Meet the Foundation Staff

Upstate Foundation welcomes Laura Hamilton 

The Upstate Foundation appoints Laura Hamilton as the new director of legacy giving.  She is replacing John Gleason who has retired.

Laura Hamilton is an experienced professional with over 25 years of fundraising experience both here and in the United Kingdom. 

Hamilton served as divisional director for capital campaigns for The Salvation Army’s Empire Division, as well as director of development for other regional not-for-profits. 

Her experience spans all areas of development work including annual fund, special events, volunteer recruitment and management, communications, marketing, capital campaigns and, most importantly, major and planned gift solicitation.

The Upstate Foundation 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, including Upstate Cancer center and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. 


Eileen Pezzi garners regional honor 

Eileen Pezzi, MPA, was named the area’s top development professional and one of the region’s philanthropy heroes for 2016 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Central New York Chapter. Pezzi, who serves as vice president for development and is Upstate’s first female vice president, has led the Foundation during a time of great growth, from an asset base of $15.29 million in 1995 to over $180 million in 2017.




Upstate Foundation receives national award from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

At the 2017 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) national annual meeting, Toni Gary and Lorie Riedl of the Upstate Foundation accepted recognition on behalf of the many donors and sponsors who support pediatric care at Upstate. As a result of everyone’s tireless efforts to secure resources to help the children and families cared for at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, the Upstate Foundation was recognized for “Highest Percentage Increase 2016” in a medium-size market for fundraising growth in a single year. Toni, left, and Lorie are pictured accepting the award from CMNH officials. 

Executive Staff

Eileen Pezzi, MPA
Vice President for Development, Upstate Medical University
Executive Director, Upstate Foundation

Sue Clark
Associate Vice President for Development

Terry Heany
Chief Financial Officer

In a profession where the average national turnover for development officers is just 16 months,* the average length of stay at the Upstate Foundation is nearly 9 years. The reasons development officers stay are varied, but it is certainly a key factor in the significant growth of the Foundation.

* The Chronicle of Philanthropy


Development Staff

Jenny Dickinson
Coordinator,  Pediatric Programs and Events

Michele Estabrook
Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship

Toni Gary
Director of Community Relations & Development for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital

Laura Hamilton, CFRE
Director of Legacy Giving

Bethann Kistner
Director, Grateful Patient and Family Program

Mary Knepper
Director, College of Health Professions and Nursing Alumni Associations

Lorie Riedl
Director, Retail Development, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital
Director, Upstate Gala

Mary Roff
Grant Writer/Project Development Specialist

Terry Shenfeld
Director of Foundation Relations; Corporate and Campaign Development Officer 

Julie Galler Simms
Development Director, Community Campus
315-492-5639 / 315-464-4283

Donald Zorn
Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Development




Administrative and Accounting

Doreen Bonura
Accounting and Cash Receipts Associate

Nancy Boyce
Communications Specialist

Donna Bruch
Administrative Assistant for Operations

Operations Data Specialist
Robin Grabowski
Administrative Assistant

Cheryl Kardjian

Alumni Support Associate
Tammy Pike
Prospect Research Associate

Mary Rochette
Administrative Assistant for the Vice President for Development

Pamela Ward
Operations Systems Manager