Legacy Society member stories

“If you have a spark to do something that’s bigger than yourself… say yes to that impulse. Say yes to life.”

Inspirations to give can come from unpredictable places. For Daniel Grannis, of Syracuse, it was literally a flash in the darkness.

“Several years ago, I was at a local theater watching commercials before the movie started, when I saw a promotion for the opening of the children’s hospital at Upstate,” said Daniel. “I didn’t have any association with Upstate at that point, but I do have a special place in my heart for kids. So, I picked up the phone and left a message with the Upstate Foundation that I would be happy to lick stamps or whatever was needed.”

Not long after, Daniel received a call from Eileen Pezzi, Upstate Medical University’s vice president for development, who asked if he would be willing to chair a speaker’s bureau in support of the capital campaign for the then-new Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“We were trained by physicians and other Upstate staff to make the business case for the construction of the hospital to civic organizations and small businesses,” said Daniel. “It was all about efficiency, concentration of scattered pediatric services available at Upstate, and giving parents a way to stay close to or stay with their sick children overnight.”

Having advocated for the Children’s Hospital, Daniel’s commitment to Upstate grew.

“Given people I knew had experienced lung cancer – and given that Upstate Foundation’s legacy society was just being formed – I got on board and made a planned gift to an endowed professorship honoring Michael E. Connolly, a nonsmoker who lost his life to lung cancer.”

What does it feel like to make a legacy gift at Upstate?

“It feels like there is a sense of peace, and it feels humbling, because this is something that will be happening after I leave this world,” said Daniel. “If you have a spark to do something that’s bigger than yourself, this is a wonderful avenue for it. And I would recommend it for anybody. Say yes to that impulse. Say yes to life.”

He regularly attends the annual Upstate Legacy Society gathering, adding, “It’s a very uplifting experience to associate with this group of people who’ve given their careers to serving this community, and to hear about all of the great things that are going on at the hospital.”

For more information about ways to create your own personal Legacy, contact your financial advisor or call the Upstate Foundation, 315-464-4416.

“It’s very gratifying… knowing we will continue to help young people with mental health issues.

“I think Corey would be extremely proud of us,” said Lisa. “I can’t tell you how many people reached out to us after the fact and told us she was always there for them.”
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“It’s a way to help make sure others have the same positive experience you’ve had.”

“Dr. Wright was like an angel on earth,” said Dick. “When Priscilla was hospitalized, I was so impressed by the care that he, and every nurse and orderly showed not only to Priscilla and me, but all patients and families on the oncology floor. Even though Priscilla was going through a traumatic time, it was joyous how everyone was treated like family. I still get emotional about it even today.”
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“We’ve been blessed. There’s no question.” 

They consider themselves blessed. That is why Dr. Frederick “Fritz” Parker and his wife Ginny included the Upstate Foundation in their estate plans.
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“I want to invest in the lives and health of children.”  

It’s no wonder, then, that Dr. Victoria Meguid – who has been a powerful force for pediatric care at Upstate Medical University since 1992 – has made the Upstate Foundation a beneficiary of her retirement plan.
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“It never hurts to pay it forward. I like being part of the Upstate Foundation.”

While listening to a local television station in 2005, Shirley Florczyk  heard about a motorcycle ride supporting Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. She sent in a gift and ended up connecting with Toni Gary, assistant vice president for development for the Children’s Hospital… the beginning of a wonderful relationship for both women.
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Charitable gift annuity benefits both donors and Upstate  

“It’s terrific! You can have your cake and eat it, too.” This is how Dr. Michael Ratner and his wife Rissa describe their latest philanthropic endeavor – a charitable gift annuity through the Upstate Foundation.

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A legacy given in love will benefit tomorrow’s patients

“She and I were one. What they did for her, they did for me.” The appreciation is evident in Jack Gorham’s voice when he talks about the “angelic” way Upstate University Hospital physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other staff treated his wife Colleen throughout her 17-year journey with cancer.

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Legacy gift reflects love for community

A legacy gift as part of Jim and Ceme Curley’s estate plan is just one more step in an enduring relationship with the Upstate Foundation. 

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A legacy that inspires

“Your legacy is how you’ve led your life and how you’ve influenced someone else,” said Molly King, who added to her legacy in this community by including the Upstate Foundation in her estate plans.

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Former longtime Upstate physicians help children and families through legacy gift

“Leaving Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital as a beneficiary in our will was an easy decision for us,” says Dr. Richard Sills, former director of the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, and Dr. Irene Sills, former professor of pediatrics, pediatric endocrinologist at Upstate University Hospital.

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Sick children helped by retired nurse’s planning and commitment

When Elizabeth “Betty” Runkle created the gift annuity, she remarked, “The health profession has given me so much. I’m glad to have the opportunity to pay it back in a small way.” Read more…


Lifetimes of service inspire a legacy of hope

John and Mell Gleason’s professional lives have been devoted to the not-for-profit sector. Read more…