Len Pagano is a ‘social entrepreneur’ who has spent over 30 years developing communication programs that address key issues across North America.
As President, CEO and founder of Safe America, Mr. Pagano launched the 501(c) 3 organization with a $1 million grant from the Travelers Insurance Foundation.
In its early days, Safe America focused on highway safety issues with Operation Baby Buckle, a child protection program that has distributed over 150,000 infant/child car seats to disadvantaged families across the United States.
Mr. Pagano then organized a ‘Safe Team Coalition’ that was recognized by General Motors (GM) for its work. Innovative safety education programs followed which addressed emerging issues. These included initiatives in teen driver education, water safety, cyber-safety, homeland security, youth safety and disaster readiness.
Through Len’s leadership, the Safe America Foundation has developed educational and practical safety and preparedness programs for businesses and communities. These include safety product distribution, national youth programming, international travel security, and advocating that non-profit organizations screen volunteers (to avoid predatory activities by adults). His accomplishments include raising over $30 million for injury prevention initiatives and engaging organizations including Porsche North America, the Woodruff, Motorola and UPS Foundations along with the National PTA, Allstate, Wal-Mart, Chevrolet, Verizon, State Farm, NBC/Comcast, USA TODAY, Sprint, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a variety of public safety and government agencies at state and national levels.
Safe America programs focus on addressing hazards such as risky driving, bad weather, or man-made disasters. The Foundation is currently working on projects to enhance Americans’ ability to live long, meaningful lives:
Safe Driving — Safe America has been on the forefront of driving safety, innovating how teens are taught how to drive as well as lobbying for laws, with dozens of partners – both corporate and governmental – that enforce ‘safe driving standards’ (such as not texting while driving).
Through its twelve-person instructional staff, Safe America has trained more than 10,000 drivers since 2001, both in the classroom and behind the wheel. The Foundation designed programming with computer simulators that help evaluate senior citizens driving (after age 75). In addition, it has trained corporate drivers for companies with large automobile fleets such as Akzo Nobel and the Southern Company. Safe America has also staged over a dozen safe driving events at venues such as NASCAR’s Atlanta Speedway.
BE Safe America — An annual preparedness program for families, communities and businesses based on the national directives of FEMA to make a plan, create a kit, and practice/drill the plan. Over 100 family, corporate, and community organizations participated in 44 states. Governors’ Spouses are spokesmen for the program and highlight the importance of texting as the best way to communicate in the event of a disaster. Currently in its fifth year, the effort is seeking to have more than 2 million citizens in an annual preparedness exercise. BE Safe America underscores the need for Americans to be prepared for any emergency.
Safe TOMORROWS/Safest Kid in America — An educational program that fosters personal responsibility for children and families in safety awareness as well as learning opportunities in schools and at home. The Safest Kid in America competition was initiated with Campbell’s Soup Company and continues with partners in the areas of cyber-safety, home safety and family preparedness.
Before launching Safe America, Mr. Pagano worked in broadcasting as an on-air television anchorman and reporter. Following his broadcast career, he was a Chamber of Commerce executive in Atlanta and Miami. Mr. Pagano consulted in over 20 American communities and now leads a national Board of Directors and staff from Safe America's suburban Atlanta headquarters. Mr. Pagano graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia.
Mary Lou Pagano works closely with her husband, Len Pagano, President and CEO of Safe America, in delivering key safety messages and programs, with the goal of having a safer, better prepared America. This work is accomplished through building coalitions and partnerships within the public and private sectors, academia and governmental agencies.
In her role as Executive Vice President of Programming. Mrs. Pagano oversees the Foundations national and local programs. These include the “9/11 Drill Down for Safety” emergency preparedness program, the “Text First. Talk Second” First Spouses initiative, the federally funded Safe Communities program and Safe America’s Transportation Division.
Through these programs, Mrs. Pagano seeks to fulfill the Foundation’s mission to address emerging issues in health and safety, building coalitions and conducting educational campaigns to protect Americans.
"Mrs. Pagano’s strengths draw from her experience in community public health nursing. Her work with low income and underprivileged teens in the metro Atlanta area, has received praise from the Governors Office of Highway Safety, elected officials and school educators.
Mrs. Pagano attended Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Her experience in this field includes Public Health and Psychiatric Nursing.
Mrs. Pagano, is a native New Yorker. She and Safe America President and CEO, Len Pagano have been married for 35 years. They have four grown children and reside in Marietta, Georgia.
Mr. Surrusco has served the Foundation since 2000, helping develop the SafeTeen Georgia Driving Academy as well as the SafeTeen Georgia Driving Institute. These programs are responsible for having collectively trained over 10,000 teen drivers.
Mr. Surrusco’s experience in program management extends to other areas such as training programs in emergency response and disaster preparedness. He oversees a training staff of 17 professionals from the Foundation’s Marietta, Georgia headquarters.
Since 2005,. Dr. Reel has served as Safe America’s driver safety programming ‘expert.’ His focus has been to develop curriculum for both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. Since joining the Foundation, he has refined its 30-hour classroom training program to include the latest information on driver behavior.
Dr. Reel’s expertise has been recognized nationally. For over 25 years, he ran the Traffic Safety Association of Michigan (TSAM), working with Michigan State University, state public safety officials and the private sector in developing new safety standards. Many of the concepts Dr. Reel worked on were embraced by major American automakers such as GM, Ford and Chrysler nationally.
Dr. Reel has taken the wisdom gained from helping introduce air bags and other safety devices to hiw work at Safe America. The Foundation relies on his insights to help it build one of the premiere training programs in the South.
Safe America Mainline: (770) 973-7233 Fax:(770) 971-9996
Staff Member Name -- Phone Ext. -- Email Address Will Brown -- 235 --
Joe Caprara -- 770-384-7937 --
Maureen Klinkmueller -- 241 --
Sharman Lawson -- 230 --
Len Pagano -- 234 --
Marylou Pagano -- 236 --
Marcia Sasser -- 239 --
Bob Surrusco -- 231 --
Matthew Thome -- 233 --
Deborah Worley -- 240 --
Biographies CEO and key Executive Staff members, as well as a list of other staff contacts.
Biography of our Board Chairman and list of our other board members.
Financial information summary of the operating performance of The Safe America Foundation.
2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013
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The Safe America FoundationTM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit chartered in 1994, with headquarters in suburban Atlanta. The Foundation partners with corporate, governmental, public and private sector organizations, and other nonprofits to save lives by emphasizing safety education and emergency preparedness.
Other key goals include helping returning Veterans transition safely to civilian life and teaching safe driving techniques.