The Chicken Soup For The Soul inspirational book series published by Anne and Peter Vegso’s Health Communications Inc. put the Deerfield-based publisher on the map. But that comforting dose of love and hope also leaked into the community over the years, as the couple became well-known Boca philanthropists.
Their involvement ranges from the Junior League (where they built the Vegso Community Resource Center) and Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida (where they built the Vegso Family Arena) to AVDA (where they built Casa Vegso, a 92-bed residential shelter for abused families), Festival of the Arts, Boca Raton Historical Society, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and more. Anne Vegso, who’s been honored as a Junior League Woman Volunteer of the Year as well as a Bethesda Hospital “Woman of Grace,” among other local accolades, is originally from Yorkshire in the U.K. via Toronto, Canada, where she met her husband. She talked to us about her life here since 1985—when the couple moved to Boca Raton.
“It all started when I became a member of the Junior League in 1991. It was really my first taste of nonprofits in Palm Beach County. … Through the Junior League, I got involved with several different organizations … It just gave me a very good view of a lot of the nonprofits and where the biggest needs were.
I really liked the idea of helping women and children, which is where [my involvement with] AVDA came about more than 20 years ago. That coincided with the formation of our family foundation in 1997, and that was when I really had the ability to help, because I could see the need, and I could not only help physically, but I could write a check. The two together was a great combination, and it just went from there.”
Her kind of giving:
“I don’t want to be the one who writes the check and it goes into a big box. I want to be the one that seeks out the need, identifies it, figures out how much it would cost to cover it and make a difference in somebody’s life. And then take care of that.”
Why giving back matters:
“It matters on both sides. It matters to the person you’re helping, and I think it matters to the person who’s giving, because it makes you feel so good. There is such a need out there, and if you are in a situation that you are lucky enough to be able to help, then that’s what you should do.”
On bucket lists and a little travel:
“I still don’t want to be far away from Boca; there are so many amazing people down here that appreciate everything you do for them. And I want to keep doing that. I want to keep making a difference in somebody’s life …”