But that’s par for the course for Perna, who works endlessly on his Perna Foundation for Kids.
The group began 12 years ago with a community barbeque. With the help of neighbors and friends pulling money from their wallets and donating, Perna turned his dream into a reality.
“I really want the Perna Foundation to be recognized for the fact that we are doing things solely for kids,” Perna said. “Everyone working in this foundation is working in their free time, absolutely no money whatsoever goes to our volunteers. Everything is sent straight to the children.”
Two years after forming, the foundation went corporate and Perna set his sights on bigger and bigger projects.
Some notable ones include work on the new school yard at P.S. 41, Thanksgiving food drives, Christmas toy drives in partnership with Target and much more.
For his work, Perna recently received a Humanitarian Award. Besides his foundation, Perna also serves on Community Board 4, works with the Parks Department and focuses on promoting his Italian heritage.
“The best part of working with this foundation is how it makes me feel,” Perna said. “I feel happy when I see kids who don’t have anything get something new that puts a smile on their face in the hospital on Christmas Eve.”