Legacy Society – Mell and John Gleason

John and Mell Gleason’s professional lives have been devoted to the not-for-profit sector. Mary Ellen or Mell as she is known, has been a teacher in the Rochester School District and, for nearly two decades, taught at Monroe Community College in Rochester. 

John also started out as a school teacher in Oneida, NY. After completing graduate school at Syracuse University, he was called by his alma mater, Niagara University, to work in its development office. The rest, he says, is history. For more than 30 years he has been a development officer raising money for many organizations and worthwhile causes, including working briefly as legacy giving director for the Upstate Foundation.

A number of years ago, John and Mell purchased a life insurance policy naming a number of their favorite charities and former employers as charitable beneficiaries. The Upstate Foundation is one of them. 

“We have experienced firsthand, the great feeling and satisfaction in knowing that the work we care about will continue beyond our lifetimes. It also serves as an example to our children who are also charitably inclined,” the Gleasons explained.

A portion of the Gleason’s gift will be directed to a memorial fund at the Foundation named in memory of a friend and colleague of John’s but the rest will be unrestricted. “No one knows what the future holds with regard to medical research, so we want Upstate to eventually use these funds where the need is greatest.”

Pictured: John and Mell Gleason with their children Anna, Evalyn, and Joseph


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