Mary Kate Brushafer – Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Mary Kate, at age eleven, watched a family suffer an unimaginable tragedy and took action to ensure the children were able to experience the spirit of Christmas the following year. She did not ask for donations to support her goal but worked for the money in order to place gifts under their tree anonymously. The vision and spirit of the Santa Hat Society was born. As her vision became a non-profit corporation in 2014, she is and continues to be the linchpin. In high school, she was an all-around student with high academic honors, president of her high school class, a varsity swimmer and was the student coordinator of her school’s Mentor for Minis program. Mary Kate is a college freshman at the Rochester Institute of Technology. During the summer, she is a lifeguard and teaches swim lessons.
Jerry Brushafer – Chief Operating Officer
Jerry is a college sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has supported his sister in helping to make her vision of the Santa Hat Society a reality. His commitment to children with special needs is evident as he accepted the co-chair position of the Sunshine Softball event this year which gives children with developmental disabilities the chance to play ball. In addition, he is the chair and founder of Sunshine Swimming. As a collegiate swimmer and a lifeguard, he believes in giving children with developmental disabilities an opportunity to participate in the sport he loves so well.
Jennifer W. Brushafer – President
Jennifer earned a B.A. degree in Business Administration and Economics from Immaculata University. As a wife and mother of five children, she and her husband, Rob, are firmly committed to supporting their daughter, Mary Kate, the founder of the Santa Hat Society. Jennifer’s dedication to children with special needs is unmistakable in her creation and organization of the annual ‘Sunshine Softball’ game since its inception in 2011. This event is an opportunity for local children with developmental disabilities to take to the diamond to experience the joys of our country’s favorite pastime. Jennifer also has extensive fundraising experience.
James M. Welch, Jr. – Vice President
Jim has a B.S. from SUNY at Oswego in Childhood Education. He is working on his Master’s degree in Literacy at SUNY at Geneseo. He is currently employed as a 3rd grade teacher, Boys and Girls Varsity Swim Team Coach, and Junior High School Swim Team Coach. Jim currently volunteers to guide area pole-vaulters and began an intramural swim camp for children in grades 3 through 8 with support from other coaches.
Shelby Welch – Secretary
Shelby graduated from Alfred University where she studied Early Childhood and Child Education. She is currently a 4th grade teacher. She is attending SUNY at Geneseo for her Master’s degree in Literacy. Shelby loves having a positive impact on the youth in our communities by supporting after school activities and programs, such as swim club, mentoring and tutoring.
Mary Amelia Welch – Treasurer
Mary Amelia has a bachelor degree from St. Bonaventure University. Our corporate treasurer has a substantial amount of experience both professionally and personally with non-profit organizations. For over 30 years, she has worked with retirement plans specializing in churches, governmental and IRC 501(c)(3) organizations. Her professional experience spans marketing, plan administration, legal compliance, operations and information technology. She is currently employed as Business Systems Consultant in the Information Technology department of AIG’s Life & Retirement Division. Personally she has volunteered her talents as chair of the St. Mary’s Church Finance Council in Canaseraga, New York; served as both a Secretary on the Board of Directors and a member of the Finance Committee for Clara Barton Chapter #1 of the American Red Cross; for two years on the Financial Advisory Committee for Dansville Central School District; and for seven years on the Finance Committee for St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dansville.