KID will host our annual Best Friend Award night on May 18. This year, we are honoring Lisa Turano- Turano Baking Company and The Turano Foundation.  Read the Q & A below to find out more about Lisa and why she’s our 2016 Best Friend

How did you get connected to KID?

I was an MBA student at the University of Chicago and Linda Ginzel had been my professor until March 1998.  Startlingly, Danny died in May that year while I was still a student. Given the median age of students, the age of our own families, and the intimacy created within the program, we as students identified closely with Linda and Boaz and realized how close to home the tragedy hit. I was part of our graduation committee and as part of our graduation formal I suggested that attendees make “small change” contributions.  Those contributions resulted in being the then single to date largest donation KID had received.

Later, I coincidentally encountered Linda and Boaz at a Chicago restaurant while I was attending an unrelated event and they were attending the first annual dinner of what would eventually become the Best Friend Award.  I had some fundraising experience and was involved in some special events at that time.  One thing led to another and after several phone calls, exchanged emails and lunches Linda invited me to join the Board of KID.  Excitedly, KID has had much greater success since that initial “small change” effort!

How has your involvement with KID changed and evolved over the years?

As described above, I supported KID from arm’s length at first and then in 1999 I joined the Board.  I participated fully but concentrated my personal efforts on fundraising. Shortly thereafter I became the Chairperson of the Best Friend Award and served as chair for several years. I then served as co-chair of the event for a few more years after that.  In 2013, I served my last year as chair and stepped off the Board to focus on my growing family and demands of my business but I’ve continued to support KID personally and through both Turano Baking Co and the Turano Foundation.

How has KID informed your parenting?

I was the last of my siblings to have children and therefore benefited from the generosity of hand me downs but knew enough through KID that a hand me down had some risks (so did new products for that matter).  Because of my KID experience, I diligently researched the internet for the make, model and serial number of the hand me down products I received and learned that a few of them had been recalled.

Additionally, when my children were born we invested in “real furniture” cribs, i.e., pieces that we intended would last not only the lifetime of our babies but be part of a family history that might be handed down a generation or more.

 However, our cribs were drop-side design and we learned they posed an inherent risk.  Our children had already outgrown the crib we had when the drop-side warnings and restrictions became law so we surrendered our little piece of family history to trash.  Although we regretted that our grandchildren would never occupy the same crib as their mom or dad, we celebrated that our children were safe and we were making a difference in the ongoing improvements of child product safety.

Lastly, my relationship with KID reminds me to be diligent in all things child product safety related whether it applies to my children or others.  I realize that no amount of warning and safety testing can substitute for a parent’s eye and supervision.  I am careful not to be tricked into a cocoon of false safety based on manufacturer names or product titles (i.e., just because the word “safe” may appear in either does not mean it actually is).

This is your 15th BFA event. What makes the evening so special and what are you particularly excited about this year?

The BFA is a special event for several reasons:

  • It commemorates the anniversary date of the death of Danny and we continue to remember and honor his memory.
  • It is the single most public effort of KID for its fundraising efforts and results in funds necessary for KID to execute its mission and programs
  • The BFA continues to shed light on the landscape of children’s product safety and exposes the threat of existing dangers.

This year I’m particularly excited being recognized as the 2016 Best Friend is an extraordinary honor, especially in light of the company and reflection of the previous recipients.  I am able to introduce even more people to the cause and concerns of KID through my participation as we continue to expand KID’s network and footprint.  I feel like I’ve actually been part of something that has changed the world for the better.

Both your family and the Turano Foundation have been generous supporters to KID over the years. What motivates you to support KID’s work?

The motivation to continue to support KID comes first from my admiration and support of Linda and Boaz.  They have translated tragedy into purpose.  Furthermore, as proud as I am that KID has had success, the work of KID is continuing.  There will be a never ending flow of always developing and new juvenile products.  Therefore, there will always be the need for safety concerns and oversight to protect our children who neither have the voice or experience among themselves to set standards, expectations and demands.

Check out our BFA website for more information about the event and how you can contribute to this annual event.