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Aspiring Kindness Foundation Fifth Annual Charity Golf Outing Honors Seton Hall University Fire Victims

Aspiring Kindness donated $22,500 to enable scholarships for Seton Hall students who are devoting their lives to careers as first responders. Credits: Aspiring Kindness Foundation
Aspiring Kindness Foundation, which raises money for first responders, emergency service providers and fire prevention and education programs, has announced its Fifth Annual Charity Golf Outing at the Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield, NJ, on Monday, June 19. Reflecting the origins of the charity that was formed in the aftermath of the Seton Hall University dormitory fire, the organization hopes to raise $25,000 to benefit the University, focusing on fire awareness and prevention.
Aspiring Kindness Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public corporation, was created by childhood friends of Aaron Karol, one of three freshmen who lost their lives in the Jan. 2000 Boland Hall fire. Borrowing his initials in giving their philanthropic effort a name, the AK Foundation raises money as a tribute to Karol and the other young men who perished, Frank Caltabilota and John Giunta. The charity golf outing is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser.
During the past four years, the event has raised $55,000. Most recently, $22,500 was donated to enable scholarships for Seton Hall students who are devoting their lives to careers as first responders. Earlier donations included $20,000 to Seton Hall’s Housing and Residence Life Department for the first ever Mock Fire Emergency Exercise that brought together student volunteers, the Department of Housing and Residence Life, Public Safety, the South Orange Fire and Police departments and Rescue Squad, The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) volunteers.
In 2014, proceeds of $12,000 supported the University’s Health and Counseling Services (CAPS), enabling students to participate in the Send Silence Packing exhibit on suicide awareness and prevention to help young people struggling in the aftermath of a tragedy, and a donation provided new uniforms for the South Orange Rescue Squad in 2013.
“It means so much to experience the incredible growth of support from the public for our foundation and this golf outing. This speaks volumes to Aaron Karol’s legacy, Seton Hall University, the community, and the significance of this cause,” said Jason Tarantino, Aspiring Kindness Foundation President. “We are proud to name Seton Hall as the benefactor for the fourth consecutive year. This grant will be used to support a robust fire awareness and prevention campus program.”
The Boland Hall fire ushered in a new era of fire safety at Seton Hall, which makes fire prevention a priority, and at colleges and universities throughout the nation.
“We feel blessed to be able to collaborate with Aspiring Kindness Foundation. These efforts keep alive the memory of Aaron, Frank and John on our campus in such a meaningful way,” said Tara Hart, director of Housing and Residence Life. “What is so inspiring about the most recent gift is that these scholarships will help to sustain the stability of the next generation of first responders, making a significant impact now and in the future.”

The charity golf outing is a day-long event that includes a round of golf with cart, use of the practice facilities, breakfast, lunch and dinner including an open bar, beer and non-alcoholic drinks in coolers throughout the course in addition to a beverage cart, an Aspiring Kindness Foundation memorabilia gift and contests and prizes. Longest Drive and the Closest to the Pin contests are scheduled, and the awards include First Place Scramble and Second Place Scramble, among others.
The Forest Hill Field Club, 9 Belleville Ave. (Club Road), Bloomfield, NJ, is a classically designed par 71 challenge by the legendary A. W. Tillinghast, and is known as a golfer’s golf course. The highly regarded architect has a portfolio of notable courses including Baltusrol, Winged Foot, Ridgewood, Alpine and Bethpage Black. As was Tillinghast’s trademark, each of the 18 holes is unique, taking advantage of the natural topography and brining all elements of the game into play.
Register for the golf outing here.
Entry fees are $225 for an individual golfer, $800 for four players, and $60 for those attending only the clubhouse dinner, which will have an open bar. There are also sponsorship opportunities that range from sponsoring a hole for $225 to sponsoring the dinner and awards for $1,000.
Golfers at the event view it as an opportunity to honor those who died and were injured in the fire while helping to improve the lives of others.
Aspiring Kindness Foundation has raised more than $100,000 in the six years since it began and has made donations to Saint Barnabas Burn Center, the South Orange Fire Department, the Blood Center of New Jersey, the South Orange Rescue Squad and other organizations. 
Aspiring Kindness Foundation Vice President and alumnus Mike Merizio, M.B.A. ’11 said, “Participating in the Aspiring Kindness Foundation is a special way for all of us to always remember our friend AK and share the story and importance of fire safety.”
For more information, visit the Aspiring Kindness Foundation website or email
One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been developing students in mind, heart and spirits since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hal’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Business.
Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, the University has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth in addition to an impressive 95-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have been awarded nearly 20 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors including a Rhodes Scholar. In the past five years, the University has invested more than $134 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a new School of Medicine as well as a new College of Communication and the Arts.
A founding member of the new Big East Conference, the Seton Hall Pirates field 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams. The University’s beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City – offering its students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The University’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. For more information, visit

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