Talent, Insight and Profound Commitment - Board Profile 2012

2012 Community Foundation BoardFront row: (from left to right) James R. Foley, John W. Foley. Second row: Keith Chadwick, Catherine M. Scarlett, Heather M. Cornell, Elysia Gudas, Natalie M. Thompson, Carolyn Demtrak. Back Row: Peter G. Newman, Patrick J. Doyle, James W. Orband, Honorable David H. Guy. Missing from photograph: Garet Livermore, John Mirabito, Jane L. Zuckerman.People who donate money or establish funds of their own place tremendous trust in the Community Foundation. We earn that trust by doing our homework and making our decisions with diligence and purpose.

Most of the credit for the Foundation's performance goes to our Board of Directors. A diverse group with roots that run deep in the communities we serve, the Board enriches the Foundation with its energy, commitment and expertise.

The Stewart W. and Willma C. Hoyt Foundation established the Community Foundation in 1997 to promote grass roots philanthropy in Broome County and the counties nearby. When the Community Foundation became independent in 2006, we made a point of recruiting Board members from throughout our multi-county region. Today, the Board encompasses members with ties to Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego Counties, and to communities both large and small.

Board members bring intimate knowledge of the needs in their own communities and are well acquainted with the agencies that serve those needs. Current Board members have volunteer or professional connections to organizations such as the Broome County United Way, the Binghamton Philharmonic, Binghamton University, the Discovery Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Owego, Lourdes Hospital, the Hospice of Chenango County, the Farmers Museum and Fenimore Art Museum and many others.

Members also provide professional expertise in a wide variety of areas, including education, human services, finance, law, business management and the arts.

For example, as former president and CEO of United Methodist Homes, Keith Chadwick brings a working knowledge of health care administration and the needs of the elderly to the current Board. Besides serving the Community Foundation, he sits on the boards of Southern Tier Health Link, the Binghamton University Foundation and the New York Leading Edge Foundation.

Chadwick also has served on the boards of AVRE and the AVRE Foundation, the Lourdes Hospice Advisory Board and the boards of Stillwater RTF, the NY-Penn Health Systems Agency and New York Homes and Services for the Aging in Albany.

Natalie Thompson, director of alumni affairs at Broome Community College, served on the Foundation's Board from 2006 to 2012 and has also served as vice chair of the Women's Fund's leadership committee.

In September 2011, Thompson worked with Rebuild Owego to distribute supplies and information to residents after flood waters overwhelmed much of the village. She also sits on the boards of United Health Services, the Ideal Senior Living Center and the SUNY Council for University Advancement.

Thompson's professional community activity began in the late 1980s, when she worked as a planner for The Broome County United Way. She served as assistant director of Broome County's Action for Older Persons, ran Tioga County's long-term care program and served as that county's deputy commissioner of social services. She has also worked as a consultant to nonprofits, doing grant writing, strategic planning and development and special events planning.

Having worked for several agencies herself, Thompson contributes a helpful perspective to the Board's discussions. This was particularly clear when she chaired the grants committee. "I was able to understand why a grant was written in a particular way, or why an agency needed the money," she says.

Once, for example, when an agency submitted a proposal for just $2,000, some committee members questioned why it would ask for so little. "I was able to give the perspective of a small agency and point out that for them, that's a lot of money," Thompson says.

The Board's president from 2010 to 2012, Carolyn Demtrak, spent many years running Lyceum, a non-credit educational program for adults 50 and older at Binghamton University.

Demtrak's history as a volunteer includes eight years on the board of the Broome County United Way, six on the executive committee of United Way of New York State and 13 on the board of the Tri-Cities Opera. She has participated in the Junior League and Friends of the Roberson Mansion and has served on the boards of the Southern Tier Institute for the Arts, the Discovery Center, the Roberson Museum, the Rose Conservancy and the Good Shepherd-Fairview Foundation.

As Board president, Demtrak attended nearly all committee meetings, and she's impressed by how well those groups operated. "The leadership is strong, and they do a really good job in preparing their committee reports, so we get a lot accomplished in a relatively short period," she says. "Obviously people ask questions, but everyone is so well prepared and shows so much respect for what the others are doing that it's very efficient."

Besides conducting business with intelligence and care, every one of our Board members supports the Foundation's work with financial contributions. These are the ultimate good neighbors, committing their talent, their treasure and their time to benefit the community.

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