$10 MILLION ESTATE GIFT FROM DR. ROBERT J. VITKUS WILL PRESERVE NATURE FOR CENTRAL NEW YORKERS TO ENJOY
When Bob Vitkus, a prominent oral surgeon and an avid hunter and fly fisherman, passed away last year, his estate named us as the recipient of $10 million to support outdoor parks and recreation areas, a cause that had significant importance to him. Bob’s thoughtfulness and quiet resolve came from spending time with the lands, lakes, oceans and mountains that he bonded with over the years. While Bob will be missed by so many, his legacy lives on through his gracious financial support for the conservation of Central New York’s land.
We partnered with the Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI) to develop a pilot participatory budgeting campaign on the Westside of Syracuse. The Peacemaking Program, facilitated through the Center for Court Innovation, has been selected as the project lead. The goal of the campaign is to create a resident-led grantmaking opportunity. Residents identify potential projects in their neighborhood based on social determinants of health. In this democratic process, community members will decide how to spend the available funding, giving them the opportunity to help make decisions about what is happening in their community.
ONEIDA LIBRARY GRAND OPENING
In February, we attended the grand opening of the new Oneida Public Library. We provided the organization with a $100,000 grant to support the construction of its new building in Oneida. The new library is 18,000 square feet and includes a spacious area for patrons to comfortably browse collections. The Community Room has a seating capacity of 100 and is available to community members for meetings and events. The library is now completely accessible with updated features and amenities that will support Madison County residents for years to come.
TRADITIONS IN GIVING EVENT RECAP
On March 25th, we hosted a virtual panel discussion entitled “Giving Traditions” and invited some of our donors to share what inspires their charitable choices and the change they hope to see in our community. The panelists were Mark and Karla Hall, Andrea Waldman, Steve and Elaine Jacobs, and Vicki Brackens. They each shared their giving stories and how giving has shaped their lives, communities and families. If you missed it or if you’d like to watch the video again, you can view it at youtube.com/cnycf.