Legacy Society Member Stories

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

In October 2006, Lisa and David Craig experienced the unimaginable: their only child, Corinne, took her own life at the age of 16. Beautiful, beloved by family and friends, and generous by nature, “Corey” suffered from anxiety and depression.

Though she was being treated and had showed signs of progress prior to her suicide, depression can be a chronic and unyielding foe whose symptoms can return unexpectedly and in force. Moreover, resources in Central New York for high-risk teens were few and far between at the time. 

“It was very difficult 15 years ago to easily access mental health care especially for that age group,” explained Lisa. That shortage of resources would eventually become the impetus of a legacy gift to the Upstate Foundation.  

Lisa and David survived the dark days and weeks immediately following the tragedy thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from family members and Corey’s friends, classmates and teachers, and the community at large. Vowing to do whatever they could to help other high-risk teenagers in the region, they directed gifts in Corey’s memory to Upstate.

Those tribute gifts were the cornerstone for the Corinne M. Craig Memorial Endowment that Lisa and David established at the Upstate Foundation to support education in the field of adolescent psychiatry and suicide prevention. Administered by Dr. Robert Gregory in Upstate’s psychiatry department, the endowment has helped fund Dr. Gregory’s work in the development of the Psychiatry High Risk Program for youth and young adults struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 

It has given the Craigs much satisfaction, seeing their endowment being actively used to help others. To ensure that increased resources are available in future, Lisa and David took the step of making Corey’s endowment the primary beneficiary of their estate.

“This was one way to ensure something good came from the tragedy. It’s a win, win, win,” said David.

“It’s a way to contribute toward moving mental health care in the right direction…and we are really confident that that’s happening,” added Lisa.

Their advice for others considering a legacy gift to the Upstate Foundation? 

“Contact the Foundation. Look at the website. Even if you don’t want to start your own fund there are so many funds you can contribute to,” said Lisa. 

“Plus,” added David, “the folks at the Foundation office are welcoming, kind, friendly and they make you feel at ease. It’s a good relationship.”

As for what Corey would think of her parents’ decision to establish a fund aimed at helping teens like her?

“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.”

To create your own legacy gift, call the Upstate Foundation at 315-464-4416 or visit the Upstate Foundation at: www.UpstateFoundation.org/LegacyGiving


“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…