The Upstate Foundation

The Upstate Foundation was founded in 1976 as a 501(c)3 not-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 wellbeing. The Upstate Foundation is also the primary vehicle for receiving and distributing philanthropic gifts for Upstate Medical University.

The Foundation has 26 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 Health Professions and Nursing; 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 host several major fundraising events, as well as 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 $250 million.


Thank you to our donors

As you read the pages of our 2021 Donor Appreciation Report, we hope you will agree that the Upstate Foundation continued as a shining beacon of hope in an otherwise challenging year. The Foundation marked its 45th year with several notable accomplishments. Perhaps most impressive is that the assets we manage topped $250 million, a remarkable number by any measure. We also celebrated 25 years of the Friend in Deed annual fund, which has raised over $2.2 million and funded 368 initiatives at Upstate University Hospital. The Impact Map on the cover shows some areas of Upstate that have been most assisted by Foundation philanthropy over the years.

Last year alone, over $15 million was raised to support patient care, education, research, and community health and well-being, and nearly $8.2 million was awarded to projects and services across our fourfold mission. We are thrilled to report that with inspiring support from the community, we met – and exceeded – the goal of the campaign for the new Golisano Center for Special Needs a full year ahead of schedule, raising more than $6.4 million. And last year’s Signature Events raised a combined total of over $1 million.

With assistance from the Upstate Foundation, two longtime funds reached $1.5 million, the amount required to endow a professorship. We are pleased to announce the Michael E. Connolly Endowed Professorship in Lung Cancer Research and the Paige Yeomans Arnold Endowed Professorship in Pediatric Oncology.

And perhaps you’ve seen more about the Upstate Foundation on various media outlets. The Foundation launched a long-planned branding campaign to raise awareness across the community and region.

Philanthropy is alive and well in Central New York. Please join us in celebrating the many generous donors who give us such hope for the future!

Impact Award

At a virtual ceremony in March 2021, the Upstate Foundation received the Impact Award from the Central New York Business Journal for its Covid-19 relief efforts. The award recognizes a person or entity who “created or implemented a program that touched the lives of others in a meaningful way and has had a direct impact on the community.” The award was one of several categories included in the CNY Business Journal’s 2021 Nonprofit Awards.

Specifically, the Foundation raised more than $1.3 million for Covid relief to assist Upstate employees, students and patients.

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.”