Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation (www.golisanofoundation.org), announced today the receipt of the Foundation’s largest gift, $10.2 million given by founder Tom Golisano. This gift is also the largest Golisano has made to any organization since 2002, when he donated $14 million to Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
“This gift publicly renews Tom’s commitment to a cause that is very close to his heart —making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities,” said Costello. “This will enable us, in an economic climate that has not been favorable to endowments, to significantly increase our support for organizations dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities in the Rochester, New York region.”
“Throughout our history and especially in the last few years, we have worked to transform the community’s understanding of people with intellectual disabilities and partner with organizations that are allowing people to be more who they are and share their abilities,” added Costello. “We have come a long way but we have a lot more to do here, especially for young adults as they transition from school age to adulthood.”
In the past three years, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling $3.8 million to 78 organizations.
“This is a fabulous gift to the whole community because it comes at a time when the economic conditions are all lining up to make us feel a bit uncertain and insecure,” said Dan Meyers, President of the Al Sigl Community of Agencies.
“This is a forward-looking investment that is going to help create a pathway of new services leading to the kind of future in which we all so dearly want to believe. Before long we will look back and say, look at this network that has been put together.”
Meyers also noted, “This all flows of course from Tom’s intellect and his business sense and more importantly from his heart and what he knows as a father. That combination is perhaps the most powerful gift in America to people with disabilities. Very few in the country are advocating on the scale that Tom is for people with disabilities. He is using his full wattage to change this world and make it better.”
Toward the Foundation’s goal of enhancing transition services, Golisano recently hosted an unprecedented private meeting with the region’s university and college presidents. The focus was on campus-cased options for young adults with developmental disabilities and to encourage more opportunities for them experience the higher education environment.
The meeting showcased the work of the Golisano Foundation-funded Institute for Innovative for Transition, a partnership of the Golisano Foundation and the University of Rochester that is housed at the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities at Golisano Children's Hospital. The Institute provides support to young adults, family members, local education institutions and agencies to effectively address transition issues for individuals with developmental disabilities ages 14-25.
“The discussion was highly energetic and encouraging,” said Golisano. “There is clearly tremendous potential for partnerships and movement in policy and culture change that can benefit the next generation of people in need of disability services. It is my hope that this gift will help advance this work and more.”
The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the nation devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with developmental disabilities so that they may achieve their maximum potentials by integrating independence, self-determination, and productivity into all facets of their lives.
Founded in 1985 with an initial gift of $90,000 from B. Thomas Golisano, the founder and Chairman of Paychex, the Foundation now has more than $28 million in gross assets and has awarded more than $13 million in grants to non-profit organizations in a multi-county region surrounding Rochester, New York that serve people with developmental disabilities.
In addition to providing funding the Foundation is dedicated to serving as a proactive partner with providers, organizations, and the community to enable those with disabilities to more fully participate in the life of the community and create an environment of dignity and care for disabled individuals and their families.
The Foundation will celebrate its 25th anniversary December 24, 2010.