On Monday, August 27, the Maniscalchi brothers hit the greens of Otterkill Country Club for their sixth annual fundraiser for autism awareness. The golf outing, which brings together customers, local businesses, and friends, set a new record for fundraising, bringing in over $15,000 for the Autism Move-a-Thon of Orange County. This year’s total tops the previous fundraising record by more than $5,000.
Over the past five years, Frank, Gasper, and Danny Maniscalchi, whose father opened Leo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant back in 1981 and whose likeness comprises its logo, have raised over $50,000 for autism awareness. For the first few years of the tournament, the Maniscalchis donated the golf outing’s proceeds to Autism Speaks, a New York City-based organization. Danny wanted to keep the money local, so in 2017, the brothers began donating funds to the Autism Move-a-Thon of Orange County, a group that raises awareness and funds for families affected with autism in Orange County. The 15th Autism Move-a-Thon walk will be held on September 30 at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery.
The Maniscalchis’ community involvement is reciprocated at their restaurants. In addition to three Leo’s locations throughout the Hudson Valley, the family also owns Baja 328, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Beacon with a focus on tequila. All four of their restaurants have a fervent fanbase, especially their original Leo’s location in Cornwall Plaza. Many locals have been eating there since servers wrote Leo’s menus by hand, and kids who dined at the restaurant growing up now work behind the counter.
Gasper stresses that support from other businesses in the community was critical to the success of the event. Indeed, many of their sponsors have supported the event since day one.
“They play a huge role,” says Gasper. “We really keep everything local. Nothing is corporate sponsored. Everything is kept close to home.”