The love affair began about 20 years ago. Lee DeLieto Sr. attended a Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Club on Fruitville Road. When he noticed how excited the kids were to receive a gift and a Christmas meal, neither of which the vast majority had ever experienced, he was immediately hooked. From there, his devotion to youth and the community has grown.

Lee remembers a young girl, about eight years old at the party. “She ran up to Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, hugged him and said “This is the best day of my life.’”

Although he and his sister were raised just north of New York City and he holds degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Rochester Simon School of Business, Lee is very much a Sarasotan. With over 25 years of experience as a broker at Michael Saunders, he has solid commercial real estate knowledge and years of know-how to help clients achieve their goals. Having repeatedly received the “Top Commercial Real Estate Producer’’ recognition, Lee’s DeLieto’s name is well-known in town. In fact, it’s doubly well-known. In 2005, his son, Lee Jr. became his business partner and today, The DeLieto team includes four licensed commercial Realtors®.

As for community service, Lee’s list of involvement is long. Currently, he holds the title of Chairman of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation where he was a member of the corporate board of directors for six years. He is a trustee for the American Red Cross Southwest Florida Chapter as well as the Michael Saunders Company Foundation, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. He was also a founder and board member of Insignia Bank (now Centennial) and President of the downtown Kiwanis Club, from which he gained a great deal of information and experience about our community.

What inspires this philanthropic spirit? A follower of his Catholic upbringing and faith, Lee believes that if you lend to others, you should never expect repayment. If you give because you want to help others, it’s a true gift. “My sister and I were raised by caring parents who repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to assist others in need,” he says. “I have never forgotten the lasting impression of their actions. Basically, I care and I am willing to share my good fortune via my time, treasure or talent.”

Lee is especially grateful to Michael Saunders for encouraging him to be involved in the community when he first started working with her over two decades ago, and the gratitude seems to go both ways. The company’s founder and CEO has nothing but praise for her friend and colleague: “Lee is the epitome of the long-standing tradition of Michael Saunders & Company —doing what is right each and every day in the community and in business,” says Saunders. “He is a fine human being, extremely charismatic and a role model to many. A true hero and treasure to our community.”

In December 2021, Lee DeLieto was awarded SRQ Magazine’s Good Hero Philanthropic Award for his 20 year-long devotion to the youth in our community through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. He has served as a dedicated leader for this organization and has made a positive and memorable impact across thousands of lives. Lee’s sense of duty to kids is tireless. During his 30 years of service, he has done everything in his power to ensure that every child has the support to achieve their full potential. His leadership ensured not just the smooth run of operations, but the expansion of the organization and a commitment to safe, continuous service during the pandemic. His steadfast devotion has helped the Club to truly be a trusted local institution.

Bill Sadlo believes that Lee is paving the way for future leaders. “Lee’s sense of duty and commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties is remarkable,” he says. “With 30 years of service, he is a true ambassador for our Club members and our mission. Whether through personal investments, tireless outreach to new partners, or skilled leadership as on our Board, Lee’s commitment to the success of our kids and the sustainability of our organization is resolute. His vision and leadership helped us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and uphold our mission of reaching those who need us most. We are so grateful for all that Lee has given to our organization.”