Dunkirk native receives Robert F. Kennedy ‘Ripple of Hope’ Award
NEW YORK – Donato Tramuto, the CEO and chairman of Physicians Interactive, was one of four individuals recently honored with the 2014 Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. The other three honorees were former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett. Past honorees include President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Grammy Award winner Bono and Academy Award winner George Clooney.
“While this award was given to me as an individual, I accept it on behalf of all the people at the business and philanthropic organizations I have had the privilege of leading, without whose contributions I wouldn’t be standing here today,” said Tramuto. “I am humbled by their dedication and commitment to helping me make the world a little better for so many. As Senator Kennedy said, ‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.’ Those words inspired me as a child attempting to overcome my own disabilities, and they continue to inspire me today. I am honored to be recognized for trying to live up to Senator Kennedy’s ideals.”
The RFK Ripple of Hope Award was created to honor ideals Senator Kennedy cited in a speech at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1966:
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice,” Sen. Kennedy said that day, “he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Tramuto grew up as Donato Tramuta with a twin, Dan, older brothers Jerry, Joseph, and Mike, and a sister Mary Ann who is younger. His family lived at 138 W. Fifth St. in Dunkirk He attended Holy Trinity for elementary school and graduated from Cardinal Mindszenty High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and an M.B.A. from the University of Buffalo.
Tramuto said his personal challenges included a severe hearing loss in his youth, and the tragic death of his sister-in-law, Rosemary, nicknamed Irish, during childbirth. Rosemary was a speech pathologist at SUNY?Fredonia and helped him overcome speech difficulties arising from his hearing loss.
His challenges led him to work in the health field and to help those who have had significant challenges in their lives.
Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, serves as President of the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Physician’s Interactive.
“Donato has been a relentless advocate throughout his career in addressing needs across the globe,” she said. “For more than 30 years, he has demonstrated the passion for making the world more just through his philanthropic and business initiatives that reflect my father’s ideals. From his work on HIV/AIDS education to his founding of The Tramuto Foundation and Health eVillages, Donato’s leadership in making the world a better place has been inspiring and embodies the values my father held.”