When John O. McManus decided to become a lawyer, his father, John B. McManus, gave him some great advice right from the start. Being an active volunteer in his community and at church, he raised John in an environment of outreach and service, and told him to be a lawyer that helps unite families, not divide them. Thus, after watching his family get involved in a multi-year struggle over his grandfather’s estate, he decided to become an estate lawyer and founded McManus & Associates nearly 30 years ago.
John has found other ways to help families as well, especially those in care of children and the elderly. In 2005, he joined the Board of Directors of the Somerset County YMCA (SCYMCA), and has raised almost $280,000 for those in need.
John is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Board Governance Committee. He has also served on the Financial Development Committee and Capital Campaign Leadership Cabinet. In November, he was elected as the Board Chair for 2019.
Due to his hard work and dedication, John was awarded the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance 2018 Social Responsibility Champion Award in October. This award is presented to a leader dedicated to Giving Back and Providing Support to Our Neighbors.
When asked what makes him such a successful fundraiser, he said “the people you raise money with have to become your friends, even if they don’t start out that way.” Plus, you have to be an unselfish friend, give people what they need, and you have to give in order to get. It’s also important to form relationships with donors so they learn what is important about the Y and help them understand the story behind the mission.
John’s wife, Rosemary, not only helps raise money for scholarships for students going to college, but she also judges scholarship distributions. The awarding of these scholarships acknowledges the students’ hard work and shows appreciation for their talents.
The money raised also helps to offset childcare costs for families having difficulty making ends meet, and helps defer costs of membership fees so their children can exercise and be healthy.
Summer camps are also financed with this money so parents can continue to work and support their families while their children have a rich and positive experience.
John credited his success to others, such as David Cerciri, the CEO of SCYMCA, who John believes transformed the Y into an efficient and charitable organization. His other role model, current Board Chair Mark Irwin, has an enduring, unmatched everyday commitment to the Y.
As his father raised him to give to others, John and Rosemary of Basking Ridge have raised their children the same way. Their eldest daughter, Allie, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, has spent time in Africa and South America assisting people there. Their middle child, Emmie, is in undergraduate school at the University of Notre Dame. She has received the President’s Volunteer Gold Service Award and plans to become a human rights lawyer. Their youngest son, Matthew, attends the Pingry School and this year will receive the President’s Volunteer Gold Service Award for his commitment to the community, including the Y.
You do have to give in order to get, and with this award, John is getting the recognition he deserves.
Written for The Showcase Magazine