-service sports marketing and management firm representing athletes, corporations, and non-profit organizations. Steve is also a NHLPA certified agent at 02K Worldwide Management and has represented many professional athletes including Mario Lemieux. Mr. Reich received his BA from Bucknell and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. He and his wife, Tanya, have three children and reside in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Reich is a founding member of the Lemieux Foundation Board.
Andrew Urbach, MD
Andrew H. Urbach, MD, was born in Staten Island, N.Y. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Rochester and attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for medical school. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 1979 to begin a three-year residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. After completing his residency, he served as the inpatient chief pediatric resident for 1982-83. He was promoted to professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1997.
Dr. Urbach’s initial career focus was on clinical care and education. He directed medical student activities for pediatrics at Children’s Hospital for five years.
His current focus remains on clinical care but he also is involved in hospital and departmental administrative activity (for the Vice President of Medical Affairs), particularly in the area of clinical excellence and service, care coordination, insurance denial mediation, utilization of resources and fund-raising for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Dr. Urbach and his wife, Cindy, reside in Pittsburgh with their two college-aged daughters.
At the Lemieux Foundation, Dr. Urbach serves on the Austin’s Playrooms Advisory Board.
Lauren Lemieux is a wealth management banking advisor at PNC Wealth Management. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and she is Mario and Nathalie Lemieux’s oldest daughter. Lauren first started at PNC as a summer intern and then was offered a spot in the Wealth Management Development program. At PNC, she serves on their Recognizing Emerging Professionals group. Lauren is also a member of the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Trust. She attended Babson College and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance in 2015.
Nancy Angus has served the Mario Lemieux Foundation since 1998. She manages and oversees all of the Foundation’s business activities, fundraising events and execution of the Foundation’s strategic plan. She also facilitates all of the Foundation’s charitable giving and maintains contact with key sponsors, donors and community leaders. With nearly 25 years of experience, she has held positions outside of Pittsburgh with the Ohio House of Representatives, Central Park Conservancy and UST, Inc. A proud graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, Ms. Angus is also a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXVIII. Nancy lives in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh with her husband and their three children. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading and playing endless games of fetch with her Labrador Retriever!
Andrew graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sports Marketing and Marketing. He started with the Mario Lemieux Foundation as an intern for the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational and has worked with the Foundation in multiple capacities for 17 years. He currently serves as Marketing Director, overseeing all Foundation marketing efforts including branding initiatives, fundraising projects and online presence. Additionally, Andrew manages operations of multiple Foundation events including the Mario Lemieux Fantasy Hockey Camp, Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run and Family Walk, golf outings, auctions and other fundraising events. Andrew lives in Cranberry Township with his wife and three children. He loves watching super hero movies with his son and enjoys English Premier League soccer, golf and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Austin’s Playrooms Manager
Karin Girasek joined the Mario Lemieux Foundation as a volunteer in 1999. In the years that followed, she took on additional responsibilities with event coordination and by 2004, was working full-time assisting with special events and managing Austin’s Playrooms. Prior to joining the Foundation, Karin was employed by Hilton Worldwide for 15 years and worked in Food & Beverage/Sales & Catering departments in Pennsylvania, Michigan and California before retiring from Hilton in 1994 as the Director of Catering at the Pittsburgh Hilton. Karin graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Restaurant, Hospitality and Institutional Management. Karin and her husband live in the North Hills with their Great Pyrenees, and their youngest son is a junior at Elon University. Karin enjoys golfing, boating and vacationing in northern Ontario.
Jordan graduated from Robert Morris University with a degree in Sport Management and Marketing. She started with the Mario Lemieux Foundation as an intern for Foundation marketing initiatives and fundraising events. Her current position is Program Coordinator, assisting in Foundation marketing strategies, overseeing the social media campaigns and coordinating various Lemieux Foundation events. Jordan organizes Team Lemieux fundraisers for the Pittsburgh Marathon Charity Program, assists with the Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run and Family Walk, Fantasy Hockey Camp, and manages online auctions, donation requests and the Specialty Licence Plate Program. Jordan was raised south of Pittsburgh and enjoys hiking, fishing, and volunteering in the community.
Karen Arnold started with the Mario Lemieux Foundation in 2012 after working as an Executive Assistant with the Aircast Foundation, Airlift Research Foundation and Westinghouse Electric Corporation. As the Foundation’s Office Manager, she is responsible for the administrative and logistical details associated with the day-to-day operation of the Foundation. Karen is also responsible for the upkeep of our donor database system. Karen is married and lives with her husband, son and their rescue dog, Buddy, in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. She volunteers for the rescue organization by transporting dogs to their forever homes.
First and foremost, thank you for your interest in the Mario Lemieux Foundation. We value your support, and it is extremely important to us that our donors know exactly how we use our donated funds to reach our mission.
The Mario Lemieux Foundation is dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and patient care, as well as Austin’s Playrooms for children and families in medical facilities. We pledge to our donors and partners to always use your generous financial commitments in a responsible, efficient and transparent manner.
Please review our financial information below. Thank you for choosing to support our mission!