We asked our donor-advised fundholders why they chose to give to the COVID-19 Community Support Fund during this crisis. Here’s what Bob and Toni Salisbury had to say:
What inspired you to give during this crisis?
If you’re going to support the community in this crisis, it’s a no-brainer to support this fund. In reviewing the organizations this fund has already supported, I was amazed by the scale and range of its impact. It’s striking to see how many local nonprofits are addressing critical needs and providing vital services to vulnerable populations across our community.
The collaborative element of this fund is also compelling. There are many organizations that Toni and I are learning about for the first time through this fund. On an individual basis, we could provide support to maybe two or three of these organizations, but the Community Foundation is better-equipped to monitor the pulse of the community through its grantmaking programs.
What do you feel are the greatest needs in our community right now?
Toni and I recall attending a poverty simulation hosted by the Community Foundation and facilitated by Visions for Change in 2016. We were both stunned by the daily challenges and systemic issues it brought to light.
In the midst of the pandemic, it seems the needs are the same but amplified (e.g., nutrition, healthcare, housing, employment, childcare, transportation, etc.). And they’re all interrelated. If you have a job, you must also have access to reliable transportation or remote technology. And we must be able to ensure the health and safety of individuals at home and in the workplace. Education is also a long-term need that is impacted by all of the above.
What is your hope for Central New York as we navigate this crisis?
I hope we can get through it together; we face enough challenges as it is. All of us wish we could do more and we all have our limits. But we have to start somewhere.
Bob and Toni are fundholders at the Community Foundation and Bob is a former board member. Bob is a fifth-generation Syracusan with deep roots in the philanthropic and business community. His great grandfather was one of the founders of the Onondaga Pottery Company (later Syracuse China) of which his grandfather was president. Also, his grandfather and father served as president of Pass & Seymour.
In addition to both serving on many Syracuse nonprofit boards, Bob was president of the F-M School Board while Toni was the first woman member of the Manlius Village Board of Trustees. Toni was also a trustee of Cazenovia College. They are currently supporters of many nonprofit organizations, including the Everson Museum of Art, Symphoria, Onondaga Historical Association and WCNY.