The Rochester Area Community Foundation kicked off its 40th anniversary celebration by sharing details of a once-secret award made in 2001 that was the organization’s largest ever.
The gift came from Ronald Fielding of Pittsford and his late wife, Donna. The then-anonymous pair gave $14 million to the Community Foundation in December 2001—the largest gift in the foundation’s history.
Fielding was one of three recipients of the Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Awards this year, and during the award ceremony officials from the organization finally shared details about the gift.
“At the time the Fieldings made this incredible gift, they asked that it remain anonymous and we agreed to keep their names a secret,” said Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the Community Foundation.
The gift allowed the Community Foundation to create a fund for their personal charitable giving. Other contributions were added in later years, and many local non-profit organizations have benefited, Community Foundation officials said.
As of this week, the fund has awarded 165 grants totaling more than $17 million to local non-profits, mostly to projects to enhance the cultural landscape, provide critical services, help deserving agencies remain vital and safeguard much-needed programs for children.
The Community Foundation also shared other highlights at the event. At the end of the fiscal year on March 31, the organization reached an all-time high of $250 million in assets. Of those assets, $183 million remain permanently endowed, meaning they will benefit future generations, Community Foundation officials said.
The organization also noted that last year it received $29 million in gifts and contributions, reaching pre-recession giving levels.
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