Donald Trufant

Donald Trufant

Thanks to the generosity of former Cayuga County resident Donald Trufant, a $3 million scholarship fund will award annual scholarships to graduates of Auburn and Union Springs high schools.

Donald Trufant never attended college, but he considered himself a life-long learner, believing that education was the way towards a fulfilling and prosperous life. Now, an endless number of students from Don’s hometown will have the opportunity to advance their education thanks to his foresight and giving nature.

When Don passed away earlier this year at the age of 83, his will directed his estate almost entirely to charity, in large part to augment the Trufant Family Scholarship Fund. The resulting $3 million fund will award $20,000 and $40,000 scholarships each year to graduating seniors of both Union Springs and Auburn high schools. Scholarship selection committees at each school will choose the recipients, based on Don’s criteria that he or she perceives a challenge as an opportunity for success and falls within the top 20 percent of his or her class.

Don grew up on a dairy farm in the Finger Lakes region, graduating from Union Springs High School in 1950 before entering the Air Force and serving in the Korean War. He went on to work in the banking industry, most recently serving as Executive Vice President at Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust in Baltimore. His family did not come from wealth; Don’s hard work and determination helped him develop a successful career that allowed him to be philanthropic.

Don’s long-time friend and lawyer, Cela Burge, described him as incredibly honest, generous and unassuming.

“He was a generous, thoughtful man,” she said. “If he saw an opportunity to be kind and generous for someone or an organization serving a great purpose, he would do it.”

Although he lived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for many years, Don never forgot Central New York, the place of his roots. He visited often and continued to support causes in the region that were important to him and his family members. Don’s investment in our local students is a testament to his giving spirit and desire to challenge young people to strive for their best.

“Don thought education was important, so he put his heart and soul into it,” said Cela. “He thought being kind and generous was important, so that is how his actions followed. Those things that were so part of the fiber of his being will continue well past his life through this scholarship fund. I hope he is never forgotten.”

Related Stories

Oswego County Community Foundation Logo
News Releases September 8, 2021

Oswego County Community Foundation Announces Grantees

$32,400 has been distributed to organizations in Oswego County!

News Releases August 31, 2021

Community Foundation Announces Promotions

Congratulations to Geri and Dana on their recent promotions!

Stories August 30, 2021

Robert Sarason and Jane Burkhead

We see the Community Foundation as an engine for transformative and societal change, ensuring our ...

Stories August 26, 2021

8/28 Day Spotlight | UrbanTSyr

The Black Equity & Excellence Fund allowed for optimization of UrbanTsyr online content with professionally ...

Stories August 26, 2021

8/28 Day Spotlight | Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company

Through the generous support of the Community Foundation’s Black Equity & Excellence Fund we produced, ...

Stories August 25, 2021

8/28 Day Spotlight | Dunbar Association

Knowing that initiatives such as the BE&E Fund believes in your vision helps wounds become ...

Stories August 13, 2021

Black Philanthropy Month | Tamika Otis

I want Central New York to look like a place that exemplifies an overwhelming love ...

News Releases August 12, 2021

Women's Fund Distributes $48,100 in Grants

Since its inception in 1998, the Women’s Fund has awarded $450,000 in grants, and has ...

Stories August 11, 2021

Black Philanthropy Month | Barry Wells

"Philanthropy can address many of the issues and problems hindering our march toward forming a ...

Oswego County Community Foundation Logo
News Releases September 8, 2021

Oswego County Community Foundation Announces Grantees

$32,400 has been distributed to organizations in Oswego County!

News Releases August 31, 2021

Community Foundation Announces Promotions

Congratulations to Geri and Dana on their recent promotions!

Stories August 30, 2021

Robert Sarason and Jane Burkhead

We see the Community Foundation as an engine for transformative and societal change, ensuring our ...

Stories August 26, 2021

8/28 Day Spotlight | UrbanTSyr

The Black Equity & Excellence Fund allowed for optimization of UrbanTsyr online content with professionally ...

Stories August 26, 2021

8/28 Day Spotlight | Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company

Through the generous support of the Community Foundation’s Black Equity & Excellence Fund we produced, ...

Stories August 25, 2021

8/28 Day Spotlight | Dunbar Association

Knowing that initiatives such as the BE&E Fund believes in your vision helps wounds become ...

Stories August 13, 2021

Black Philanthropy Month | Tamika Otis

I want Central New York to look like a place that exemplifies an overwhelming love ...

News Releases August 12, 2021

Women's Fund Distributes $48,100 in Grants

Since its inception in 1998, the Women’s Fund has awarded $450,000 in grants, and has ...

Stories August 11, 2021

Black Philanthropy Month | Barry Wells

"Philanthropy can address many of the issues and problems hindering our march toward forming a ...

View More