Board of Directors – 2020
James C. Daniels, CPA, Chair
Of Counsel, Davidson Fox & Company
Whitney Racketa, Vice Chair
Senior Career Advisor, School of Management, Binghamton University
Paul F. Wood, Secretary
Trust Officer, Community Bank, N.A.
Tyrone Muse, Treasurer
President/CEO, Visions Federal Credit Union
Dr. Laura Bronstein
Dean, College of Community and Public Affairs, Binghamton University
Susan A. Burtis
Group Manager, M&T Bank
Rajesh Dave’, MD
Executive VP, Chief Medical Officer, UHS
Dean, Clinical Campus, SUNY Upstate
Patrick J. Doyle
Executive Director of Suite(K), Retirement Plan Navigator, S.E.E.D. Planning Group
Mark S. Gorgos
Managing Partner, Coughlin and Gerhart, LLP
Senior Project Manager, Delaware Engineering, D.P.
President, Sentry Alarms
Jamye L. Lindsey
Partner, Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, LLP
Jon J. Sarra
Assistant Managing Partner, Hinman, Howard & Kattell, LLP
Small vs. Big
As foundations go, the Community Foundation for South Central New York is small. With hundreds of nonprofits in our five counties, and just over $25 million in assets, we see fierce competition for the money we’re able to distribute each year. As we’ve grown, we have continued to increase our grantmaking, even after 2008, when the financial downturn took a serious bite out of our assets. The reason is simple: our communities’ challenges don’t decrease when the economy slows—in fact, they grow bigger. In 2008, our board felt strongly that we shouldn’t even consider cutting back on our philanthropic support to the region.
Ten years after the fiscal crisis, we still believe that our mission—and the thing we do well—is to support communities and organizations in their efforts to serve those most in need. Many of those communities and organizations are tiny.
Our grantmaking hit a new high in 2018: we made $1.6 million in awards to organizations, municipalities and educational institutions. Some grants were for only $250. A few were as large as $75,000, but even that sum is nothing compared to what other local foundations provide. The day may come when our assets allow us to make million dollar grants for multi-year projects or capital campaigns, but as of today, we’re big believers in “small is beautiful.” The 2018 annual report is designed to reflect that sentiment.
In the report, you’ll learn about a tiny conservation organization in the foothills of the Catskills, a one-woman nonprofit that trains service dogs for veterans, three summer reading programs at small libraries, a blues festival in Norwich and a concert venue in Oxford. Each of these programs squeezes all the good it can out of every last nickel it has.
We have always funded larger organizations as well, and we always will. But truthfully, our focus is on the “grassroots”—small and under-resourced agencies, towns, villages, arts organizations and educational nonprofits such as daycare programs. That’s where our modest investment can make the biggest difference and can often leverage larger investments from additional funders.
Our small special funds make a big difference as well. A donor may start a special fund with as little as $10,000, but collectively, these funds account for the bulk of the Foundation’s grantmaking. Helping students achieve their dreams of college, providing gas cards so breast cancer patients can get to appointments, buying food and shelter for rescued animals—special grant awards, some as small as $100, take care of these needs and many more.
All this is possible thanks to the thoughtful oversight of our Board of Directors, the dedication of staff and volunteers, and the generosity of our donors, many of whom give annually, sometimes with gifts of $10 or $25. The more we grow, the more firmly we believe that anyone can be a philanthropist. Small gifts add up to make a big difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors.