John Ritenour grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh. As a boy, nearly everyone he knew had at least one family member who worked in the steel mills. Most families, including his own, struggled to get by and often ran out of money between paychecks.
One of entrepreneur John Ritenour’s first jobs came after responding to an ad in the newspaper for an insurance agent. Although he had not previously considered working in the insurance industry, Ritenour quickly discovered that he had found his calling. He achieved such great success as an insurance sales agent that he had enough money and confidence to propose to Valli, his high school sweetheart. The pair have now been married for more than 40 years.
John and Valli Have Always Worked Together
Ritenour’s early success in the insurance industry prompted the couple to move to Florida and start Insurance Office of Florida in 1988. The company later became the Insurance Office of America. John was CEO of the company for 30 years, and Valli worked with him in the business. The couple’s son, Heath Ritenour, took over as CEO of IOA in 2018.
Neither Valli nor John Ritenour have ever forgotten their humble beginnings or the people who helped them along the way. Anyone can see that when they look at the Ritenour’s philanthropy efforts.
Paying It Forward to a New Generation
Philanthropy has always been important to the Ritenour family, and John vowed to start giving back to the communities that supported him as soon as he was financially able. The first time IOA sponsored an event was the Corporate 5K in 1995. The event has undergone rebranding through the years and now goes by the name of The Largest Office Party in Florida.
Each year, thousands of people gather in Orlando in September to compete in a 5K race. All proceeds the participants raise from sponsors goes to charity. IOA’s charitable foundation has provided thousands of dollars’ worth of food donations to nonprofit organizations in the Orlando area over the past 26 years. Some beneficiaries include the Christian Service Center, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and Track Shack Youth Foundation.
IOA’s Charitable Foundation Helps Kids from Birth to the College Years
One of John Ritenour’s greatest joys with the IOA Charitable Foundation is encouraging kids who show strong entrepreneurial talent to pursue their goals. Ritenour recalls how he has always wanted to be successful but did not have many role models to look up to when he was young. He hopes that kids in the community see that every goal has challenges, but that just makes it more rewarding when they succeed.
Now three years into retirement, lifelong philanthropist John Ritenour enjoys spending more time with his grandchildren. He is especially proud of his son, Heath, for how well he stepped into the role of CEO and managed the company during the COVID-19 pandemic. John and Valli remain available to their son for consulting about the business but have otherwise stepped away from day-to-day operations to focus on philanthropy.