People on the Move: Tim McDonnell

When Tim McDonnell makes a promise, he follows through in a big way. In May 2005, Tims friend and fellow Holmdel resident, Tom Nolan, was diagnosed with a deadly blood cancer called acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Tragically, just over a year later Tom lost his battle, dying much too soon at age 42. Tims promise to Tom before he died was to take care of his wife Janice and sons Tommy, 16, Michael, 14, and Ryan, 11. Since then, he has tirelessly crusaded to get a large part of Holmdel to help him keep that promise.

Tim met his wife Clare in 1986 when they both worked at Tradition, the brokerage firm where Tim still works. They have been Holmdel residents since 1989 and are the proud parents of Timmy and Matt. Tim and Toms friendship was forged 6 years ago when Tim ran several sports programs for the Holmdel Youth Athletic Association and their boys played on its teams together. After getting to know the big gregarious teddy bear who wore shorts all year-round and seeing how kids in town responded to him, Tim knew that he wanted Tom to coach.  Tom agreed and headed several basketball, baseball, and Pop Warner football teams until he became sick.

While Tims motivation didnt stem from personal experience with cancer, he is no stranger to tragedy. A survivor of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Tim knew many people who died that day. Recalling the numerous events he attended to benefit the widows and children of those lost, Tim came up with the idea for the My Three Sons Foundation. A former boxing promoter and a broker in Manhattan for the past 25 years,   he knows how to get things done; he has organized about 125 local families who have helped promote various fundraisers for this cause, but quickly credits everyone involved in the foundation. Fellow residents and organizers Mike Germinario, Allison Malafronte, and John Graziano each selflessly donate their individual expertise, and Tim praises the kids of Holmdel for the incredible success of the fundraiser that got the ball rolling. That campaign started by selling raffle tickets and about 20 donated T-shirts displaying a family picture of the Nolans, but when kids in town started asking if they could sell more shirts it really took off. All the kids wanted one we ended up selling 500 T-shirts! Tim beams.

Township residents also reached out to their own network of family and friends. People really wanted to help, Tim said. All we had to do was ask, and we began getting donations from all over the country. It was unbelievable.  The second annual gala event was held in May at the reception center of the PNC Bank Arts Center. The highlight was the presentation of two Tom Nolan Good Guy Awards, given to residents Ken Nodes and Tony Balzofiore for the positive impact made on kids through sports Tom Nolans legacy. The $20,000 earned went to set up college funds for each of the boys.

Tim feels that its important to give back to the community that continues to give so generously to the Nolans. Accordingly, the foundations outreach includes two $750 scholarships awarded to graduating scholars/athletes, and also provides assistance to Holmdel families with family members undergoing medical treatment.

For more information about the My Three Sons Foundation, or to send a donation, contact Tim at


Favorite restaurant: Kellys Tavern, Neptune City
Favorite musicians: Bruce Springsteen/Southside Johnny
Favorite Movie: The Godfather
Pet peeve: people who make excuses and complain all the time
Three people youd like to have dinner with: Jamie Dimon (chairman/CEO of JPMorgan Chase), Kobe Bryant (with my son Timmy), and Ryan Howard (with my son Matt)

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12 Sep 2016

By Beth Burke