In the news...

Upstate Cancer Center marks 10th anniversary

04/2024. Reflecting on a day filled with hope, progress and passion at the Upstate Cancer Center Annual Research Retreat, held April 26. The presenters, poster sessions and keynote speaker, Dr. Suzanne Conzen, shared their discoveries and insights in the fight against cancer. A special thank you to The Upstate Foundation for their support of our research program and a surprise $100,000 donation to help fund our future! Click here to read full article.


Hope & Dignity

04/2024. The inaugural fundraiser for Housecalls for the Homeless - Upstate and In My Father's Kitchen was held recently at the Palace Theatre with over 300 community members attending and proceeds totaling more than $100,000. The event supports the Housecalls for the Homeless Fund and In My Father’s Kitchen Fund held at the Upstate Foundation. Pictured are co-founders of the two organizations, from left, John and Leigh-Ann Tumino, In My Father’s Kitchen, and Dr. David Lehmann and Mia Ruiz-Salvador, Housecalls for the Homeless.

Housecalls for the Homeless is a street medicine program serving the needs of individuals living on the streets of Syracuse and is conducted in partnership with Upstate Medical University. Both organizations collaborate to prescribe medications, clean and attend to wounds, offer a warm meal and other supplies, and comfort and encourage those living in dire circumstances. Click here to learn more about Housecalls for the Homeless.

Radiothon for Kids

02/2024. The Upstate Foundation’s Radiothon for Kids raised more than $194,000 from callers all across Central New York to benefit sick and injured children at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The Radiothon was supported by CNY Central and iHeartradio stations, 570WSYR and Y94, which provided live broadcasts about the Radiothon from the hospital lobby.



Upstate Nursing Alumni Association receives historic $105,000 gift to establish nursing scholarship endowment

1/2024   The Nursing Alumni Association has received a $105,000 gift from Rev. Donald Byers to establish the Virginia B. Byers, PhD, Nursing Scholarship Endowment, the largest gift in the history of College of Nursing history. A portion of the gift will be placed in a restricted fund with the same name to provide scholarships while the endowment matures. Click here to read full story.


Upstate Foundation receives $247,500 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run

12/2023   “2023 was a warm and welcoming year for our organization” said Paige’s father and Board Chair Chris Arnold. “The Central New York community really stepped up to support our mission with tremendous fundraising from individuals, corporate sponsorship and personal giving.” Click here to read full story.


Upstate Foundation raises campaign goal to address youth mental health crisis

12/2023   “We increased the campaign goal by $2 million because we simply could not ignore the alarming statistics and the heart wrenching family stories we hear from Upstate faculty and staff,” said Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. “We are compelled to keep raising funds through 2024 and beyond, if needed, to reach the increased $5.3 million goal.” Click here to read full story.


Upstate Foundation receives $80,000 from Mirabito Cares’ 'Round Up' program

9/2023  The Upstate Foundation has received an $80,000 donation from Mirabito Cares to help support the mission of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. This contribution is the reflects the generosity of the Mirabito Convenience Stores Team and its customers who contributed to the campaign in June and beginning of July. Click here to read full story.


Upstate Foundation receives $2.3 million legacy gift

Story updated 7/2023  The Upstate Foundation recently received a $1.7 million residuary gift from the estate of Marilyn C. Miller, a former longtime teacher in the Syracuse City School District who passed away in 2021. A residuary clause in a will gives the remainder of an estate to a specified recipient, in this case, the Upstate Foundation. The remainder is simply all the assets left over after all other gifts and estate expenses have been paid.

In 2022, the Foundation received a $600,000 legacy gift from Miller and was very grateful for her generosity.

“The $600,000 was pledged before Marilyn passed away,” explained Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. “Having devoted her entire career to guiding and teaching students, she wanted the money to be used to help children, particularly those facing life’s challenges.”

Consequently, the pediatric and adolescent unit in Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital was named in her memory, as well as those of her parents. The Frieda, Morris and Marilyn Miller Pediatric & Adolescent Unit is located on the twelfth floor of the hospital.

“That is the wonder of development work,” Pezzi continued. “Following her initial pledge, I kept Marilyn informed about the needs of various populations of children at the hospital, and how we envisioned her gift making an impact. We certainly hoped she knew how appreciative we were, and obviously she was very receptive to the thought of increasing her legacy giving.”

The residuary gift will be shared by the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry – with a portion being contributed to the Foundation’s Campaign for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Upstate Foundation and Erin's Angels establish endowed fund

7/2023  The Upstate Foundation and Erin’s Angels are now partners into perpetuity. Erin’s Angels is a not-for-profit organization addressing childhood food insecurity in Central New York. The Erin’s Angels Endowed Fund at the Upstate Foundation will ensure that this important mission will serve generations of schoolchildren in the future. Click here to read full story.



Gov. Hochul joins hundreds in opening the Nappi Wellness Institute

6/2023  New York Gov. Kathy Hochul joined hundreds of Upstate Medical University employees, honored guests and local politicians Friday to officially open Upstate’s newest building, the Nappi Wellness Institute.
Click here to read full story.




New Foundation endowment helps secure the future of Housecalls for the Homeless

5/2023  Ensuring that medical, psychiatric and addiction care services are available today and into the future for men and women experiencing homelessness in Syracuse and Onondaga County has long been a focus for Dr. David Lehmann and his team. That reality is closer than ever, now that the Housecalls for the Homeless Endowment has been established at the Upstate Foundation. Click here to read full story.


Upstate Foundation establishes Respite Program Fund

5/2023  The Upstate Foundation has created the Community Partner fund for Elmcrest Children’s Center with $250,000 it raised as part of its Campaign for Child & Adolescent Mental Health. To meet the surging need for mental health services in Central New York, Elmcrest Children’s Center is in the process of opening a 28-bedroom respite program to serve children who need clinical care, but not in a hospital or outpatient setting. It is intended to help increase the number of beds at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital available for sick and injured children; currently many beds at the hospital are occupied by children with mental health issues who do not require tertiary care. Pictured are Julie Galler Simms, Upstate Foundation campaign manager; Joe Geglia, executive director of Elmcrest Children’s Center; and Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. Click here to learn more about the youth mental health crisis or to support the campaign.

Upstate Foundation announces campaign for child and adolescent mental health in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month

5/2023  The mental health of children and adolescents has become so concerning that it has been declared a national emergency by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association. The US Surgeon General is imploring communities to enhance and grow community-level health programs for children. Upstate is answering that urgent call to action.

The Upstate Foundation, in conjunction with Upstate Medical University, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, Upstate Department of Psychiatry and Elmcrest Children’s Center, has embarked on a collaborative response to this national and local emergency. The campaign for child and adolescent mental health will support several programs that address the overarching issue – pediatric mental health providers cannot keep up with the needs of children and families because the current demand is simply too great. The announcement was made by Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate.

“We’re formally launching our campaign for child and adolescent mental health in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month,” Pezzi said. “Mental Health Awareness Month was founded by the National Association of Mental Health - now known as Mental Health America - in 1949 to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illness and the stigmas surrounding mental health. More than seven decades later, a focus on mental health awareness in the month of May has even greater significance, and we think it is the most appropriate time to kickoff this critical and highly collaborative initiative.” 

Wanda Fremont, MD, professor in Upstate’s Department of Psychiatry and campaign chair, provided context to the current crisis. “In the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, workforce shortages in mental health, stigma attached to a diagnosis, and limited insurance coverage contributed to a declining capacity to deliver services to children and families in states of desperation. The pandemic worsened the situation, highlighting glaring limitations as youth mental health needs continue to increase at a rapid rate.”

The focus on youth mental health has reached a critical point at Upstate Medical University as more families are turning to the emergency department for help and more children are being admitted and boarded at Upstate Children’s Hospital for days and weeks until the appropriate programs are found.

Gregory Conners, MD, Upstate chair of pediatrics and executive director of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, said that the fundraising campaign will help expand staffing in specialty areas and the availability of treatment pathways. “Several needs that have risen to the top of the priority list include increasing the number of inpatient psychiatric beds, crisis services for aggressive and suicidal children, and the availability of outpatient psychiatry appointments especially nights and weekends.”

As Mental Health Awareness Month shines a spotlight on the expansive and complex youth mental health needs in the CNY community, there is hope.  Wanda Fremont, MD, is quick to point out that the comprehensive fundraising initiative is making it possible to take steps forward in terms of staffing, program support and most importantly, providing care to children and families more quickly, vital in ensuring the best possible health outcomes. Click here to learn more about the youth mental health crisis or to support the campaign.

The Upstate Foundation celebrates National Doctors’ Day

3/2023  The Upstate Foundation’s Grateful Patient and Family Program celebrated its 12th National Doctors’ Day on March 30. As in the past, hundreds of handwritten notes from thankful patients were distributed to physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.

Once again, Upstate University Hospital patients were invited to pay tribute to their doctors for their dedication to providing the highest quality and compassionate health care to our community. We extend our appreciation to all of our healthcare professionals for their kindness and commitment to patients and families. The notes are written with such gratitude and often include life-changing stories.

One grateful patient said, “My surgery, its outcome, its follow up and all my care regarding my throat tumor have been absolutely top notch because of Dr. Marzouk and his entire team. Thanks for the hope. We’ll find out how it turns out together.”

In addition to facilitating the acknowledgements of grateful patient tributes, the Upstate Foundation celebrated National Doctors’ Day with a celebratory banner and signage throughout Upstate University Hospital and Upstate Community Hospital.

Pictured from left, Satish Krishnamurthy, MD, MCh, FAANS; Angela Wratney, MD, MHSc, CHSE, FAAP; Mark Marzouk, MD, FACS; Sarah Lappin, DO; accept their tribute certificates. They were among the many Upstate physicians and providers who received notes from grateful patients in celebration of National Doctors’ Day.

The Upstate Foundation receives $230,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run

12/2022  The Upstate Foundation has received a $230,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run (PBR) to support a range of services for children with cancer receiving care at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The funds benefit pediatric cancer research as well as financial support to families to cover everything from food and gas expenses to medical costs and other services.

“We at Paige’s Butterfly Run are incredibly happy to be back with a large donation in 2022 to serve the needs of our pediatric cancer patients and families in Central New York. Many thanks to our participants, donors, sponsors and partners at the Upstate Foundation for making this possible!” Arnold concluded.  Click here to read full story.

John A. Hoepner, MD, Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences created at the Upstate Foundation

11/2022  The John A. Hoepner, MD, Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences has been established at the Upstate Foundation. In addition, Peter D. Calvert, PhD, has been appointed as its first endowed professor. The announcements were made by Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate, and Lawrence Chin, MD, dean of the Alan and Marlene Norton College of Medicine at Upstate.

“The endowed professorship is the result of more than two decades worth of collaboration between the Upstate Foundation and Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences,” Pezzi explained. “We worked together to conduct a successful $1 million campaign called Vision 2000. The campaign exceeded its goal, primarily owing to the local Lions Club District 20-Y1 and patients who had experienced Dr. Hoepner’s care and were grateful. We’ve enjoyed a robust partnership ever since.”  Click here to read full story.

Son’s suicide spurs donation to Upstate’s Psychiatry High Risk Program

11/2022  “Our events seek to raise awareness about suicide and to support ways to help people and families who are in need of this most important treatment,” said Helfrich of Baldwinsville. “The money raised came from many who want to make a difference.”

Upstate’s Psychiatry High Risk Program is an innovative, nationally recognized suicide prevention program for youth and young adults (ages 14 to 40) who struggle with thoughts of suicide and opened in 2017. Since opening, it has treated almost 600 patients.  Click here to read full story.

President’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropic Service – Corporate

9/2022  iHeart Media  The Upstate Foundation’s partnership with iHeartMedia began 35 years ago with its support of pediatric programs and services. While the company has contributed more than $275,000 to various initiatives through the years, it is responsible for raising more than $3 million the past two decades primarily through an event called Radiothon for Kids, and more recently, Call in for Cancer. Equally as important, in an everchanging environment with digital, social and electronic media, iHeartMedia has reinforced the importance of keeping Upstate and its causes in the forefront of its radio listeners. This awareness is invaluable and has truly been the key to a partnership and the ever-increasing ability to fundraise successfully together.

In the beginning, iHeartMedia supported the Children’s Miracle Network, Pediatric Child Abuse Fund, Central New York Region Skins Game, Upstate Cancer Center and every day needs for pediatric patients at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. More recently, proceeds from Radiothon for Kids have been a major source of revenue for the annual fund and capital campaigns for the Children’s Hospital, Dr. William J. Waters Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and Golisano Center for Special Needs.

IHeartMedia leadership has committed the company to helping sick and injured children in the Central New York community, and the Upstate Foundation is grateful to the current president of the Upstate New York region, Robert Morgan, and Tias Schuster, area senior vice president of programming. They follow in the footprints of iHeartMedia past presidents Joel Delmonico and Richard Yacobush, who were instrumental in ensuring that the community was always aware of Upstate’s health care initiatives for kids.

Since 2003, radio talent at News Radio 570 WSYR, Y94, Hot 107 and country station B104, along with other iHeart stations, spend countless hours scheduling, interviewing and preparing story boards for on-air interviews during the live, two-day Radiothon for Kids. It is incredibly heartwarming to hear pre-recorded pieces and live interviews with mothers, fathers, doctors, nurses, and sometimes even young patients as they share their stories of courage and hope. Throughout the event, as many as 15 radio station staff members are on hand at Upstate University Hospital, from engineers and on-air talent, to sales executives who are there in a show of support.

It is with deep pleasure that the Upstate Foundation honors iHeartMedia with this corporate philanthropic award to acknowledge the dedication and generosity of its longtime radio partner.

President’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropic Service – Individual

9/2022  Douglas J. Rosenthal doesn’t identify with the term “philanthropist,” despite recruiting hundreds of volunteers, and spending thousands of volunteer hours raising tens of thousands of dollars to benefit Upstate University Hospital over the past 19 years. His philanthropic spirit is magnified by inspiring others to actively participate in raising funds from their own networks of family and friends. In the Upstate Foundation’s data base, these feats are credited under the donor name of The Bacon Brigade.

Mr. Rosenthal has worked at Upstate Medical University for 22 years in the department of Information, Management and Technology (IMT). He has conducted piggy bank campaigns, and kickball, bowling, volleyball and most recently, curling tournaments. Proceeds have supported the Joslin Diabetes Education & Program Fund, Kids With Cancer Fund, Upstate Cancer Center annual fund and capital campaign, and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital capital campaign. 

Mr. Rosenthal’s first foray into fundraising was through the distribution of piggy banks, and participants were encouraged to collect donations to help with the capital campaign for the Children’s Hospital. Hence, The Bacon Brigade was born. Following this initial Bacon Brigade experience, Mr. Rosenthal began organizing blood drives for Upstate at IMT office sites. For one of the blood drives, he enlisted Byrne Dairy to donate pints of ice cream as incentives, which became the “Give a Pint, Get a Pint” blood drive. He coordinated up to three blood drives a year for 10 years, yielding 1,000 units of donated blood.

More recently, Mr. Rosenthal connected with the pediatric child life program. He dressed as Old Saint Nick against a background video set resembling Santa’s Workshop, and child life volunteers took an iPad around so patients could have a Zoom meeting with Santa. It’s didn't cost anything but a little bit of his time, and more than 40 kids were able to visit with Santa. It was both immensely satisfying and very emotional, and a deeply rewarding experience.

In Mr. Rosenthal’s mind, his efforts raise funds for Upstate initiatives today, but hopefully will continue to pay off for the next 30 years and beyond as a ripple effect of his time, creativity and commitment to inspire those around him. The Upstate Foundation is pleased to present Mr. Rosenthal with this heartfelt and most well-deserved award.

Buffalo Sabres star Alex Tuch visits

8/2022  Buffalo Sabres forward and Syracuse native Alex Tuch presented a check for $120,000 to the Upstate Golisano Center for Special Needs Aug. 19 during a visit to the center, which located on the third floor of the Madison Irving Medical Center.

Tuch served as honorary co-chair of the Upstate Foundation’s campaign for the Golisano Center for Special Needs, which has raised more than $6.5 million.

 Read full story

Upstate's She Matters and You Matter programs awarded grant from medical technology firm

7/2022  “With support of these two important initiatives, we look forward to building a long-term relationship with Hologic, a new funding partner of the Upstate Foundation,” said Terry Toscano Shenfeld, director of foundation relations at the Upstate Foundation. 
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Upstate Foundation campaign for Golisano Center for Special Needs surpasses $6.5 million

6/2022  The Upstate Foundation has raised more than $6.5 million to benefit the Golisano Center for Special Needs.The campaign kicked off in January 2020. Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano jumpstarted the campaign with a $3 million gift to establish the center in Fall 2019.And the Central New York community has responded. Nearly 300 donors, comprising community members, corporations, other foundations and Upstate faculty and staff were among the contributors.
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Upstate scientists collaborate on hydrocephalus research

05/2022  Two scientists at Upstate Medical University are combining efforts on hydrocephalus research. Neurosurgeon Satish Krishnamurthy, MD, and nationally renowned researcher Frank Middleton, PhD, want to determine why some people develop hydrocephalus following an intraventricular hemorrhage, or brain bleed, while others do not. Helping to fund their work is REaCH Organization, a support group that has been raising money for Krishnamurthy’s Hydrocephalus Research Fund at the Upstate Foundation for many years.  Click here to read full story.



Dr. William Marx Endowed Lecture in Trauma Surgery

04/2022  The Department of Surgery has established the Dr. William Marx Endowed Lecture in Trauma Surgery at the Upstate Foundation to honor and perpetuate Dr. Marx’s legacy at Upstate Medical University. 

The endowed lecture will provide funding for a visiting professor and nationally known trauma surgeon to visit Upstate, give a lecture on care of the injured patient, and support career development of residents/faculty as trauma surgeons.  Click here to read full story.


Grant awarded to Upstate Foundation will fund program to aid area primary care physicians in diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues in patients

3/2022  The Upstate Foundation has been awarded a $100,000 grant to improve mental health services in central New York.

Upstate Medical University will utilize intensive workshops and the Project ECHO platform to increase the capacity of primary and family medicine providers in the eight counties of central New York to systematically screen, identify, treat, and appropriately refer patients suffering from mental health disorders. In Project ECHO, which uses video technology, Upstate experts function as the “hub” to deliver education, knowledge and best practices to the primary care clinicians in the region. Read full story…


Upstate Foundation receives $150,000 grant from KeyBank Foundation for new community initiative

1/2022  The Upstate Foundation received a $150,000 seed grant from KeyBank Foundation to fund an educational pipeline and employment advancement programs that will expose participants to desirable health care careers and offer a steady stream of entry-level positions at Upstate, which could subsequently provide further career and educational opportunities to participants. The announcement was made by Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate Medical University. Read full story…