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When Barb Genton was growing up in Syracuse in the 1950s, she observed her parents participating in civic and religious organizations while balancing work and home responsibilities. Her father could never say no to a volunteer opportunity. This active community participation and volunteerism were models she learned to live by. She credits the volunteer service she participated in during her youth as helping define her as she later served as an elementary school teacher for 36 years.

Barb’s philosophy is to live life large every day, contribute to the community and give back to others. Over the years, she served on numerous committees and boards for organizations that she cares about. 

“I love helping people, and that type of work makes me feel that I am making some kind of contribution to others,” she said. “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."

Recently, while working on her financial plan with her insurance agent, she decided to transfer the ownership of a life insurance policy to the Community Foundation. The policy will fund the BWG Rainbow Fund, which provides support to a cause dear to her heart: SAGE Upstate. SAGE is an organization that provides educational and social support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) 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,” said Barb. “We need opportunities to connect and build a family.”

SAGE provides a social setting and resources to connect LGBTQ people with a support system and family atmosphere. After serving many years as the chair of SAGE’s board of directors, Barb 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 fund at the Community Foundation will see that vital programs of SAGE are carried forward long after I am gone,” said Barb. “If everyone considered giving back, even if just a small amount, to the local causes important to them, Central New York communities would be so enriched.”

Central New York is currently experiencing an unprecedented transfer of wealth. A study commissioned by the Community Foundation found that $22 billion will change hands from one generation to the next in Central New York over the next decade.

With this information in hand, Community Foundation board and staff recognized that Central New York residents are presented with an opportunity to turn their hopes for the future into reality. If a portion of these transferring assets — even just 5% — were donated to the region’s charitable endowment, more than $55 million in grants would be available annually to support area nonprofit organizations. This kind of boost could provide a permanent source of funding for local charities and causes that will greatly improve the lives of our families, friends and future generations. 

We ask you to take a moment to think about what matters to you.  Perhaps it’s the schools your children attend, or the hospital where you received care. It could be the park where your grandchildren love to play or a local charity that is a big part of your life. What if you could ensure that the things that matter to you today have a secure future, long after you are gone, all while preserving your charitable legacy? 

Learn more at 5forCNY.org.