The Nappis provide Upstate Foundation and Upstate Medical University with largest gift in history to address growing brain health issues in an aging population

At a time when our region is confronting growing medical challenges facing an aging population, a $8-million dollar gift from Sam and Carol Nappi of Jamesville will support the creation of an eight-floor, 360,000 square foot health and wellness complex at Upstate Medical University.

The gift—the largest ever received by the Upstate Foundation and Upstate Medical University—will be used to expand the building’s services related to “brain health” or neurosciences, including a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, and will be named the Nappi Longevity Institute in recognition of the couple’s philanthropy.

“Their cause is our mission…”

“Sam and Carol Nappi have shown over time through their generous gifts, a love for this community and a desire to improve the health of this community,” said Upstate President and Health System CEO Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP. “Their cause is our mission and we are grateful for their support.”

“Sam and Carol’s gift is a perfect illustration of the importance of philanthropy in helping to fulfill our mutual goals,” added Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. “A majority of the gift will support research and services dedicated to finding ways individuals can maintain and strengthen cognitive function as they age.”

Focusing on dementia and Alzheimer’s

Additionally, the gift will assist Upstate’s work in the area of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease. Upstate is currently designated as a Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s disease by New York State.

 “The Nappi support, with its focus on Alzheimer’s disease and brain health, is a down payment on creating healthy futures for all of us as we age,” said Sharon Brangman, MD, division chief of geriatric medicine at Upstate, who is a former president of the American Geriatrics Society. “We do much for our physical body to ensure that we maintain mobility as we age, but almost more important is our ability to exercise our brain and enhance and strengthen our cognitive mobility as we grow older.”

The Nappis have a long history of supporting local causes, focusing much of their philanthropic initiatives on medical research and community medical care, including St. Joseph’s Hospital Emergency Services building and Christina M. Nappi Surgical Tower. At Syracuse University, the Nappis established the Biomedical Stem Cell Laboratory. In 2015, the Nappis started and funded the first annual Nappi Family Research Awards, a collaborative research competition between Syracuse University and Upstate Medical University, with a major gift to support research ideas relating to biomedical and health care needs. Additionally, at Upstate they have provided funding to support violence education and prevention programs and medical student scholarships.

A top priority for the Nappi family

“Sam and I want to continue our commitment to Central New York in both deed and funding.  The longevity institute is at the very top of our priority list as we work with Upstate Medical University to build a world-class facility, assemble a renowned medical team and fund groundbreaking research,” Carol Nappi said.

 “We’re encouraged and excited about the 21st century vision and leadership Dr. Laraque-Arena and her team at Upstate Medical University and the Upstate Foundation have shown in their commitment to medical research and proactive medical care. Carol and I look forward to working with them,” Sam Nappi said.

Sam Nappi is founder and chairman of Alliance Energy. Carol Nappi, a former psychiatric therapist at Community General Hospital, now Upstate’s Community Campus, is on the Upstate Medical University College of Nursing Advisory Board, and is active with numerous local and national charitable organizations. She is a 2000 Jefferson Award winner. The Jefferson Awards are a national recognition system honoring community and public volunteerism.

The Nappi Longevity Institute will be built on the corner of East Adams and Almond Streets across from the Upstate Cancer Center.

Maintaining wellness

In addition to services related to brain health, the building will emphasize maintaining wellness and good health by offering an array of services all available under one roof, including dental, cardiology, geriatric, immune health, primary care, pediatric primary care, perinatal, behavioral health and other specialty services. The philosophy behind the building is for individuals to maintain good health by seeing health care providers, before problems arise that require hospitalization or emergency treatment. Upstate received a $70.5 million grant as initial fund for the building last year as part of the Capital Restructuring Financing Program and Essential Health Care Provider Support Program.