Board of Directors – 2023

Whitney Racketa, Chair
Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Management, Binghamton University

Mark S. Gorgos, Vice Chair
Managing Partner, Coughlin and Gerhart, LLP

Paul F. Wood, Secretary
Trust Officer, Community Bank, N.A.

Tyrone Muse, Treasurer
President/CEO, Visions Federal Credit Union

Dr. Tomás Aguirre
Vice President of Student Life and Chief Diversity Officer, SUNY Delhi 

Dr. Laura Bronstein
Dean, College of Community and Public Affairs, Binghamton University

Susan A. Burtis
Director of Leasing, Raymond Corporation

Rajesh Davé, MD
Executive VP, Chief Medical Officer, UHS
Dean, Clinical Campus, SUNY Upstate

Kerstin Driscoll
Executive Director of Suite(K), Retirement Plan Navigator, S.E.E.D. Planning Group

Erica Lawson
Partner, Hinman, Howard & Kattell, LLP

Jamye L. Milasi
Partner, Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, LLP

Abbey Ortu
Community Development Specialist, Tioga County Dpt. of Development & Planning

Theresa Pipher
Market Intelligence Analyst, Optical Connectivity Solutions, Corning Inc. 

Karen Sastri
Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, NBT Bank  

Photo of Community Foundation Board of Directors - 2020
2020 Board of Directors First row: Patrick Doyle, Laura Bronstein Second row: Ty Muse, Rajesh Davé, Mark Gorgos, Whitney Racketa, Sue Burtis Third row: Kerstin Driscoll, Jayme Lindsey, Jean Levenson, Jim Daniels, Jon Sarra, Paul Wood Not pictured: Tomás Aguirre, Elizabeth Horvath

2021 in Review

A tough but encouraging year of recovery, resilience and reinvention

After the huge disruptions of 2020, we all hoped that 2021 would bring relief from COVID-19 and a quick return to normal life. And for a while, things did seem to be heading in the right direction.

As infection rates dropped in the spring and summer, the Community Foundation used that reprieve to conduct a record number of site visits, letting us see the amazing work our partner nonprofits had been doing under difficult conditions. Toward the year’s end, we funded a record number of projects and programs, expending nearly all the money we were permitted to use from our endowment. In all, we awarded $2,792,117 in grants and scholarships for the year.

Despite everyone’s best hopes, though, 2021 turned out to be another year of disruption, with new COVID variants and resurging case rates.

In the 2021 annual report, we highlight powerful stories of resilience, recovery and even reinvention, showing how historical societies, animal welfare organizations, youth services agencies and a broad variety of other groups have used creative strategies to fulfill their missions during the pandemic.

As we’ve done before, in 2021 we surveyed nonprofit organizations and other grantees to determine their most pressing concerns and critical needs. The picture that emerged from that survey closely matched what we were already hearing from grant applicants and recipients.

Eighty-three percent of survey respondents told us they had lost revenue because of the pandemic. The size of those losses varied widely, from less than $5,000 to as much as $200,000. But whatever the number, the bottom line is that a majority of organizations were operating in the red and lacked access to funding sources to bridge that gap.

Despite those shortfalls, 74 percent of organizations that responded to the survey in September said they were fully operational, providing either in-person or remote services. Eighty-two percent said their employees had returned to the office or were performing their duties through a hybrid of office hours and remote work. More than 80 percent had completed a reopening plan and shared it with employees, clients, consumers, patrons and community members. A significant portion, 27 percent, had temporarily suspended some services and were providing others. Approximately 40 percent of respondents saw an increase in the utilization of services, while another 40 percent saw a decrease. Twenty percent of respondents reported no significant increase or decrease.

One particularly striking insight from our survey concerns the long-term effects of the pandemic experience on nonprofit organizations. Two-thirds of respondents said they expect that changes they had made in their operations in these unusual times will persist beyond the end of the pandemic. Those changes include remote work and programming options, as well as alternative work week options. As one respondent put it, “We are currently assessing future options, not so much because of COVID, but as a way to attract workers. We are experiencing a huge challenge in getting qualified people to fill positions.”

Despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic, it’s heartening to see how organizations that provide critical services have largely remained open, continuing to deliver services or changing course to meet emerging needs and available resources. These community partners deserve our support in the form of technical assistance, resources and gratitude.

Throughout the pandemic, our communities have come through as they always do. So have our donors, Board of Directors, staff and volunteers. We hope you will see, in the 2021 Annual Report, the important work that your friends, colleagues and neighbors have accomplished in very challenging times.


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