Growing up in large families with modest means, as they both did respectively, in the city of Buffalo and the village of Marathon, Richard and Janice’s tightly-knit families rarely lacked for what they truly needed. Their families taught them the values of family and faith, which helped them come to understand the value of education. The couple has incorporated and extended these ideals into their lives together.
A year after their wedding they moved away from Central New York for 10 years to pursue careers and graduate school. In the 1980s they settled again in Central New York, raising their family, teaching at Syracuse University, and counseling young students and their families in the public schools. Their knowledge, experience and passion for learning media inspired them to form their own education research and consulting firm, Hezel Associates, in the late 1980s, to help build the world of online learning.
Richard and Janice expressed that their charitable interests are an extension of the values that they learned growing up and are a core component of their business. Having worked in the education sector all their lives, the concept of making quality learning opportunities available to those who seek it has been at the heart of their charitable giving. They believe that access to education is fundamental to the future as a thoughtfully progressive, advancing society. When they were seeking an easy, accountable way to support the charitable organizations that hold meaning for them, they established a donor-advised fund with us. They find their fund to be an organized and disciplined way to contribute to the well-being of the community as well as their charitable targets beyond CNY.
The pair want their charity to keep on giving, even after their passing, to support the causes that they are passionate about into perpetuity, ensuring the continuation of crucial programming within the community for generations. When they pass away, their existing donor-advised fund, as well as additional estate gifts, will form a permanent field-of-interest fund that supports several causes that are near and dear to them.
While they explained that education is at the primary focus of their giving, social and commercial entrepreneurship is central to building a just “City of God.” We will make it possible for them to support the needs of young entrepreneurs working to start new businesses in Central New York. They are also staunch supporters of public media programming and faith-based and human service organizations that bring together diverse areas of Central New York to increase the cohesiveness of the community. Richard and Janice believe that we have always been helpful when they sought validation for their giving targets.
“We think it is wonderful to see our fund growing over time,” said the pair. “It is well managed and supported by the trustworthy staff at the Community Foundation. We know that even after we are gone, our fund will be allocated to the community’s most pressing needs in the areas they find most compelling. “
The couple added that they are confident that their contributions are in good hands and will continue making an impact on the community long into the future. They have loved Central New York for its salt-of-the-earth residents, its history, its openness to the people of many nations and faiths, and its easy access to the beauty and nourishment of our rural resources. They believe that with our help, Central New York deserves continued capital investment in its robust charitable organizations.