The Upstate Foundation

The Upstate Foundation was founded in 1976 as a 501(c)3 non-for-profit corporation. The corporation is a public charity designed to receive and administer gifts and bequests exclusively for charitable purposes with a focus on (1) the provision of patient health care, (2) the education of health care providers, (3) scientific research, and (4) community health and well-being. The Upstate Foundation is also the primary vehicle for receiving and distributing philanthropic gifts for Upstate Medical University.

The Foundation has 23 full- and part-time staff members, who with a 41-member board of directors, manage more than 1,000 funds; conduct multi-year, million-dollar endowment campaigns; lead capital campaigns; administer alumni associations for the Upstate colleges of Nursing and Health Professions; implement named giving and planned giving programs; run annual campaigns for Upstate University Hospital, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Upstate Cancer Center; and sponsor several major fundraising events, and many third-party events, annually. In addition, the Foundation is home to the regional chapter of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The Foundation is largely self-supporting. Its assets managed total over $204 million. 

Thank you to our donors

One of the most remarkable characteristics of philanthropy is its circular nature. By addressing a need in the community, one gift inspires another, which yields progress, and, in turn, creates impetus to tackle still other needs. The process repeats itself in a “circle of good.”

For the 2019 cycle, we are pleased to report the results of a terrific year! With your help, the Upstate Foundation raised an impressive $11.8 million from nearly 12,000 donors, and awarded $6.5 million toward Upstate’s mission of patient care, education, biomedical research and community health and well-being.

A prime example of the “circle of good” could be seen in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The circle began with a successful capital campaign to construct a hospital to counter our community’s need for comprehensive pediatric care. Ten years later in 2019, this inspired another major gift from our dear friend Tom Golisano to jumpstart a new initiative focused on care for children with special needs.

Another cycle began two years ago with an unprecedented major gift toward the forthcoming Nappi Longevity Institute. Last year, through a new, momentum-building investment from our cherished friends Sam and Carol Nappi, matched by the Upstate Foundation, the Institute is helping to fund a full-time clinical research associate working on a study of a promising new Alzheimer’s drug.

Other circles included: an inaugural telephone call-in fundraiser to benefit the Upstate Cancer Center, funding for scholarships and the University’s new simulation center, and establishment of an ALS-centered fund honoring Tim Green. And, the Foundation began offering a new giving vehicle – donor-advised funds – which provides donors with the opportunity to centralize charitable giving through the Upstate Foundation.

All in all, we hope you will be proud of your role in making 2019 a resounding success and thank you for creating your own “circle of good” here at Upstate!

Thank you all!


Upstate Foundation receives GuideStar’s top distinction

The Upstate Foundation has achieved Platinum distinction from GuideStar, the leading source of information on the programs, finances and impact of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations.

Platinum is the highest level of recognition in GuideStar’s nonprofit profiles. Donors, funders, researchers, educators, professional service providers, governing agencies and the media use the GuideStar site, seen by seven million visitors annually.

According to GuideStar, the Platinum distinction encourages nonprofit organizations to share their progress and results in important new ways—moving way beyond simplistic financial ratios—to reflect the changes organizations are making in the world.

The Upstate Foundation had previously received GuideStar’s Bronze, Silver and Gold level distinctions, which offer increasingly detailed organizational information ranging from basic contact information to qualitative information. For the first time, GuideStar Platinum allows nonprofits to report their progress against their missions in quantitative terms. As an early adopter of Platinum recognition, the Upstate Foundation is demonstrating its commitment to measuring progress and results, and sharing that information with potential funders.

“Our donors expect us to use their contributed dollars wisely and appropriately to alleviate illness, search for knowledge and educate tomorrow’s health care practitioners,” said Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. “GuideStar Platinum is one more way for the Upstate Foundation to provide transparency so our donors can see the impact of their gifts.”