Charles Ruffolo

Ruf, Charles Ruffolo has his own networking company, The NetworKing Corporation, that allows its members and companies to connect with other professionals in a worldwide business network. Born in America and raised by Italian-Irish immigrant parents, he understands the experience of living in a new country. “Here in Holland, immigrants are treated like they were a hundred years ago in America, like second and third class citizens. They don’t get opportunities because they’re not educated or don’t speak the language well”, Charles explains.

Charles together with Celine van Dormalen from MasterPeace.

Ruf was a tough kid who didn’t like to go to school. His brothers were older than he was and one day one of them came back from his tour in Vietnam. “He put me in his car and drove me to Downtown Pittsburgh to enlist me in the Armed Services. I was given the choice of which branch I wanted to serve in. I choose the Army because that’s what he did.” Charles had to pass a test to get in, but failed the first time. His disciplined brother made him study in his room all week, enabling him to pass the test on the second try. “That was the 13th of December; I left Pittsburgh on the 15th, 1975. I never returned. In 1976 he was shipped to Europe and was stationed in the Netherlands at the age of nineteen. Somebody else can see a circumstance for you and push you up. That’s what my brother did for me; he wanted me to find myself and that’s what I did.”

That’s what he does nowadays; with his Giving Back Foundation that helps high school students of who’s career perspective are not on the same level as their talent and ambition due to their backgrounds. Giving Back offers, mostly immigrant, boys and girls a group and mentor program so that they can broaden their knowledge and experience. “We ask teachers, often from black schools with are schools with more than 60% immigrants, to recommend their most motivated students. Then we give them a mentor for two years, and when they finish high school, we give them a coach. You give your time to another person because you believe in their talent, you believe in the gift that they have been given and that they’re going to make something out of it.”, he explains. For him, talent is about giving. “Giving someone a smile, a helping hand or trying to feel what they feel. Having the emphasis for another person. Regardless of where you are and who you are. You’re a human being like me.”

Ruf is all about helping people, loving one’s neighbors. “Bringing people together, helping people, having a genuine concern for the other person is important. Because when you love your neighbor as yourself, you go that extra mile to help them. I wish there would be more programs like MasterPeace. Organizations that didn’t start at an institution but by somebody that cared. That’s how MasterPeace was started. That’s when you get a domino effect in which the thing you’ve done for someone will make them do the same for another.”