Hearts for the Homeless® President and CEO, Nick Calandra, was recently featured in the Medaille Magazine, Winter 2023 edition. Nick graduated from Medaille University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2011. The article titled “A Heart For The Community”, talks about his personal growth through college and the path he has forged for the non-profit organization.
“Medaille taught me so much about the business world and the type of leader I wanted to be,” said Nick. “Working on the campus newspaper, I learned the importance of storytelling and connecting with audiences. While planning the café, I got to collaborate with many different entities, like the operations team, architects and designers. And student government opened a lot of doors for me in terms of gaining access to stakeholders at the school and in the community, especially the media. Now, I am able to directly apply the experiences I had at Medaille to my current role.”
While attending the university, Nick started working at Hearts as it was close to Medaille’s campus. He really worked from ground up, from cleaning the mobile soup kitchen to later on overseeing the daily operations. “I wanted to feel like the work I was doing was making a difference in people’s lives and serving the community,” he says. “Hearts for the Homeless is it for me.” He grew into a leader in the organization, and formally entered the role of CEO in 2019. Since then, he has been the leading force behind the organization’s monumental growth.
Throughout Western New York, Hearts provides over 500 donation bins. “Recycling textiles has proven to be our most cost-effective way of funding the organization,” he says. “We try to make it as easy as possible for people to donate by putting bins everywhere and in convenient locations.”
With the organization’s mission to clothe and feed the chronic homeless, poor, and those in need, Hearts also serves the community through many different feeding programs. The financial support for these programs not only comes from the textile recycling program and donors, another source of support is the Hearts Redemption Center. Hearts receives 2.5 cents per bottle, as the processor, which goes directly to help fund the organization’s outreach programs.
As Hearts moves towards the future with more programs in the works, Nick cannot help being in awe of how everything fell into place. “I believe God has a plan for all of us,” he says. “If you have faith and trust in that plan, it is amazing to see what doors can open.”
To read the full article, “A Heart For The Community” in the Medaille Magazine Winter 2023 edition, click here. Article begins on page 26.