Jef Sneider & Gwen Kay

Through their work in the fields of medicine and education, Jef Sneider and Gwen Kay have spent their lives teaching and caring for adults. When the couple began giving charitably together, they both agreed on one thing: they wanted to advocate for children.

Through their work in the fields of medicine and education, Jef Sneider and Gwen Kay have spent their lives teaching and caring for adults. When the couple began giving charitably together, they both agreed on one thing: they wanted to advocate for children.

Growing up, Gwen went to the library every week with her family and became close with the children’s librarians. The pair both believed that libraries are a community asset because they are a resource where education and books are free.

“We became even more inspired when we learned about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that has gifted millions of free books to children all around the globe, including here in Onondaga and Madison counties,” they said.

Gwen explained that her favorite way to give has always been by filling the shelves of libraries with children’s books. Gwen and Jef have supported libraries both here in Syracuse and in Gwen’s hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania over the years. By helping to finance early childhood education, childcare and literacy, they hope to champion children’s well-being and help to build more equitable futures for all members of our community. The couple additionally supports their congregation at Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas and organizations within the Jewish community.

When deciding the most secure and simplest way to continue their giving plan, the pair connected with the Community Foundation and set up a field-of-interest fund called the Kay/Sneider Literacy Fund.

“The Community Foundation has a great reputation for stewardship and we knew the proper due diligence would be taken to assess the biggest needs in the community within the areas of our giving preferences,” they said. “Opening this fund has allowed us to achieve balance by expanding our funding to the broader community while still supporting the Jewish organizations we care about.”

Gwen and Jef’s funding will continue to support organizations that provide early childhood education, child care and literacy services.

“We hope our giving will encourage others to do the same by seeing how deeply we care about the well-being of the community and contribute to a thriving Central New York,” they said.

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