Servant Leader: Mario Macaluso Continues To Serve

Posted by Sean Funk on May 30, 2024 2:03:00 PM

“My fiancé, Belinda, and I are driven to give back because we are fortunate to possess the means and the time to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Mario Macaluso, founder and president of Best Self Storage Insurance. “Witnessing the positive impact of our efforts fills our lives with immense joy and fulfillment.”  


Since his early years, Macaluso gained a profound understanding of the essence of giving back, immersing himself in clubs, sports, and school programs that instilled in him a valuable life lesson: the importance of prioritizing others above oneself. To this day, Macaluso continues to get involved and dedicate much of his time to actively engage in meaningful activities.  


Origins Of A Philanthropist

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Macaluso moved to Phoenix, Ariz., at the age of nine. “When my dad’s company acquired the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette, two of Arizona’s largest newspapers, he had the opportunity to transfer out West. It was a complete culture shock for my entire family. All my friends and extended family were just minutes away from our previous home in Brooklyn, and suddenly we were thrown into a whole new world,” recalls Macaluso. “We were all going through a whirlwind of emotions at the time. Yet, in the midst of it all, I couldn’t help but feel grateful to have such supportive and caring parents. My mom made sure we all stayed busy and productive, which helped my four siblings and I navigate through this challenging transition.” 


Despite the difficult transition of moving across the country, Macaluso expressed how grateful he was for the change as he reflected on his early school days. “I must admit, I wasn’t the perfect student back then,” he chuckled. “I shared some memorable moments in the principal’s office with a close group of friends, whom I am still friends with today. We were a bit rebellious, always pushing the envelope. Surprisingly, those office visits turned out to be enlightening experiences. The principal genuinely cared for us, showing us a tremendous amount of respect and love while guiding us to make better choices.” 


Feeling inspired to show others the same care his principal showed him, Macaluso recalls his first experience getting involved and giving back to those in need. “I had such a memorable and powerful experience in eighth grade. Our class took on a special initiative where we accepted the responsibility of raising funds for food and household necessities for a single mother and her family in South Phoenix. Looking back, this experience stands out as one of my earliest and most valuable lessons in the spirit of giving back.” 


Macaluso attributes much of his success in both his career and philanthropic endeavors to the invaluable guidance and support of many mentors from his younger days. “The true blessing in all of this is that I had the privilege of being mentored by such wonderful people throughout my journey. From my loving parents to an inspiring scout master, a dedicated soccer coach, incredible teachers, and a caring principal, each one played a pivotal role in shaping my path,” says Macaluso.  


Transforming Lives  


Mario FamilyOver the years, Macaluso and Belinda have participated in some big charitable causes, like Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos or NPH USA, which helps underprivileged children overcome poverty and become productive, thoughtful leaders in their communities. “Belinda and I actively sponsor children through this program, and I must say, the greatest reward of all is seeing these children thrive in a safe and loving environment and later witnessing them transform into successful adults. Hearing them say ‘thank you’ because they are now dentists or doctors and are making a positive impact in their communities is beyond words. This is where our joy finds its deepest roots—in the knowledge that we’ve made a difference in their lives and helped shape their future,” says Macaluso.  


When asked what motivated him to continue to focus much of his time on philanthropy, Macaluso spoke about his family and other volunteers who have crossed his path. “Belinda and both my daughters, Abby and Ashley, inspire me to help others. Without their love and support, I would not be where I am today,” he says. “My youngest daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Over the past five years, she has been actively participating in the Special Olympics swim team. The coaches, who generously volunteer their time, have been instrumental in mentoring and supporting Ashley throughout her journey. Witnessing these coaches take the time to mentor her, the same way my coaches and teachers mentored me, inspires me to give back.” 


The Charity Storage Vision 

Macaluso is also heavily involved in Charity Storage, dedicating much of his time as the organization’s program manager and a board member. “I joined Charity Storage because I believe in Barry Hoeven’s and Lance Watkin’s vision. Every self-storage operator has at least one vacant or non-desirable unit that they can set aside as a charity unit,” says Macaluso. “The team at Charity Storage has made it easier than ever to give back to causes that are most important to operators.” 


olympics-1Charity Storage plays an invaluable role within the self-storage industry, providing a dedicated channel for storage operators to maximize their philanthropic efforts. “I cannot express how important this organization has been to me and so many of the operators participating in the program. Through their participation, they are exemplifying the true spirit of giving back to the community and making a positive difference in the world. As this inspiring program continues to grow and touch more lives, it will continue to reaffirm the power of compassion and cooperation in creating a better, more compassionate society,” says Macaluso. “The Charity Storage team and I are all very excited for the future of this program.” 


About Charity Storage

Charity Storage was conceived by Lance Watkins, who had first-hand experience with the storage industry and with the reality television show “Storage Wars.” The late Barry Hoeven, founder of Westport Properties, co-founded Charity Storage, bringing many years of self-storage and philanthropy experience to the endeavor. Today, Charity Storage is an independent 501(c)3 national self-storage industry nonprofit that is supported by many self-storage owners, operators, management companies, industry associations, organizations, and vendors. Ninety percent of all funds raised are distributed to qualifying charitable organizations (60 percent to the charity chosen by the operator/facility, 20 percent to Kure It Cancer Research, and 10 percent to the Self-Storage Association Foundation [SSAF] Scholarship Program). 


Charity Storage utilizes existing storage facility operations to raise funds to support charities throughout the United States. Donated and abandoned items are placed into a vacant unit and the contents are auctioned off on site or online via or other online auction platforms. Operators online with can opt-in via their account dashboard today and start selling charity units immediately. 



Sean Funk is the marketing generalist for both OpenTech Alliance and Charity Storage, where he specializes in digital marketing and data analytics. He holds a BS in entrepreneurial studies with a minor in marketing, as well as a MS in Leadership from GCU.