There are many ways to help the community you love and Mike Gouloff is living proof of that. The CEO of Elevatus Architecture says he’s someone who has a passion for people and “wants to make a difference.”
Marketing Specialist Brett Gauger says he lives it every day. “Mike is someone who cares. He cares how you feel. He cares what you’re doing. He cares about where you’re going, and ultimately he’s someone who offers himself to the world to help.”
Born and raised in Fort Wayne, the South Side High School grad could have lived anywhere after his college years at the University of Cincinnati, but there was no question where he wanted to build his life. “It’s my home. Community is so important to me.” He gets choked up even talking about it. “It’s so important to give back. I’ve grown up my entire life with my mother and father teaching me how to give back to the community and be a part of the community.”
He learned his lessons well. Mike has helped countless charities over the years, but one is especially close to his heart. Blessings in a Backpack came about after he heard school children were going hungry on weekends. He talked to the then Superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools, Dr. Wendy Robinson to see if it was true. “Wendy told me it was the biggest unknown problem they had in the schools. Kids were coming to school hungry on Monday because they didn’t have anything to eat.”
Mike vowed to change that, and he did. He started the local chapter with money out of his own pocket. “We put food in a backpack and give it to kids on Friday. They bring it back on Monday and we fill it back up with food again on Friday.” Here in Fort Wayne, more than 2,800 kids benefit from the program now. The concept caught on first in Louisville, Fort Wayne and Los Angeles. Mike was one of the founders that helped launch the program nationally. “None of us had ever done something like this before, but we got some good people involved, and good people do good things. It’s just how it works.” Blessings in a Backpack now feeds over 100,000 kids nationally each weekend.
Mike is also President of the Fort Wayne Air Show which returns the weekend of June 4th and 5th. “The pride in our country when you see the teams that fly in this show and you see the Thunderbirds put on their show. These men and women are the best of the best. We’re going to have one heck of an air show in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”
On top of that, Mike was also the driving force behind Hollywood coming to the Summit City. The Wedding Pact 2 will hit theaters soon. The film, directed by Matt Berman will showcase Fort Wayne and several familiar spots. “Most of it is shot at the courthouse, which is a beautiful, historic place. Cottage Flowers is in it. Fortezza is in it. Catablu is in it. The movie is the real deal, and I’m proud of it.”
This only scratches the surface of what Mike Gouloff has done for the town he loves so much, but he’s never one to tout his efforts. “At the end of the day, when we’re all gone. I just want to be remembered as someone who cares. All the other stuff you get all goes away, but people will remember you for certain things. I hope those things for me are good ones.”
That’s why Mike Gouloff is POSITIVELY FORT WAYNE!