Meet Others

One Great Gift Deserves An other

An artist’s grant from the Community Foundation changed Glenda Blake’s life. Now Glenda and her husband are giving back, establishing the Glenda Blake and Leo Cotnoir Fund to support artists and community arts activities.

A Lifelong Commitment to Service

As young professionals raising a family, Gene and Judy Peckham couldn’t devote much money to community causes. But that didn’t stop them from devoting themselves. The Peckhams discovered the pleasure of public service as Peace Corps volunteers in Peru in the 1960s. “We learned more there than we ever taught anybody,” Judy says.

Broad Reach, Deep Devotion

Jack Russell's interest in community service grew from a strong religious faith, nurtured at Binghamton’s West Presbyterian Church. Jack and his wife, Mary, were true givers, says their son, Fred Russell. They didn’t care about receiving accolades; they just cared about making a difference that would last. “They wanted to make this community better for the next generation.”

Fresh Faces, New Fund

If you want to see the rising generation of community philanthropists, check out the S.E.E.D. Planning Group. Many of the partners and employees at this Binghamton-based business planning startup are under 35. In 2013, these young professionals made a major commitment to their neighbors, forming a donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation.

Generosity Made Easy

Bill and Audree Rincker met at Harpur College, back in the days when students attended class in Quonset huts in Endicott. After their marriage, Bill--a transplant to this area, and Audree--a Binghamton native, raised two children and set their roots down deep in the community. As a member of the board of the Stewart W. and Willma C. Hoyt Foundation 15 years ago, Bill played a key role in creating the Community Foundation.

Looking Out for Animal Companions

Many organizations help people in need, but resources for animals are more scarce. That's why Jim and Carol Fish decided to create the Kerby Fund, a donor advised fund focused on animal welfare. Jim and Carol met in the late 1970s while attending graduate school at Binghamton University. Both transplants to Broome County, they're now firmly part of the community.

Giving as a Family Affair

Since they moved to Binghamton in 1997, Elysia and Tom Gudas have made the community their own. Elysia has volunteered for the PTAs at their two daughters' schools and at the family's church. Tom works as a radiologist at Wilson Hospital and also has sought out other ways to serve.

A Legacy for the Future

Walter Rich believed in the future of upstate New York. As Chairman, President and CEO of The New York Susquehanna and Western Railway and The Central New York Railroad, based in Cooperstown, he worked to ensure that the region had a viable, safe rail transportation system to move freight from local markets to those of larger metropolitan areas. He was widely respected and greatly liked, a fine achievement for any lifetime. But there was more to Walter than that.

Planting for the Future

Community service is second nature to Kent and Barbara Turner. Kent learned about philanthropy while growing up in Norwich, where his parents were deeply involved in the Greater Norwich Foundation. "My mother and dad talked a lot about it over the dining room table," he recalls. Barbara grew up in Mamaroneck, N.Y. and Williamstown, Mass. In 1972, she and Kent moved to Binghamton, where he took a job as a trust banker.

Giving Back, Close to Home

Stephen and Betty Purtell both grew up in families of modest means, but they did well in life. In 1959 Steve started building his business, a Manpower employment agency in Binghamton. Betty joined the firm in the 1970s. Hard work earned the Purtells a more than comfortable living. In 1996 they sold their business and got ready to move full time to Florida. Just because the Purtells planned to head south, however, didn't mean they planned to leave their home town behind.

A Circle of Hands, A Single Heart

They came together to study the Bible and stayed to study world religion, philosophy, science and more. They have assisted one another, and they've joined hands to assist others in need. They say they've become a single being with a single heart. That's why they call themselves the Organism. "We felt we had one purse, and we felt we had one tongue," says Fannie Linder, the retired psychotherapist who in 1977 founded the Bible study group that became the Organism.

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