Our History

Helen J. Serini

Helen Jean Serini, nee Helen Jean Tumulo, was above all else a woman known for her capacity to give. She was a mother, a grandmother, and a friend. Though she came from limited means and had little money to spare, she gave freely to St. Jude's, to her local church, to her grandkids' Scout troops and schools, and to Boys Town. Photos of the children she sponsored internationally sat proudly on her end table next to photos of her family and grandchildren. Those SPCA commercials featuring sad songs and puppy dog eyes? Those never failed to bring a tear to her eye, and a donation to a cause she cared about deeply.

The Helen J. Serini Foundation

Helen passed away at age 72 in 2004 of complications from diabetes, but her memory lives on in her family. When the Serini family established The Helen J. Serini Foundation in 2012, the decision to name it after Helen, one of the most kind and giving people they knew, was a simple one.


When the foundation first started, our work was focused breaking the cycle of poverty by supporting youth and families. Our original mission statement reflected this:

The mission of The Helen J. Serini Foundation is to improve the quality of life and wellbeing for the community by funding organizations that connect at-risk and underserved youth and their families with opportunities for improved education, vocational training, and healthcare.

After five years of grantmaking activities, the board took a step back to go through a rigorous internal strategic planning process. Based on feedback from our grant partners, input from the communities we aim to serve, and the Serini family's passions, the board unanimously approved a revised mission statement to direct our work moving forward, which is what you'll see reflected on these pages today. More information on this pause and our new strategic direction can be found here.