Legacy Society – Iris Buczkowski


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.

“My daughter utilized services at the center for a rather extensive period of time,” said Iris, who is a business owner in Rome, NY, where she also lives and is raising her family. “After successfully completing an intense therapy program, she became herself once again and was back to the happy child we knew we had.”

Grateful for the extraordinary care her daughter received at the center, and the support her family also received, Iris wished to “create something in perpetuity that was going to benefit other families like ours.”

A licensed financial advisor and chief executive officer of Birch Wealth Management, Iris donated a life insurance policy to the Upstate Foundation that will establish an endowment supporting the needs of the Golisano Center for Special Needs for future generations.

Iris understands the impact of legacy giving and routinely explores the topic with her clients.

“It’s actually my favorite part of what I do, because I get to show people how to really maximize something that is meaningful to them while they are planning at the younger stages of their financial life,” said Iris. “I wanted to set an example that you don’t have to be at retirement age or past your working years to make a meaningful legacy gift that’s going to create a long-term impact; you can leverage money to make an even bigger gift than you think you can.”

A wife and mother of three, Iris strives to make a positive impact in other aspects of her busy life. She is actively involved in her community, serving on local boards including the chamber of commerce.

“Part of who I am is that I am always looking for ways to give back,” she said. “I teach my kids this; they do it through their sporting events, and they volunteer for causes that are close to our hearts. I think when you’re in a position to have a voice and you’re considered a leader, it’s our duty.”

As for partnering with Upstate Foundation to leave her legacy gift to the Golisano Center for Special Needs?

“They made giving very, very easy because the team has a collective approach,” Iris explained. “They’re accessible if you have questions. They facilitate all of the administrative responsibilities. And they’re just fun people with whom to work. I would encourage anybody who wants to make a charitable gift to have that conversation.”

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