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Parents' giving natures had influence

Cynthia Perini, regional retail executive for Sovereign Bank's Maryland market, was recognized by The Daily Record newspaper as

Cynthia Perini, regional retail executive for Sovereign Bank's Maryland market, was recognized by The Daily Record newspaper as

April 15, 2007|By PEPPER BALLARD

As a youngster, Cynthia Perini didn't always realize the breadth of her parents' giving nature, but, looking back, the bank executive and community volunteer said their influence helped foster her own philanthropy.

The regional retail executive for Sovereign Bank's Maryland market and board member or co-chair of several community organizations, has been recognized by The Daily Record newspaper as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women.

Since 1996, the Baltimore-based newspaper, which covers business and legal news, has recognized more than 750 "high-achieving Maryland women who are making an impact through their leadership, community service and mentoring," according to the newspaper's Web site, at www.mddailyrecord.com.

Nancy Sloane, co-founder of Maryland's Top 100 Women, said that she could not go into detail about what afforded Perini the honor, but said those recognized must excel in "professional achievement, giving back to their community and being a leader in their community and actively mentoring."

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"She obviously has met all of that criteria or has excelled at that to be named," Sloane said.

Perini, 44, was co-chair of the United Way of Washington County 2006 campaign, is co-chair and founding member of the Women's Giving Circle of Washington County and is a board member of the Community Foundation of Washington County, Breast Cancer Awareness of the Cumberland Valley, Hospice of Washington County and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

She also is a member of the Hagerstown Garden Club and president of Paramount Elementary School's Parent Teacher Association.

Married to Peter Perini Sr., Perini also is active at home: She is mother to three active children, ages 11 to 14.

While her educator parents, Herb and Marion Hardin, gave back to the community through the schools, Cynthia Perini said much of her outreach has been through external organizations.

Perini and Jeanne Singer in 2003 co-founded Women's Giving Circle, a fund through the county's Community Foundation, "to help support innovative programs to help women in Washington County," she said.

"We wanted to create an opportunity for women to become involved in philanthropy," she said. Among other programs, the organization has funded financial literacy programs for Girls Inc. of Washington County, Perini said.

Perini said that, growing up, she was only somewhat aware of the extent that her parents would reach out to their students, but over the years has gotten more details and more appreciation for their efforts.

Her father, Herb Hardin, who was a vice principal while Perini attended North Hagerstown High School, would buy coats for needy youngsters and hand them out in a discreet way: He would call students into his office, get their locker numbers and then later hang the coats in the lockers when no one was around.

The president of her class, Perini continued to get involved in activities after high school.

After graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Perini joined first Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County when she returned home and has built a rsum of other volunteer organizations in the past 20 years.

Perini said she has a passion for children, which she realized first through volunteering as a "Big Sister" and realizing the importance of an adult in terms of influencing a child.

"These kids are all born with the same general characteristics and it's what we do to them as adults that determines the way they turn out," she said.

Perini will be honored among the 100 Women May 7 at an awards ceremony at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and Maryland State Department of Education Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career Technology and Adult Learning Katharine Oliver, who lives in Hagerstown, were also named to the 2007 list.

Morgan, who has been honored three times through the newspaper, is to be inducted into the Circle of Excellence for three-time honorees at the ceremony. Oliver and Perini made the list for the first time this year, according to published reports.

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