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Bernie Henderson

I’ve always been civically engaged in the community both as a board member and volunteer for multiple nonprofit organizations. Whether it is basic human needs, literacy, historic preservation or something in between, there is one common thread that connects all of my charitable interests: community.

I am a native Oswegonian, with local roots dating all the way back to the mid-1800’s when my family first settled in Oswego County. These deep historical ties – coupled with my upbringing on a farm where I lived the family maxim “work hard and don’t complain” – instilled in me a strong sense of commitment to people and place. Though my army service and various post-secondary studies led me away from Oswego temporarily, I inevitably returned to my hometown where I enjoyed a successful career in academic administration.

During a long and rewarding tenure at SUNY Oswego, I worked my way up from clerk to vice president of the college. In a role that fell right into place, I served as a magnetic liaison between the college and the community throughout my professional life.

Given my lifelong connection to the region, it was natural for me to choose Oswego County as benefactor of my charitable legacy. By directing a portion of my estate to the Community Foundation for the benefit of the Oswego County Community Foundation (“OCCF”), an endowment fund that supports community needs in Oswego County, I hope to set an example that will inspire others.

I have always felt that you should help leave a mark on the area where you made your living. I have travelled quite extensively in this great world, but the life lessons and qualities that I hold dear are always with me in Oswego. Call me boring, but I love this area and I feel it is well worth working to preserve and enhance it.

As a founding member of the OCCF Leadership Council, I work alongside a team of dedicated community volunteers to grow local philanthropy and give back to the community. As an endowed fund, OCCF represents a union of gifts from those who want to make a charitable investment in Oswego County. A gift to OCCF does not just support opportunities to improve current conditions; it also sustains a long-term promise to support the community, and the legacies that endure, for generations to come. 

Learn more about OCCF at cnycf.org/Oswego.