Marlei’s First Time as a Fortune Flyer

Marlei’s First Time as a Fortune Flyer


Marlei Buonomo is running the 2021 New York City Marathon for the first time in support of The Fortune Society. Her husband Richard is heavily involved with Fortune as a volunteer and initially encouraged her to run.  

Originally, it was Richard who wanted to run with the Fortune Flyers, but he knew that issues with his knees would keep him out of the marathon.

“When I was contacted to see if I might want to run with the Fortune Flyers, I immediately said ‘My heart is in it, my brain is in it, but my knees won’t do it,’” Richard joked.

Instead, Marlei jumped into the running role and signed up to be on the Fortune Flyers team. She believes strongly in the mission of Fortune and wanted to give back.

Marlei said, “I believe that if you invest in people and really give them emotional support, love and acceptance, they can start a new life and they won’t go back to prison.”

Marlei and Richard also work with Fortune through a partnership at their church, the Church of Heavenly Rest on the Upper East Side, and its Prison Reentry Ministry. Through the ministry, Richard had the chance to visit Castle Gardens, Fortune’s 114-unit permanent, supportive and affordable housing facility in West Harlem and attend one of the community meetings with residents.

“We immediately detected the humanity and the love and the passion and the hands-on role that volunteers can play at Fortune,” he said.

Marlei has witnessed many of the transformative programs that Fortune has to offer and is particularly drawn to the Creative Arts program. An artist herself, she understands the way that art can uplift emotions and make a difference in people’s lives. 

She is also committed to supporting Employment Services and many of her fellow congregants, including her husband, who volunteer as mock interviewers.

Marlei is excited to run for Fortune because of the passion she has for the mission. We are grateful to have Marlei as part of the Fortune Flyers team!

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