Legacy Society – Mary Nelson

“I feel so good and blessed to be able to leave a legacy.”

Mary Nelson has worked in the radiology department at Upstate University Hospital for 25 years and is a well-known youth advocate in the Central New York community. She also is a member of the Upstate Legacy Society, which was established as a tribute to donors who have included the Upstate Foundation in their estate plans. Someday, her legacy gift will benefit children with disabilities.

“Leaving a legacy is something I always wanted to do, to be able to give back to special needs youth in our community. I’m inspired by my grandchildren,” explained Mary. “I have two grandchildren with disabilities and I want to make sure other children with disabilities can receive excellent care.”

Mary added that she wants her grandchildren to be successful in life, and not look at their disability as a consequence to allow them not to strive. One grandchild has spina bifida and the other is autistic. Her mantra is, “Don’t let your circumstance become your consequence.”

Mary’s advice regarding legacy giving? “Find your passion for which you want to be remembered. My legacy is always giving back and not looking for anything in return.”

Many in the Central New York community will agree indeed that Mary’s legacy is about always giving back. As president and CEO of the Mary Nelson Youth Center, which she founded in 2009 and is located on the south side of Syracuse, she inspires youth to embrace their true identity while unleashing their inner potential. Programs at the youth center help youth shape their own values while providing them with all the tools, resources and support they need today in order to evolve into confident leaders tomorrow.

Under Mary’s leadership, the youth center has five key missions: education, health, career, services for adults as well as youth, and mentorship. Within the center, Mary operates a diaper bank and food pantry, and hosts an annual Back-to-School Barbecue and backpack giveaway, and Christmas Gift Away.

At Upstate, Mary is the face of the Department of Radiology, checking patients in, scheduling their procedures, verifying authorizations and collecting payments.

“Upstate became my family in 1999,” she says proudly.

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


I've thought a log about the impact of my career…

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Annual Donor, Major Donor, Legacy Donor

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Taking the long view of wellness…

“The Foundation helps me accomplish what's needed to carry out my personal vision and priorities,” Dr. Kohman explained. It is vision that prompted her to make a legacy gift, recognizing that Upstate is going to have needs long after her service has ended. She has donated a life insurance policy, designating the Upstate Foundation as its beneficiary, which she hopes will inspire others.

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For Iris Buczkowski, whose oldest daughter is autistic, the new Golisano Center for Special Needs at Upstate Medical University was a life changer. So much so, in fact, Iris and her family decided to leave a legacy gift to the center through the Upstate Foundation… “They made giving very, very easy because the team has a collective approach,” Iris explained.

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“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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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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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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