The charities founded or funded by Jane Rice and her husband, Michael, a third-generation member of the Utz Quality Food family, lift up numbers of people and places too vast to count. The heart of each charitable campaign is often linked to something Jane has experienced, both the ideal and less than ideal.
And though Jane Rice is the kind of person who throws open the doors to host galas that make it possible for outreach and cultural events to unfold, she remains hesitant to be interviewed because she knows that successful outreach is never the result of one person. “The focus has to be on the many, many people beyond me who make it possible,” she said. And then she took time to share who and what inspires her.
Jane and Michael Rice live in the Hanover area. They have one daughter, Stacie Lissette, who is married to Dylan Lissette, one son, Matthew who is married to Toni. They enjoy the love of six grandchildren, three step grandchildren and one step great grandchild. Jane’s dog, a three-year-old Bouvier named Joy, is true to her name.
Of the many charitable organizations have you founded or helped found, which rise to the top? Sweet Charities is a non-profit, all volunteer, organization that was created to offer financial support to other non-profit organizations that provide much needed services to those in need living in the greater Hanover area. Sweet Charities has also established a cancer fund to offer financial support for daily living expenses to those undergoing devastating cancer diagnosis.
Still Waters is a transitional and emergency shelter that was established to house victims of domestic violence and their children. Pink Out, Inc. was founded nine years ago to provide financial support toward daily living expenses for women and their families while undergoing treatment for breast cancer and other female related cancers.
Pink Out, Inc. Can you tell readers a little bit more about the event, the name? The original intent was to host a one-night event, sort of a ladies’ night out, but due to its overwhelming success it quickly became a 2 night event and eventually a 3 day event.
So, Pink Out Tonight became Pink Out when the 3rd day luncheon was added! This past year the event raised over $155,000 and was attended by 1,500 individuals, including dedicated volunteers. The Committee is comprised of women sharing their time, their talent and their concern for those who are unable to help themselves while going to battle to conquer life threatening cancers.
Briefly describe how it feels to give and see people’s lives bolstered as a result of that giving? Incredibly uplifting. If I feel like I have made a difference, it is worth all the time and energy invested. With incredible teams working together, it is exhausting but it is a rewarding exhaustion. We are motivated by the emotional and physical experiences of those we seek to make a difference in their lives. Giving, to me, is a reminder that God is our Shepherd and we are His flock of sheep.
Three facts you wish more people knew about sustaining charitable organizations. There has to be a shared vision and the passion and the energy to remain sustainable. We have to be willing to put our whole hearts and souls into it and wait to see positive unfold.
What and/or who sustains you? Certainly I seek guidance from God and equally important the tremendous support of my husband and family, and those who share my passion. All of the people working along side me who devote inordinate time and energy with a common vision.
What are two things that are likely to be on your resume and/or what do you hope to remembered for? Hopefully, for compassion and humility. At Utz, I always consider myself a co-worker with everyone. We all have an important role. I miss talking to the employees and knowing about their families. The greatest reward is that they like me for me and not who I am married to.
If you were granted one miracle, what would it be? Definitely World Peace, but I feel blessed that my family has received actually two miracles. My son was diagnosed with aggressive form of cancer when he was 29; he had a 6 to 15 percent chance of survival. Friends and family organized a 24-hour prayer vigil in the little chapel of the convent at Sacred Heart Church.
Hundreds of caring individuals including those unknown to us prayed fervently throughout the day and night! The power of prayer, God’s answer to those prayers and the God given skills of my son’s medical staff created a miracle. Our son’s second miracle years later was the birth of a beautiful daughter. The cancer and the treatment did not prevent him from having a child as was originally expected. Amen.
Where and when are you happiest? When I am surrounded by the love of humanity; family, friends and those who share their love. I enjoy walking while reflecting on life, observing sights and sounds, the formation of clouds, the ebb and flow of oceans, the stars in the sky, and the opportunity to lessen burdens for others.
Who are your heroes in real life? The people who reach out to others. Those who go to shelters and in other ways give selflessly of their time and talent. Those who serve in the armed forces and protect our homes and streets. These are some of my heroes.
What is your most treasured possession? I went yearly to a monastery to spend five days on retreat. While walking one day, I discovered a stone tucked into a fence post. I pulled it out and noticed that it had an indentation like a thumbprint. I worried that it might belong to one of the monks , but when I asked I was told I could keep it. I carry the meditation stone in a little silk pouch until I need to hold it in my hand for strength and courage, then I wrap it in my grandmother’s handkerchief.
Personal discovery from an unexpected source? Each of my struggles – with cancer, with domestic violence – yielded amazing personal discoveries. I’m one of six children; my mother instilled survivorship. She reinforced my will to live without fear.