431 East Fayette Street Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13202 Tel: 315.422.9538

Barb Genton

When I was growing up in Syracuse in the 1950s, I observed my parents participating in civic and religious organizations while balancing work and home responsibilities. My father could never say no to a volunteer opportunity. This active community participation and volunteerism were models I learned to live by. At age 13, I participated in my first volunteer service by becoming a youth counselor at a local day camp. That experience helped define me as I later served as an elementary teacher for 36 years.

Over the years I have served on numerous committees and boards for organizations that I care about. I love helping people, and that type of work makes me feel that I am making some kind of contribution to others. I accepted support from others when I needed it over my lifetime, and it affected me profoundly. I hope that I can do the same for those who find themselves on similar paths.


When my mother passed away in 2004, I began reflecting on my parents’ legacy of serving others and decided I wanted to do something to give back to the organizations that have helped me in my own life. My financial advisor suggested that the Central New York Community Foundation would be able to help me identify and accomplish my various goals. Together, we developed a charitable giving plan and I purchased a life insurance policy, transferred its ownership to the Community Foundation and designated my fund as its beneficiary. Every year I was able to donate my insurance premiums to the Community Foundation as a tax-deductible gift.

When I pass away, the policy will fund the BWG Rainbow Fund, which provides support to a cause dear to my heart: SAGE Upstate.  SAGE is an organization that provides educational and social support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors. Growing up in a time when our lifestyles were less accepted than they are now, many of us currently in our senior years have little family and can feel isolated. SAGE provides a social setting and resources to connect LGBT people with a support system and family atmosphere. After serving many years on the board of directors for SAGE, I established this designated fund at the Community Foundation to provide annual operating support to the organization. With the power of endowment on its side, the fund will help SAGE continue to grow and sustain its mission long into the future.

My philosophy is to live life large every day, contribute to the community and give back to others. I am very confident that when I am gone, the Community Foundation will carry out my charitable wishes as intended.

If you're interested in opening a designated fund, learn more here.