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Good Works, Too
The Gemma family lost matriarch Gloria Gemma to breast cancer in 2002. The mother of nine instilled in her children strong family values and the importance of helping others in need.
As a result, the family founded the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation to provide resources to families and patients of breast cancer in the Providence, Rhode Island community. One hundred percent of the nonprofit’s net proceeds remain in the community, and GEM donates a portion of the proceeds of every service call to the foundation.
The foundation started out as a website full of resources and information. In 2008, the foundation also opened its Resource and Wellness Center, and Gloria’s eldest daughter, Maria Gemma-Corcelli was named the executive director. Through the efforts of Maria and her dedicated staff, the foundation has developed and implemented a number of free, holistic programs and services for people living with cancer.
Joe Gemma, dean of Providence College and the only brother who did not go into the plumbing and heating business, serves as chairman of the foundation.
Once a year, thousands of people gather to light the way towards hope and healing for anyone touched by breast cancer. Gloria Gemma's Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life was created to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by turning the city of Providence pink. The weekend-long celebration embraces everyone who has been impacted by cancer.
In addition, the GEM business actively supports McAuley Ministries, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community. The organization provides the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, health services, emotional support and guidance, and respect for the most vulnerable in the community through its core values of hospitality, compassion, and dignity.
Located in Providence, McAuley House is the organization’s meal site and social service center where nearly 300 breakfast, lunch, and take-away meals are served each day.
The GEM Cares: 12 Days of Christmas Campaign for McAuley House is held every holiday season and was launched to match new donations to McAuley House during the Christmas season.