In the news...

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.

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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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Miller Pediatric & Adolescent Unit established at Children’s Hospital with estate gift

6/2022  A $600,000 gift from the estate of Marilyn C. Miller, of Syracuse, has named the pediatric and adolescent unit in Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in her memory, as well as that of her parents. The Frieda, Morris and Marilyn Miller Pediatric & Adolescent Unit is located on the twelfth floor of hospital, and is a fitting tribute to a woman who devoted her entire career to children as a teacher in the Syracuse City School District. “Marilyn was proud to guide and teach many, many students through the years as a teacher,” noted Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate Medical University. “She was equally dedicated to her parents, caring for them in their senior years, just as they had cared for her when she was a child. I wish she was here today to see the legacy she leaves behind.”
Pezzi is pictured with Gregory Conners, MD, executive director of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, near the unit’s new signage.

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…



The Upstate Foundation receives $126,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run

12/2021  “Paige’s Butterfly Run has been there for patients and their families for the last 25 years,” said Toni Gary of the Upstate Foundation. “We cannot thank Paige’s Butterfly Run enough and all those who support this important organization in our community for their generous gifts.” Read full story…



Upstate Foundation receives $25,000 grant from AstraZeneca for Upstate Cancer Center’s She Matters program

12/2021  Selected as one of just 30 recipients from a field of 1400 applicants nationally, the Upstate Foundation was awarded a $25,000 grant from AstraZeneca’s inaugural ACT on Health Equity: Community Solutions Challenge for the Upstate Cancer Center’s She Matters program. “It’s exciting to receive this funding from AstraZeneca,” said Eileen Pezzi, Upstate vice president for development. “To be selected from such a large field of applicants is a testament to the importance of the work Upstate carries out every day in our community.” Read full story…

Upstate Foundation establishes $1.5 million endowed professorship with proceeds from Paige’s Butterfly Run

10/2021  In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the first Paige’s Butterfly Run, a $1.5 million endowed professorship was established at the Upstate Foundation primarily with event proceeds, and Melanie Comito, MD, was appointed the Paige Yeomans Arnold Endowed Professor in Pediatric Oncology. The announcement was made by Gregory Conners, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Upstate Medical University, and Upstate vice president for development Eileen Pezzi. Read full story…


Upstate Foundation awards $50,000 for brain cancer research

09/2021  The Upstate Foundation has invested in brain cancer research at Upstate Medical University with an award of $50,000 to a project led by Dr. Mariano Viapiano, associate professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery and director of the Brain Tumor Laboratory and Biorepository. The award is the result of a competitive application and evaluation process overseen by Dr. David Amberg, vice president for research at Upstate. Read full story…


Power of Us – Employee Giving Program

08/2021  The Upstate Foundation’s annual Power of Us employee giving program recently concluded with some notable statistics: a 54 percent increase in the number of donations received; a 57 percent increase in new donors; and a 40 percent increase in repeat donors. The top fund to which employees contributed – both in terms of money raised and number of donors – was the Golisano Center for Special Needs campaign. The Upstate Foundation would like to thank all who participated in Power of Us this year, especially given the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

Pictured: 8-month-old Mila is being treated at the Golisano Center for Special Needs for a severe feeding disorder.

Syracuse Catholic schools raise more than $27,000 for Golisano Center for Special Needs

06/2021 The Diocese of Syracuse Catholic Schools presented a check for $27,686 today to the Upstate Foundation to benefit the Golisano Center for Special Needs. The money was raised in May as each school held a walkathon to raise the fund. Julie Galler Simms of the Upstate Foundation thanked the Catholic schools for their impressive showing. “This is about students helping students, families helping families.” Read full story…

The Upstate Foundation announces the new Michael E. Connolly Endowed Professorship in Lung Cancer Research

06/2021   Michael Connolly was a husband and father, volunteer coach and a star Binghamton North High School football and baseball player. During his 22-month battle with lung cancer, Michael was treated at Upstate University Hospital and responded well to a powerful drug he was receiving as part of a clinical trial. But as in nearly all cases of advanced lung cancer, the disease prevailed. He lost his battle in 2002.  Read full story…

Upstate Foundation supports professional development of Upstate nurses

04/2021   The Upstate Foundation announced it has supported advancement of Upstate nurses by funding 45 memberships in various nursing associations. Under the advisement of Nancy Page, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer at Upstate University Hospital, and with help from Nicole Harf, BSN, RN, professional development and nursing excellence coordinator, the Nursing Association Memberships Fund (#28900) was created to focus on professional development of nursing staff across the Upstate Medical University system.

“Supporting all aspects of education at Upstate, and doing so across all of our valued professions, is a key part of our mission at the Upstate Foundation,” said Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate Medical University. “We’re pleased to provide these dollars to further the careers, education and advancement of our hardworking nurses through memberships in the associations important to them.”

Page expanded on the role and value of such associations to Upstate nurses, saying “Nursing associations, like all professional associations, offer opportunities for continued education, training, sharing of best practices, networking with peers and recognition of achievement.” She added that the Foundation-funded memberships may help achieve certification requirements needed to maintain Upstate’s Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. “For these reasons, and on behalf of all of the nurses here at Upstate, I thank the Upstate Foundation for this support and its inherent recognition of the professionalism of our nursing staff.”

Photo: Recipients of nursing association memberships funded by the Upstate Foundation’s newly established Nursing Association Memberships Fund express their appreciation for this support.

Upstate Foundation receives Impact Award from Central New York Business Journal

03/2021  “We are honored to be recognized for our impact in the community. It has never been more clear than over the past year how important philanthropy is for all of us in our daily lives, whether as a donor or a beneficiary of charitable giving,” said Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate Medical University and executive director of the Upstate Foundation. Read more… 

Upstate Foundation offers donor-advised funds in response to campus need

01/2021   The Upstate Foundation is pleased to offer donors a new giving vehicle, donor-advised funds. A donor-advised fund is simply that: a fund in which the donor may advise the Foundation on how the money is to be disbursed. With donor-advised funds, gifts may be designated to Upstate, but may support other not-for-profit organizations as well.

Dr. Corona noted that opening a donor-advised fund at the Upstate Foundation “just makes sense.” With tax benefits and other advantages, “it’s a great vehicle for giving. The Upstate Foundation makes the whole process painless. They do incredible work.”  Click here for more information on donor-advised funds.


09/2020  Upstate Foundation announces campaign leadership for Golisano Center for Special Needs

9/2020  Upstate Foundation awards $50,000 for pediatric cancer research

7/2020  More than 200 iPads installed around campus make virtual visitations possible