Tenth Community Spirit Award: The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation

In keeping with Notre Dame de Namur University’s commitment to promoting the values of social justice through community engagement, NDNU established the NDNU Community Spirit Award. It publicly recognizes, on an annual basis, those who “live” these values and who have given selflessly of their time, energy and resources to improve the quality of life for others.

This year, for the first time, we are proud to honor an organization whose extraordinary 56-plus year history of philanthropy has made a significant, and often transformational, difference for hundreds of Bay Area nonprofit organizations, charities and educational institutions.

The Carl Gellert Foundation was formed in 1958 and made its first gifts in November of 1959 by granting small gifts for the sole purpose of education. The initial amount awarded, $1,000, was split between two universities and four Catholic parishes. In the 1990s, the Carl Gellert Foundation merged with that of his wife, Celia Berta Gellert, to form the Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation. Since 1959, the Foundation has made gifts totaling over $57million.

Carl and Celia were not blessed with children of their own, but their commitment to helping children is evident through the thousands of young men and women who have benefited from the Foundation’s grants to schools across the Bay Area.

Today, the Foundation’s mission has expanded beyond just education to include support for healthcare, senior services, youth, children and family services, and nonprofit organizations providing much-needed social services. It is the foundation’s policy is to promote exclusively religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes

The Gellert Foundation has made significant gifts to the university since 1983. Over the years, they have generously funded endowed and general scholarships and various capital improvements. In 2001, the Foundation donated $2,000,000 to the university to establish The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Library, one of the most highly utilized student resources on campus. In addition, countless students have been provided access to a quality NDNU education as a result of the many scholarships the foundation has supported.

NDNU is grateful to the Foundation and its board of directors for their dedication and incredible spirit of giving, as well as their commitment to education and the provision of critical services to those in need.

Current members of the Gellert Foundation Board include: Carol Conroy, Andrew A. Cresci, Kevin Flynn, Robert Grassilli Jr., Michael J. King, J. Malcolm Visbal, Christine Whelan and Executive Director Jack Fitzpatrick. Past members that were instrumental in the gifts to NDNU are Peter Brusati † and Lorraine D’Elia.

Alumni of Distinction Award: Michael Callagy, ’84, MPA ’00

This award was established to honor alumni who have achieved distinction through professional achievements and exceptional community contributions that personify NDNU’s tradition of excellence and service. The recipient represents the core values of an NDNU education – leadership in service, a deep respect for the individual and promoting social justice. This individual also brings distinction to NDNU, contributes to the betterment of society and enhances his or her community.

Mike Callagy is a double alumnus of NDNU. In 1984 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History and in 2000 a Masters in Public Administration. He also holds a juris doctorate degree from Santa Clara University. In 2010 he became the first recipient in the County of San Mateo to receive a master’s degree in homeland security and defense from the Post-Naval Graduate School in Monterey.

Mike worked in the San Mateo Police Department for over 29 years, and served in many different capacities at varying levels of responsibility. He spent a number of years involved in narcotics and criminal investigations, including supervisory and managerial roles, and was instrumental in establishing a hard-working investigation unit that placed a high priority on community safety and quality of life. Largely due to his influence, SMPD Detectives have an outstanding reputation and are highly regarded for their skill and professionalism.

In 2013, Mike retired from the City of San Mateo Police Department where he served for over 29 years. At the time of retirement, he was the Deputy Police Chief. After retiring from the Police Department, he accepted his current position as the Deputy County Manager for San Mateo County. As a Deputy County Manager, Mike is the Criminal Justice Liaison with responsibility for coordinating and leveraging the criminal justice resources and assets though out the County.  Mike’s responsibilities include oversight of the County’s Realignment Program and the Public Safety Communications Department.  

Mike met his wife, Lisa, while they both attended College of Notre Dame. They reside in Foster City with their four children.