Donor-advised fund – Stephanie Vavonese

“My goal is to give back to the community. With my donor-advised fund managed by the Upstate Foundation, it’s so easy. It’s a great partnership.”

To this owner of a dynamic, fast-growing business in downtown Syracuse, a donor-advised fund at the Upstate Foundation just makes good business sense.

As founder and owner of SMV Recruiting, based in downtown Syracuse, Stephanie Vavonese learned early on about the importance of giving back. It’s one of many reasons she recently established a donor-advised fund at the Upstate Foundation.

“When I was growing up, my parents and my grandparents were very involved in the Syracuse community. I watched them volunteer and donate,” Stephanie explained. “So, when I started my company, one of my values was to give a percentage of what I earn each year back to the community. With my donor-advised fund at the Upstate Foundation, I’m doing that.”

As a high-energy entrepreneur whose firm is growing rapidly, Stephanie also appreciates other benefits of her donor-advised fund at Upstate.

First among them?

“I’m busy,” she readily admitted. “So, this allows me to financially plan what I want to give, to whom I want to donate and when. I love the fact that I don’t have to manage it. I just make a tax-deductible contribution to the Foundation, give the Foundation a call whenever I want to make a donation, and the Foundation handles it. It’s so easy. It’s a great partnership.”

Next, Stephanie places a premium on personally knowing and trusting her Upstate Foundation team. “They’re local, they were born and raised here, and they either know or are familiar with the recipients of my gifts.”

Her connection to Upstate began with her mother Donna, who retired as a beloved and well- respected director of admissions after 20 years -- a distinguished career at Upstate Medical University that earned her a SUNY Chancellor’s Award in 2011. 

“Upstate has always been a household name,” Stephanie said. “So, it really made me proud to be able to give back to something that has had such a significant impact on my mother’s life, my family’s life and our community.”  

With such strong connections to Upstate, it’s no surprise then that she has a decisive answer for professional peers, entrepreneurs or young business owners looking to give back to Central New York as she has.

“If you’re passionate about the community and you’re considering a donor-advised fund, I would say walk in, talk to the Foundation team,” she emphasized. “They could not be more warm and welcoming, and helpful. They are there to educate you, and walk you through your options. As a business owner, I look at the Upstate Foundation as a business partner.

Stephanie’s company, SMV Recruiting, provides innovative solutions and expert advice on recruiting, human resources needs and trends for corporate clients – as well as personalized job search strategies and services, including resume writing and interview coaching, for individuals.

“I’m proud we’re a certified women-owned business with a reputation for outstanding customer service, topnotch talent and proven results,” Stephanie said.

Learn more or get started in setting up your donor-advised fund!

To establish one, a convenient and expertly managed fund for all of your charitable gifts, contact the Upstate Foundation at 315-464-4416.