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Twenty-nine individuals and organizations will be honored next week for their philanthropic efforts.
On Nov. 9, National Philanthropy Day, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Genesee Valley Chapter, will recognize them for their dedication to the community.
The day is designed to be a celebration of regular contributions by people to various causes and is focused on the spirit of giving. It was started in 1986 by AFP.
At its luncheon event, AFP's local chapter will hand out its 2012 Philanthropy Award in six categories:
Here is a closer look at the nominees:
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
Daniel Burns believes everyone deserves to have a Y, and that is why he has dedicated countless hours to bring one to an inner-city neighborhood.
Burns has held leadership positions at the YMCA of Greater Rochester, including his involvement with the Maplewood YMCA capital campaign and its annual Invest in Youth Campaign. As the regional president of M&T Bank Corp.'s Rochester division, Burns secured a $150,000 donation from the bank for the Y's Maplewood branch renovation. This transformational gift helped rehabilitate a building that is an anchor for the Maplewood community.
"We're proud of the fact that we have a great facility that helps inner-city kids," Burns says. "It's a place that provides day care, health and fitness, and senior citizens use it too. That's an important part of the equation.
"It's wonderful the way the space is used. It's flex space. Seniors use it during the day when kids are at school. It supports the whole community."
Through Burns' leadership, M&T Bank has supported the YMCA of Greater Rochester with more than $300,000 in gifts and pledges. When he was chairman of the Invest in Youth Campaign, he led an annual campaign that surpassed the $1 million mark for the first time.
Stepping away from the role of campaign and board chairman has not lessened Burns' commitment. In 2011, he personally raised more than $13,000, helping the annual campaign raise $1.7 million, which exceeded its goal by $85,000.
"I have a special fondness for the Y," Burns says. "I grew up at the Y as a kid and spent my summers there. My work for them now is a labor of love."
The St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center is extremely important to David Guadagnino, so much so that he does not mind taking the lead if it means he can raise awareness for its cause.
"I'm usually a behind-the-scenes guy, the one who prefers to be second in command," Guadagnino says. "But when I was asked to chair the annual party, my wife and I talked about it and we both felt very passionate about helping the center, so I agreed to do it."
That was in 2010, and Guadagnino's idea to make the fundraiser an Italian-themed party paid off. It has been St. Joseph's most successful fundraising event to date, according to organizers, raising a total of $74,000, a 42 percent increase in net proceeds from the year before.
Guadagnino's work as committee chairman for this year's event, which had a pirate theme, helped bring in even more sponsors and produced a total of $80,000 in net profit.
St. Joseph's relies solely on donations and grants to keep its doors open. Its mission is to provide medical and mental health care to uninsured and underinsured people who live in the Rochester neighborhoods it serves.
"The center's mission hits close to home for me because so many in my family work in health care," Guadagnino says. "My brother is a physician. My one sister works for Excellus, and my other sister works for a state agency in health care."
Guadagnino and his wife, Mary, as well as his colleagues at Merrill Lynch Inc. have been donors and sponsors at the center's annual auction and party since 2005.
David Riedman's commitment to the Seneca Park Zoo Society has combined his fund-raising leadership and his expertise in the field of construction in a way that will benefit the zoo and its visitors for years to come.
He was instrumental in the implementation and fundraising of the zoo's newest exhibit, "A Step into Africa," a $14 million expansion project that houses the zoo's elephants, baboon and new African lion exhibits.
"I used my influence to get the Riedman Foundation to make a lead gift up to $1 million," Riedman says. "Then the project proceeded from a fundraising to a construction phase. With all of my background, there was a synergy there for me."
Riedman has served as a trustee on the board of the Seneca Park Zoo Society since 2003 and as president of the board for the last three years. During his service on the board, Riedman has assisted the society in raising $8.8 million for phase II of the project, which included the elephant splash pool, and he led the effort to raise $4.9 million for phase III, an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art lion exhibit.
Additionally, he has worked to foster support from foundations, businesses and individual donors. He and his wife, Betsey, have made personal contributions of more than $47,000.
Cultivating a continuing interest in the zoo is an effort that extends to Riedman's 17-year-old daughter, Caroline.
"She has been doing a lot of volunteer survey work on the teen population, how to engage that age group," Riedman explains. "Kids at a young age are interested but then go away, and they may not come back. The outcome of her research is in a blog on the zoo's website."
With the Africa exhibit expansion funded in large part through Riedman's efforts, the Seneca Park Zoo expanded from just over 10 acres to more than 15.
Rotary Club of Greece, N.Y.
The Rotary Club of Greece is a continually growing group of volunteers. The organization, currently at 95 members, takes up several community causes related to health, education and youth leadership.
The Greece Rotary is the largest organizational supporter of Camp Haccamo, which serves handicapped children and young adults between the ages of 7 and 28 from Monroe and area counties. The Greece Rotary donated $7,700 to the camp in 2011.
"We are always looking for a worthy project to fund," says Richard Antelli, its president. "This year it was a new helipad at Park Ridge Hospital that was finished over the summer."
The Greece Rotary donated $50,000 to fund the helipad, which will be used by Mercy Flight Central and Mercy Flight Western for patients who are unable to be safely transported by ambulance.
The Rotary Club of Greece raises funds for projects in the community and for Rotary International. This year, members raised a total of $75,000 and volunteered 450 hours in the community.
"I've been with the Rotary for 25 years," Antelli says. "It's a good way to work with a lot of talented people, and 100 percent of our money raised goes to the cause."
Outstanding Youth Volunteer Fundraiser
One weekend when Rachel Auchter was 9 years old, she told her mother she wanted to sell something. She ended up raising $1,200 for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with her fall mailbox decorations.
"She did that two years ago, and they (National Center staff) still talk about it. They pulled her up on stage at the event and used her as an example. She was interviewed for Channel 8 (WROC-TV), and Rachel said if even a kid can make a difference, what is it that most people can do," says her mother, Kristen Auchter.
Rachel, who is in the fifth grade at Park Road Elementary School in Pittsford, also gravitates toward the special needs students in her class.
"I can't tell you how many times I've cried because someone has walked up to me and said, 'I can't tell you how Rachel is with this child or that child.' She's so patient," says Kristen Auchter.
Besides fundraising for the National Center, Rachel has volunteered two years in a row for the fundraising gala of Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Rochester. She sold raffle tickets and blinkies-novelties with light-emitting diodes-and raised $6,000.
Rachel will be at the gala in March and also plans to volunteer to cook dinner at the Ronald McDonald House once a month.
Kids Miracle Making Club Inc.
When children join the Kids Miracle Making Club, they are asked what they want to be when they grow up. The organization then works to channel that interest into a community service project. Young members of the service learning organization create projects to help other kids who have physical and developmental challenges.
"Our goal is to provide the stage for kids to explore and discover what makes them special," says Steve Pellow, president of Kids Miracle Making Club. "Once they do and feel good about themselves, what better way to reinforce that feeling than to help other kids using their special talents?
"At the same time, our goal is also to provide the stage for kids with challenges to explore and discover what makes them special. And they do so every time they interact with one of our club members."
The group worked on a project called Music Friendzy, in which club members who loved music participated in music therapy sessions with special-needs children and then created a concert with friends who played in bands. It raised more than $1,000 for music therapy equipment for three organizations.
According to Pellow, children with special needs teach club members about challenges, how to overcome them and how to face life's challenges with a positive attitude. The Kids Miracle Making Club serves Mary Cariola Children's Center, CP Rochester and Golisano Children's Hospital.
"The beauty of our model is kids are immediately seeing the results of their giving," Pellow says. "They raise funds through projects related to their own special interests and talents. They buy special products to help their friends with challenges, again products connected to their interests and talents.
"They then interact with the kids they are helping, using the products and services they purchased through their fund-raising."
Kyle Schuhart made a decision early in life to advocate for patients with cystic fibrosis, the disease he was born with. He believes those afflicted with the degenerative condition can either get behind the effort or keep their condition a secret.
"My parents had gone to a few of the events (at) organizations, so I was brought up in the loop of fundraising for it. I grew into it, and I love advocating for it," says Schuhart.
Starting in kindergarten, he sold paper shoes for a dollar. Buyers put their names on the shoes in support of the annual cystic fibrosis walk for the Rochester-area chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In middle school and high school he set up "jar wars," in which student groups competed to raise money in jars placed in each homeroom. The competition yields one winner from each grade. In the seventh grade, Schuhart raised $5,000.
He says his efforts are possible because of the help of the staff at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"The people at the foundation are always willing to help out anything I need to make it successful," Schuhart says. "They help getting volunteers, and when I was younger they helped me talk to the school to get on board."
Schuhart now is fundraising for his walk team for next year and wants to plan a celebrity bartender night in Rochester. He says the tips would go toward the foundation.
"(Cystic fibrosis) affects just as many people as other diseases, but we aren't government-funded, so it's harder to raise awareness," Schuhart says. "I fundraise to gain awareness for this disease that changes lives."
In the last four years, 20-year-old Ambika Sharma has combined her passion for Indian dance with her love of charity work to throw two successful banquets for local charities, raising a total of $27,000.
In September, Sharma chose Daystar for Medically Fragile Children to reap the proceeds of a banquet of her club, Kids Reaching Hearts through Performing Arts. Erin Donnelly, director of development for Daystar, says the agency was impressed with Sharma's professionalism.
"She could run any event, even come work for us," Donnelly says. "It was an easy fit. We got to meet the high school students she works with and got the same vibe: They knew what they were doing, and they were invested. They came in and connected with our children in our day care, got down on the floor and got eye to eye with them. They got our mission."
The Daystar staff loved the food, she says; the prizes were appealing, and the place was packed. All members of Sharma's group are high school and middle school students, which says a lot about the organization, Donnelly says.
While Sharma now attends St. Bonaventure University, she has made Kids Reaching Hearts through Performing Arts her legacy. Through the India Community Center, she created a youth organization to instill charitable values in prospective members. She still remains involved in mentoring the high school students who have taken over the leadership and produce the annual fundraiser.
It often is admirable when a child wants to replace receiving gifts with directing donations to a charity, as when 13-year-old Kyle Stein gave all his bar mitzvah gifts to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester.
"I think what's impressive-because we have been fundraising for a long time-this is so unusual," says Carol DeMoulin, executive director at the Ronald McDonald House. "The kid did this; it wasn't the dad saying, 'We'll send letters to all the people in my business or friend circle.' This was Kyle. You hear kids doing that with birthday gifts, but this was really beyond that."
Last Christmas when Kyle and his father were visiting friends, they volunteered to make holiday boxes for families in the hospital and asked Ronald McDonald House for more information.
"We thought that meant Ron, the dad, was going to use his company to sponsor the donation. They got in touch with us in January and said Kyle wants to raise $10,000. He wanted to be a top tier sponsor for our gala, and he did it," says Patty Schwarzeller, director of development at Ronald McDonald House.
Kyle has made a two-year commitment to raise $10,000 each year, and he has almost completed the second round of donations for the 2013 gala.
Water for South Sudan at the Harley School
The seven students who make up Water for South Sudan at the Harley School have only $4,500 left to reach their $15,000 goal for building a well halfway around the world.
"They are spreading awareness about water issues and safe drinking water to a population of kids who probably wouldn't know about it. They will affect a bunch of people on the other side of the world for generations to come," says Jenna Wainwright, coordinator of development communications at the school.
Erin Brennan-Burke, Seeley Taylor, Grace Mendola, Jordan Hollands, Amos Frye, Mariah Palumbo and Helen Stern started the project in March 2011, and they have involved an entire community, Wainwright says. She says they work beautifully together with a dynamic energy that allows them to execute ideas.
"One of the biggest fundraisers they had was a Walk for Water," Wainwright says. "They raised $4,200 on that one alone. Folks walked the same distance the average Sudanese person has to walk to get water every day, six kilometers."
Participants were given T-shirts and could listen to local bands while they had snacks or enjoyed face painting. The club also hosted a bake sale, baked 2,800 cookies and raised more than $1,200.
According to Wainwright, the goal is to raise the rest of the money before December because drilling season in Sudan is January or February.
Woof Woof Club
Lily Clark set up and led her own business meeting at age 11.
Her parents took her to a Lollypop Farm event in February at the Cottage Hotel in Mendon, where she met the owner, Hilary Stott.
"Lily struck up a conversation and told her how she was raising money. The owner said they should get together and do something at the restaurant. Lily just latched onto that," says Cathie Wright, director of development for Lollypop Farm.
Lily organized a lunch where she and the other five members of her humane society, the Woof Woof Club, waited on tables. They sold hot chocolate and Shirley Temples for a dollar, as well as raffle tickets. By the end of the day they raised $500 for Lollypop Farm.
"I was just so impressed with her desire to help animals," Wright says. "Most of our donors will do the occasional birthday party where they choose to have gifts donated to Lollypop instead of getting gifts themselves. But she went the extra step and recruited other kids. She was being entrepreneurial in her fundraising."
Lily, a Honeoye Falls resident, is the leader of the Woof Woof Club. She started by sewing dog and cat toys and donated them to Lollypop. She has set up lemonade stands and done yard work to raise funds for rescuing animals. Wright says Lily motivates others and shows promise as a future leader.
Robert A. Clinger Outstanding Fundraising Executive
Carol Anne DeMoulin
Carol Anne DeMoulin began fundraising for non-profits at an early age.
"As a kid, I had a backyard carnival for MDA," says DeMoulin, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester.
DeMoulin's effort to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association helped propel her into a career of nearly 30 years that has taken her to leadership positions at several major non-profits.
Ronald McDonald House provides lodging and emotional support to the families of children who are being treated at Rochester-area hospitals.
"We provide a home away from home for the families of ill or injured children," DeMoulin says.
Since she took the helm, DeMoulin has helped increase the number of programs Ronald McDonald House offers and the money it can use to provide them. The organization raised some $1.14 million in 2010 and is projected to raise $1.3 million by the end of 2012.
As important as those figures are, they are only part of the reason DeMoulin goes to work.
"Every single day, I see the impact of being a part of Ronald McDonald House in the faces of families and children who are at a vulnerable time in their lives," she says.
DeMoulin has served as president of the board for the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, as its conference chairwoman and professional advancement chairwoman and in other roles. She also has mentored other professional fundraisers one-on-one.
Karen Gaffney feels lucky.
"I'm lucky to have a job where I feel like I make a difference," says Gaffney, vice president of the Al Sigl Foundation.
Gaffney has spent more than two decades with non-profits, seven of those years with the Al Sigl Foundation. The foundation provides financial support for the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, a collaborative network of non-profit organizations that assists children and adults who have disabilities and special needs.
Gaffney's years with the Al Sigl Foundation have been marked by a series of successes. Under her leadership, the "Just One" direct-mail campaign netted more than $150,000 in 2009, its most successful year to date. The foundation also raised $5.1 million last year with her help, including the largest bequest in its history, a gift exceeding $3 million.
Gaffney also led the planning effort for "50 Years of Achieving More Together," an anniversary celebration for the Al Sigl Community of Agencies that took place last August. The event drew roughly 1,600 people to Frontier Field, including clients and their families, volunteers, donors and supporters.
Gaffney is a certified fundraising executive, teaches CFRE classes and mentors fundraising professionals.
For Diane Shoger, executive director of the Monroe Community College Foundation, fundraising is more than a quest for dollars and cents.
"I think of myself as someone who helps make education possible," she says.
Shoger has spent roughly 13 of her 25 years as a fundraiser doing just that. After joining the MCC Foundation in 1999 as director of development and major gifts, she launched Building on Success: the Campaign for Monroe Community College. The campaign exceeded its $10 million fundraising goal by $1 million.
Shoger assumed the lead at the MCC Foundation in 2008. Under her leadership, the foundation raised more than $4 million during the 2011-12 school year alone. In total, she has raised more than $26 million for MCC.
While Shoger appears to relish the idea of raising funds for MCC, part of the reward seems to arise from the purposes for which the money is used.
"You ultimately understand that you're helping people have a better life," she says.
Shoger has turned her energy to other worthwhile pursuits through the years. The former special education teacher and professed sports lover has volunteered for Special Olympics New York for many years. She also was employed by the organization, rising to executive vice president and chief operating officer by the time she stepped down in 1999.
Constellation Brands Inc.
Constellation Brands believes its long-term success is directly connected to its ability to make a positive difference in the community.
As evidence of this commitment, the company matches dollar for dollar any employee donation to a non-profit organization.
"I am in a fortunate position to be able to support myself and my family but understand that could change at any moment," says John Miller, manager of business process at Constellation Brands. "This is not something I take for granted. There is a social responsibility to help others whenever possible."
The company focuses on enhancing the quality of life through support of arts and culture, education and health care. The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure bicycling event raised more than $18 million last year in support of initiatives to prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of those affected. Constellation Brands made a generous contribution to the cause, both as a corporate sponsor and with its own Tour de Cure team-which raised $55,000 and ranked 17th in the country in 2012.
"The ADA's passion towards their mission shows from the moment you meet them, and the desire to help is contagious," Miller says. "Over my eight years participating in the Tour de Cure, I have met several people with diabetes and learned how their lives are impacted by the disease. My drive to be involved increases each time I meet someone with diabetes."
Over the last five years, CooperVision has contributed more than $150,000 to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired-Goodwill Industries of Rochester Inc.
Project Eye Care is an ABVI outreach program that provides eye exams and essential eye care to people without health insurance. Recognizing the importance of this cause, CooperVision developed its Share the Vision fundraising program to support the project and encourages local eye care practitioners to enroll in the program. A portion of all sales of CooperVision products by participating practitioners is then donated to ABVI.
"The number of people that are underserved is growing, so any impact we can make is worthwhile," says Karen Napodano, area sales manager at CooperVision. "When you hear those success stories, it makes it all worthwhile."
Some 670 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired simply because they do not have access to the optical exam or glasses they need, according to Optometry Giving Sight, the only international fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision. CooperVision sponsors the organization and helps fund its projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which include the development of vision centers, optical laboratories, training programs and outreach services.
"Helping improve the way people see each day is the core of the CooperVision corporate promise," says James Gardner, vice president of marketing for the Americas at CooperVision. "It is very important to us to keep this top of mind every day."
Dixon Schwabl Advertising Inc.
Dixon Schwabl donates nearly 10,000 hours of time and professional services annually to non-profit organizations.
When the Salvation Army sought its help to rejuvenate the Red Kettle Campaign in the 2011 post-recession economy, Dixon Schwabl offered a new integrated marketing strategy-and its own team of nearly 100 volunteers. The campaign met its goal for the first time since 2005.
"For 25 years the Rochester community has been very good to our company," says Lauren Dixon, CEO of Dixon Schwabl. "I feel it's incumbent to give back; it's just the right thing to do."
As chairman of the board at the Golisano Children's Hospital, Howie Jacobson, managing partner at Dixon Schwabl, has made immeasurable contributions to the community. His passion for philanthropy is contagious.
Employees are encouraged to take a paid day off to volunteer time at non-profit organizations and to join boards that support causes they are passionate about.
"It allows us to engage our team members by helping the community," Dixon says. "They take great pride in volunteering and giving back in other ways."
In addition, Dixon Schwabl works on fund-raising events for the Rochester City Ballet, American Heart Association and Daystar for Medically Fragile Children Inc. And the agency's Horses on Parade campaign raised more than $1 million for more than 100 local non-profit organizations in 2001.
Hoselton Auto Mall
Hoselton Auto Mall could have simply written a check in support of Heritage Christian Services Inc.'s Employment Alliance, an innovative program that matches employers with individuals who have disabilities.
Instead, the business hired someone with a disability.
"Chris is one of the people that Heritage serves, and now he also works at Hoselton," says Drew Hoselton, president of Hoselton Auto Mall. "Chris is always positive and enjoys life. He is an encouragement to the other employees."
With a generous gift from Hoselton Auto Mall and a matching grant it worked to se-cure, Heritage Christian Services now has a bike trail and adaptive bikes in Penfield.
"Our involvement with Heritage has helped us in multiple ways," Hoselton says. "We have been able to bring some of their ideas and incorporated them here."
Hoselton Auto Mall also works with the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons, which teaches African physicians to become general surgeons and improves health care in Africa. In addition, the company's support of the Boy Scouts of America and commitment to education through donations to Roberts Wesleyan College and the Charles Finney School help support local youths.
M/E Engineering P.C.
The philanthropic contributions of M/E Engineering can be seen in renovations to the Eastman Theatre, Kodak Hall and Eastman School of Music, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and exhibits and expansion at the Strong.
"M/E Engineering is the perfect example of the difference a small but committed group of people can make," says Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College.
Educated in the Rochester City School District and a graduate of Edison Tech and Rochester Institute of Technology, Allen Casey, president of M/E Engineering, ardently supports education.
The firm funds scholarships at MCC and RIT to support faculty innovation, help finance programs facing funding challenges and aid deserving students in pursuit of a college education.
Casey is hands-on in his commitment. He works with the MCC Foundation Council to identify and encourage community support of education and has been instrumental in the development of the city's first science, technology, engineering and math high school.
"Al Casey's commitment to city of Rochester students inspires us all and shows students the way to a better life through education," Kress says.
According to Casey, MCC and RIT are two of the city's greatest assets, and supporting these schools and students is the best way to influence Rochester's future.
"Education is the linchpin," Casey says. "If we can make a difference and get the momentum moving in a positive direction, it will be a windfall for every business and individual in the area."
Nixon Peabody LLP
From representing refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries to helping low-income entrepreneurs get businesses off the ground, Nixon Peabody attorneys and staff have a history of providing pro bono support in the Rochester community.
"We are proud to be leaders in the law and in the community, including supporting a variety of philanthropic organizations that enrich our city in so many ways," says Carolyn Nussbaum, managing partner of Nixon Peabody's Rochester office.
Despite her busy schedule, Nussbaum volunteers as president of the Jewish Community Federation, while attorney Jeremy Wolk volunteers as president of the Jewish Community Center.
"We challenge everyone at the firm to reach up and to give back by serving in a leadership role on a committee or board, through pro bono service, volunteering their time, and individual charitable giving," Nussbaum says. "Also, as a firm, we commit financial resources to support those institutions. This is an important part of our firm culture."
As a part of the firm's expanding pro bono initiative, Nixon Peabody strives to contribute a minimum of 60 hours of pro bono work annually per attorney. The firm has met this challenge for the last three years.
This includes a generous philanthropic commitment to the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Geva Theatre Center and the Rochester Area Community Foundation and extensive work with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies.
A.B. & J. Noyes Foundation
At the A.B. & J. Noyes Foundation, philanthropy is a kind of family affair.
"Our stated purpose is to encourage philanthropy by members of the Noyes family," says Jansen Noyes III, the foundation's president.
Jansen Noyes Sr., an investment banker based in New York City, and his wife, Agnes Blanke Noyes, created the A.B. & J. Noyes Foundation in 1954. They have passed away, but a board of directors including some of their grandchildren continues to run the foundation. Clara Barton Chapter 1 of the American Red Cross always receives its largest grants, because of the family's special connection to the Red Cross.
That connection is personal and historic. Emma Hartman Noyes, mother of the elder Noyes, came to know Red Cross founder Clara Barton in the 1870s. Jansen Noyes Sr. and his wife donated the family home in Dansville to the Red Cross as the headquarters of the local chapter in the late 1940s. Noyes Foundation grants have helped maintain the building, allowing the chapter to devote more of its resources to its mission of helping others.
Grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the Noyes family also help guide the foundation.
"They are allowed to designate a grant to whatever charity they want every other year," Noyes says.
Cornell University, Vassar College and other educational institutions also have benefited from grants by the A.B. & J. Noyes Foundation.
Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation
Donald Whitney, president of the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, can describe its mission in simple terms.
"We want to continue to help the community," he says.
For more than 40 years, the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation has helped the region's non-profits do just that.
Astute businesswoman Daisy Marquis Jones and her nephew, Leo Marquis Lyons, created the foundation in 1968, intent upon improving the well-being of people living in Yates and Monroe counties and Rochester in particular. Through the years, foundation grants have allowed non-profits to provide health care and other assistance for disadvantaged families, children and senior citizens.
"Our biggest focus this past year was on children and youth," Whitney says.
That focus has assisted the Center for Youth Services Inc., a non-profit that provides a wide range of programs for needy parents, children and youth around the area. Daisy Marquis Jones has helped fund those programs for several years, contributing $150,000 to the effort this year alone.
St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center also has benefited from the generosity of the foundation's support. The center, which meets the medical and mental health needs of uninsured and underinsured people in the Rochester area, has received more than $230,000 in grants from the foundation since 1993.
As important as the work of the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation is to the area, the organization operates with a small staff and does not seek the limelight.
"We're not looking for plaques and accolades," Whitney says.
Harold and Terri Bobry
Past personal experiences have dedicated Harold and Terri Bobry to involvement with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester and Camp Seneca Lake.
Harold Bobry has served on the board and executive committee of the Jewish Community Center for eight years. The Bobrys also have directed their philanthropic efforts to Camp Seneca Lake, which is run by the JCC.
The Bobrys have supported the camp by providing scholarships, funding athletic infrastructure and helping raise more than $1 million in a matching gifts campaign.
The couple recently donated more than $150, 000 for the benefit of Camp Seneca Lake, including a challenge grant to incentivize first-time donors to the camp. Their support has contributed to a new camp scholarship, programming, multipurpose basketball courts, a refurbished softball field and a new "village" for campers. The challenge grant helped to leverage $40,000 in gifts from new donors.
The dedication to the camp is hereditary, Harold Bobry says.
"I went to camp and spent a lot of time there," he says. "My father was a camper there before me, and we learned from philanthropic 'genes' learned through my parents."
Tom and Nan Hildebrandt
Tom and Nan Hildebrandt have channeled their strong interest in youth, education and the arts into extensive involvement with organizations like the Hillside Family of Agencies, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Inc., Genesee Country Village & Museum and Geva Theatre Center.
Tom is on the boards of the Genesee Country Village and Geva, while Nan has dedicated her time to many organizations as well.
"For us, the deeper our commitment of time and energy became, the more we seemed to increase our philanthropic support," Tom Hildebrandt says.
The Hildebrandts also attribute the importance of their philanthropic efforts to the efforts of Tom's father, Ozzie Hildebrandt.
"He was fairly understated in his giving and expected nothing in return," Tom Hildebrandt says. "We watched him generously invest in causes that were important to him, and at a level that actually made a measurable impact. We believe in that style of philanthropy and are embracing it in our own lives."
Tom Hildebrandt, president of Hillside Children's Foundation and Crestwood Children's Foundation, has helped the Hillside Family of Agencies become an institution with an annual budget of $135 million.
Karen and Dan Lynch
Karen and Dan Lynch have been involved with Golisano Children's Hospital for 10 years and involved with the School of the Holy Childhood since 2011.
The Lynches opened the Generosity Store after touring Holy Childhood and discovering that the items produced by the various education, prevocational and vocational workshops were sold only a few times a year.
Believing in the need for a place where the items made at Holy Childhood could be sold year-round, the Lynches provided all of the resources needed to obtain a lease for a store in the Park Avenue area on South Goodman Street. They invested $50,000 in renovations and startup costs and backed the entire operation with their own resources for the first six months.
The Lynches volunteer their time to run the store and have dedicated their efforts to supporting Holy Childhood by purchasing products on a weekly basis.
Karen Lynch, who left her job at the Golisano Children's Hospital to become president and CEO of the Generosity Store, is proud of the efforts of Holy Childhood.
"Holy Childhood has been such a positive impact on our family, friends and relationships with community members," Lynch says. "We are truly humbled and honored for this nomination. It is all the students and staff at Holy Childhood that deserve the real recognition by our community."
Walter Parkes' connection to medical facilities and treatments began when his daughter Mary died at age 32 from severe asthma, and it continued when his wife Carmina was diagnosed with cancer.
After his daughter's death, Parkes and his wife built the Mary Parkes Asthma Center at the former Genesee Hospital.
Parkes was among the founding members of the board at the Pluta Cancer Center, and it was there that his wife received treatment for cancer. After his wife's death, Parkes continued to support the Pluta Cancer Center, donating unconditionally to the center's signature event, the Emerald Ball. He supports many other events at the center throughout the year as well, including the Tree of Hope campaign, golf tournaments and fashion show.
Parkes says the treatment his wife received at Pluta Cancer Center was unlike any other cancer treatment he has seen. She was shown great respect, care and compassion, and her care is among the reasons for his continued involvement with the center.
"I believe the merger of the Pluta Cancer Center and the U of R will provide the ability of Pluta to better treat cancer and access incredible research opportunities," Parkes says.
The Polisseni family's philanthropic endeavors are numerous. The entire family-Wanda, sons Greg and Gary, and daughter Valerie-have made charitable contributions of both money and time.
The Polisseni Foundation-established after the death of Wanda's daughter Kimberly and renamed after the death of her husband, Gene-has provided support to local organizations, including the New York State Trooper Foundation, the Special Olympics of Monroe County and many more. The members of the family are also individually involved in philanthropic endeavors.
Wanda Polisseni regularly provides hands-on support for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, New York Branch, dedicating her time to special events. Greg Polisseni also has been heavily involved with the agency, spreading the word about the center with the goal of supporting it financially and also creating a charity golf tournament to benefit the center.
Valerie Wilcox, Wanda Polisseni's daughter, has been equally involved with charities here. She is a founding board member of the Bivona Child Advocacy Center and has been active in the center since it was created in 2003.
Mary Whittier, executive director of Bivona Child Advocacy Center, speaks highly of the family's charitable actions.
"What makes the Polisseni Family unique is that they go above and beyond providing philanthropic support and are actively engaged with the organizations they are involved in," Whittier says.
Victor Salerno has been involved with St. John Fisher College for the last 15 years, serving as president of the alumni board and currently as vice chairman of the board of trustees.
Salerno graduated from the college in 1966 and has remained involved. His philanthropic efforts include donating to the college, reaching the highest donor level recognized by the college.
He also has been an active advocate for student scholarships. Salerno has supported various scholarships throughout the years and most recently has begun challenging others to establish their own endowed scholarships.
Last December, Salerno made a $2 million gift to St. John Fisher College to be used for the construction of a new academic facility to house the School of Business. This gift was the largest made by any alumnus of the college.
"Having witnessed the efforts of such great men as Tom Golisano, John Riedman and Bob Wegman and the Wegman family over the years, I never dreamed I would be in a position to do something of significance and in fact make such a decision," Salerno says. "I can't tell you how good it has felt for not only me but also my family, especially that I did it in honor of my parents, Victor and Mary Salerno."
Sue van der Stricht
Sue van der Stricht began actively supporting the Nature Conservancy in 2007, a year after the death of her husband, Rob.
Her husband had been the chairman of the board of trustees, which led to her involvement. Van der Stricht's initial work was to ensure that the work her husband had done would continue, and it has developed into putting her own mark on the organization.
Her efforts with the conservancy include the transfer of the 7,000-acre Hemlock and Canadice watershed lands from the city of Rochester to New York State. Van der Stricht now is a delegate to the Nature Conservancy's Great Lakes consortium, where she is working on protecting freshwater on a larger scale.
Van der Stricht's leadership gifts to the Nature Conservancy top $1 million, and she inspires others to give as well.
She also lends her time and talent to Genesee Country Village & Museum, the Allyns Creek Garden Club, the Finger Lakes Museum and Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park.
The motivation for her involvement with the preservation efforts of the Nature Conservancy is altruistic, she says.
"I love the outdoors," van der Stricht says. "I have always wanted to do whatever I could to try preserve the land and water we have been given to enjoy."
Freelance writers Katherine Alexander, Jenn Bergin, Mike Costanza, Lori Gable and Megan Goldschmidt contributed to this article.
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