The Golisano Foundation has awarded WXXI Public Media a five-year grant totaling $1.65 million in support of the continuation and expansion of the Move to Include (MTI) initiative.
WXXI and the foundation joined forces in 2014 to launch MTI, an initiative that uses the power of public media to inform and transform attitudes and behavior about intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.
The grant will enable WXXI to continue and strengthen the core MTI content and productions including WXXI-produced documentaries, primetime and children’s TV programming, social media and special events. It will also support the Inclusion Desk, a multi-platform reporting effort by WXXI News dedicated to consistently reporting on disability issues and stories of inclusion.
The grant will also allow WXXI to hire a dedicated project manager to oversee productions, monitor the brand and work to increase audience reach.
WXXI’s investment over the next five years totals $1.1 million.
“We are grateful to the Golisano Foundation for its generous support that will enable us to focus more effort on expanding MTI content and outreach,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “Move to Include is an important part of our mission to ensure that a diverse set of voices is heard on our air, online and in digital and community spaces.”
In 2020 The Corporation for Public Broadcasting recognized the importance of Move to Include and awarded WXXI a grant to expand efforts to five additional public media stations, which include WFYI (Indianapolis), OPB (Oregon), WGCU (Southwest Florida), WCNY (Syracuse) and Iowa PBS.
With the support of the Golisano Foundation, WXXI has a goal to partner with 40 new PBS stations nationwide to implement MTI in their communities.
“We are pleased to partner with WXXI and continue our support for Move to Include, which has become a catalyst for inclusive programming in New York and several other states,” said Ann Costello, the Golisano Foundation’s executive director. “With the proposed expansion to even more stations across the country, we look forward to an exciting new era of inclusive programming and public education that will increase engagement and impact on issues, experiences and perspectives of the disability community.”
The Golisano Foundation has awarded nearly $230,000 in the fourth round of its COVID-19 Response Grants to six organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida.
Grants totaling more than $215,000 have been awarded to agencies that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, while $14,000 in grants have been awarded by Bailey and Friends to organizations supporting animal welfare. Bailey and Friends is a component of the Golisano Foundation that is dedicated to supporting animal welfare.
The grants will assist organizations with urgent needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
• Arc of Monroe – $84,500
• Cobblestone Arts Center – $20,000
• Epilepsy-Pralid Inc. – $15,000
• Happiness House – $31,000
• Daystar Kids – $25,000
• The Summit Center – $40,000
• Humane Society at Lollypop Farm – $3,000
• Keller’s Kats Rescue Inc. – $3,000
• Cape Coral Animal Shelter (Southwest Florida) – $5,000
• Gulf Coast Humane Society (Southwest Florida) – $3,000
“While agencies, clients and families are growing weary of the COVID-19 restrictions, they certainly understand the importance of maintaining precautions according to New York State guidelines as some programs and activities begin to reopen,” said Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello. “Providers continue to do a remarkable job of keeping participants engaged and connected in these challenging times.”
This round of grants brings the foundation’s total COVID-19 Response Grant funding to more than $1.3 million.
Through the end of October 2020, the foundation is redirecting some $2 million in grant funding to assist organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Grants may help cover items such as short-term operating expenses for essential programs, safety net and specialty services; the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies and equipment; new technology and technical assistance for virtual commuting and telemedicine; cleaning supplies for health and hygiene; efforts to ensure safe distancing in group homes and facilities; among others.
The Golisano Foundation has awarded some $416,000 to 11 organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida in its third round of COVID-19 Response Grants. The foundation has given more than $1.1 million in COVID-19 grants to date.
Third-round grants will help the following organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with urgent needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic:
• Arc of Erie – $42,000
• Arc of Ontario – $41,000
• Arc of Genesee Orleans – $61,000
• Arc of Wayne – $75,000
• Gavras Center- $15,000
• Lifespan – $18,000
• Lifetime Assistance Inc. – $50,000
• Mozaic – $20,000
• People Inc. $10,000
• LARC (Southwest Florida) – $39,000
• STARability (Southwest Florida) – $45,000
“The most recent round of applications has signaled a change from emergency preparedness to careful planning for reopening programs and services according to New York state guidelines,” said Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello. “As much as everyone would like things to get back to normal, agencies are proceeding with caution given the vulnerability of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the reality that the COVID-19 virus is still with us. The foundation is pleased to be able provide financial assistance during this difficult time.”
Through the end of October, the foundation is redirecting roughly $2 million in grant funding to help organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida due to the coronavirus crisis.
Funds may help cover items such as short-term operating expenses for essential programs, safety net and specialty services; the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies/equipment; new technology and technical assistance for virtual commuting and telemedicine; cleaning supplies for health and hygiene; efforts to ensure safe distancing in group homes and facilities among others, officials said.
The Golisano Foundation has awarded some $265,500 to 10 organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida in its second round of COVID-19 Response Grants.
The nonprofit has awarded nearly $700,000 in funding to date.
Locally, the grants will help the following organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with urgent needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic:
• Alzheimer’s Association of the Finger Lakes – $20,000
• Alzheimer’s Association of WNY – $20,000
• Arc of Livingston Wyoming – $65,000
• Camp Abilities – $5,000
• Catholic Charities Community Services – $50,000
• CDS Monarch – $35,000
• School of the Holy Childhood – $50,000
• Special Touch Bakery – $15,000
“While the requests in this second round were similar to those previously received, we heard from more agencies in rural areas needing to purchase and upgrade technology for staff and clients,” said Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello. “We’re also seeing the need to implement more telemedicine and teletherapy capabilities. We expect this trend and service delivery model will increase now that we are seeing the benefits, are more comfortable with usage, and reimbursement issues are being worked out.”
Through the end of October 2020, the foundation will redirect roughly $2 million in grant funding to assist organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida due to the coronavirus crisis.
Grants may help cover items such as short-term operating expenses for essential programs, safety net and specialty services; the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies/equipment; new technology and technical assistance for virtual commuting and telemedicine; cleaning supplies for health and hygiene; efforts to ensure safe distancing in group homes and facilities among others, officials said.
The next round of grant decisions will be made by June 17.
The Golisano Foundation has awarded nearly $430,000 in its first round of COVID-19 Response Grants.
Grants totaling $403,000 will help organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with urgent needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Grants totaling $23,300 from the foundation’s new Bailey and Friends Fund will go to organizations dedicated to animal welfare that are experiencing unexpected costs due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The foundation will redirect roughly $2 million in grant funding to assist organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida due to the coronavirus crisis.
The grant application process was announced and opened on April 24, and the first round of grants was turned around in 10 days from application receipt to checks in the mail, officials said. Some 50 organizations that the foundation has supported over the last three years were invited to submit applications. Since the agencies are known to the Foundation, due diligence had already been done, allowing the process to be streamlined and as fast as possible.
“These organizations are supporting some of our most vulnerable citizens and are experiencing tremendous pressures,” said Ann Costello, executive director of the foundation. “As we launched this grant process, our objective was to be flexible, give some peace of mind and pay some very needed expenses. We are so impressed with the creativity being used to keep as many services as possible going, to maintain safety and quality of services, stay in touch with people and put programs online and in homes. We appreciate and admire their commitment, dedication and creativity as they work hard under new and difficult circumstances to continue to help those in need.”
The next round of grant decisions will be made by May 27 and may help cover items such as short-term operating expenses for essential programs, safety net and specialty services; the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies/equipment; new technology and technical assistance for virtual commuting and telemedicine; cleaning supplies for health and hygiene; efforts to ensure safe distancing in group homes and facilities, among others.
Golisano Foundation first-round grant recipients were:
• The Arc of Steuben – $50,000
• AutismUp – $100,000
• Best Buddies WNY – $20,000
• Best Buddies South West Florida – $30,000
• Heritage Christian Services – $75,000
• Mary Cariola Children’s Center – $64,000
• Special Olympics New York – $64,000
Bailey and Fiends first-round grant recipients included:
• Beverly Animal Shelter – $5,000
• The Humane Society of Yates County – $1,000
• Mr. Grey’s Strays Inc. – $2,000
• Pet Pride of NY – $4,800
• Rochester Hope for Pets – $3,000
• SNIP Collier – $5,000
• Wyoming County SPCA – $2,500
“The Golisano Foundation has consistently been here for Special Olympics New York. We are so grateful for their continuing partnership and dedication to our athletes,” said Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “This funding is going to help ensure that when we are able to bring back live training and programs, our athletes, coaches and volunteers will have everything they need to compete in a safe and healthy environment.”
Founded in 1985 by philanthropist and Paychex Inc. founder Tom Golisano, the foundation “imagines the possibilities,” advocating for families, fighting for their dignity and giving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to thrive in their communities. With more than $45 million in gross assets, the foundation awards roughly $2 million annually to non-profit organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida.
Lifetime Assistance Inc. has received a $750,000 challenge grant from the Golisano Foundation. The funding will help the nonprofit transform three-day services centers to meet the changing needs of those with developmental disabilities.
The Independence Together campaign, the largest in Lifetime Assistance’s history, will support essential renovations to its three largest day services centers: the Lowry Center in Clarkson, Paul Road Center in Chili and Weiland Road Center in Greece.
With a goal of $5.1 million, the Golisano Foundation gift will match every dollar up to $750,000 contributed by the community. It is the largest single campaign gift received by Lifetime Assistance to date.
“We are extremely grateful to the Golisano Foundation for this generous challenge grant,” said Lifetime Assistance President and CEO James Branciforte. “It demonstrates the foundation’s trust in our team and our vision for helping the extremely vulnerable population we serve benefit from an environment that meets their personal needs, facilitates learning skills and allows them to reach their potential and highest degree of independence.”
When finished, the three renovated centers will be one-of-a-kind centers with Learning & Works Suites that include culinary, senior, technology, health and wellness, continuing education/vocational, music and arts and enrichment. The centers will be fully accessible, motiving centers to meet the needs of the hundreds of individuals supported there.
“The rapidly changing needs of those we support requires us to change how we deliver services,” Branciforte said. “Those who depend on us for day services are medically frail and have severe physical needs.”
Those individuals are aging and increasingly have Alzheimer’s and other age-related conditions, he said.
“More than half of the people we serve use wheelchairs now and there is a tremendous increase of young people with severe autism,” Branciforte added. “Our quality facilities must always deliver upon Lifetime’s mission of service and reflect the dignity of the people we serve, meet diverse needs and assure community inclusion, independent growth and learning. With the community’s help, we can achieve our goal.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2020 and will be sequenced over the following two years in order to maintain services at each of the centers. The renovated centers will feature advanced assistive technologies, state-of-the-art technology, more opportunity to volunteer in the community and gain work skills and programs that are more community based, officials said.
“Lifetime’s designs for revisioning day services is an important project that will create more accessible and supportive environments, especially for the growing number of older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Ann Costello, executive director of the Golisano Foundation. “The renovations, including the Learning and Work Suites in each center, will make Lifetime’s day services inviting and flexible, providing greater opportunity for continuing education, skill development, socialization and community inclusion.”
Other major gifts received to date include those from the August Family Foundation, Barclay Damon LLC, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation and Davenport Hatch Foundation, among others.
Lifetime Assistance is the largest, most comprehensive agency in the Greater Rochester area serving children and adults with developmental disabilities. The agency serves more than 1,800 people every day at more than 70 sites in the region. Lifetime is one of 300 agencies nationwide to receive accreditation by the Council on Quality and Leadership.
A $50,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation will help launch the new Amina Grace speech and language program at GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester.
“We are extremely excited to give our participants the opportunity to succeed even more with the help of this new program,” said Jennifer Bustamante, GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester president and co-founder. “Thanks to the Golisano Foundation’s support, we will be able to offer youth, teens and adults the opportunity to improve their speech and language skills including enunciation, clarity of speech, word order and message meaning.”
The skills are important in building self-confidence, comprehension, problem-solving, school readiness, social skills and more, Bustamante noted.
The organization’s literacy program in Rochester teaches thousands of kids with Down syndrome to read annually through more than 30 educational and therapeutic programs. Learning opportunities are free.
“We are pleased to help GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester launch this essential program that will provide fundamental skills to the children and adults they serve,” Golisano Foundation Director Ann Costello said. “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have so many talents and skills. By increasing their access to educational opportunities, they may achieve their greatest potential.”
Roughly one in every 700 babies born in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome, and it is estimated that there are 900 people in the Rochester region with the disorder.
The grant will be used to purchase program materials and help support a speech-language pathologist. The Amina Grace program is expected to launch in the fall.
Opened in April 2017, GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester is part of GiGi’s Playhouse network of 46 Down Syndrome Achievement Centers across the U.S. and Mexico. Through free programs and the Generation G Campaign for global acceptance, GiGi’s helps maximize opportunities for daily achievement and lasting acceptance for individuals with Down syndrome.
St. John Fisher College and the Golisano Foundation announced on Tuesday a $5.8 million gift to the college from philanthropist B. Thomas Golisano to create an institute dedicated to training nurses in the care of people with developmental disabilities.
The Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing will be the first of its kind in this country, officials said. It will offer curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a summer institute and conferences so working nurses can receive continuing education about health needs of this population. Additionally, the institute will partner with the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, which provides nursing degrees specifically in the area of developmental disabilities.
“We are honored to partner with the Golisano Foundation in advancing Tom’s vision for both the Rochester community and for individuals with developmental disabilities,” said President Gerard J. Rooney. “This vital work and education will have an impact far beyond Rochester, and we are proud to lead the Golisano Institute.”
Continuing a series of transformational gifts aimed at improving the care and success of individuals with developmental disabilities, $5 million of this gift came from Golisano himself, and $800,000 from the Golisano Family Foundation, which is devoted to uplifting people with these intellectual disabilities.
“The Golisano foundation and Mr. Golisano himself have always been in the forefront of improving care and practices for people with intellectual disabilities,” noted Dianne Cooney Miner, dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing at Fisher. Cooney Miner will direct the institute.
Golisano has also made major donations to the Special Olympics organization, whose research shows that people with developmental disabilities often have unmet health care needs, limited access to health care, or are treated by health care professionals lacking training in how to care for them.
Cooney Miner said when medical professionals lack the training for dealing with a special population, they often fail to administer routine screenings or don’t fully treat or diagnose health conditions.
“When people are not comfortable, they choose not to do it,” she said. Some of the best nursing has come out of working with the unique needs of special populations, Cooney Miner said, citing the groundbreaking work the Hartford Institute at New York University has done with the elderly and Columbia University has done with veterans and their families, producing standards of care for the industry.
Fisher could do the same for care of the developmentally disabled population.
“Nursing could be a very powerful ally and advocate,” Cooney Miner said.
“Nurses play a critical role as primary care providers in health centers, and medical and dental practices,” said Golisano. “By preparing the next generation of nurses and thought leaders and by creating a network of health care professionals who care for people with developmental disabilities, St. John Fisher has demonstrated a commitment to making a significant impact on improving access to both quality and inclusive health care for people who are underserved.”
Ann Costello, director of the Golisano Foundation, said adequate health care is fundamental to the quality of life. She noted Golisano’s gifts have been made in that direction for developmentally disabled individuals for some time, including the creation in 2012 of the Special Olympics International’s Healthy Communities initiative, which aims to create greater access to health care globally for developmentally disabled people.
“Healthy Communities is about building best practices of care. It’s about all health professionals and systems understanding that this is an underserved population and quite vulnerable,” Costello said.
When Fisher proposed creating the institute with the help of the foundation, “It wasn’t a stretch at all for us to think they would be successful,” Costello said. “It starts with a champion. St. John Fisher and Wegmans (School of Nursing) stepped up and offered to be that champion.”
The Golisano Foundation will begin its annual drive to Spread the Word to End the R-Word on March 7, with a record number of organizations joining the campaign.
Spread the Word asks people to pledge to take a stand against using the R-word, “retard,” or “retarded.” The Rochester movement has become one of the largest in the country.
“Most people who use the words ‘retard’ or ‘retarded’ do not mean to be hurtful, but to the millions of people around the world who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and friends, it is hurtful, it is a form of bullying and is as cruel and offensive as any other slur,” Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello said in a statement.
The campaign was founded in 2009 and is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics International and Best Buddies International to inspire respect and acceptance. The Golisano Foundation has spearheaded the initiative in Rochester since 2011.
In a taped promo, Paychex Inc. founder Tom Golisano said the R-word is cruel and offensive.
“The word ‘retarded’ is hurtful to millions of people with intellectual disabilities,” Golisano said. “It’s time to spread the word to end the word ‘retarded.’ It’s time to treat all people with kindness and promote the new R-word, respect.”
The goal of Spread the Word is to promote more inclusive communities for people with disabilities and special needs, and to reach out to more people who can spread the word and pledge to use respectful language that promotes more accepting attitudes for all people, officials said.
“Since 2009, Rochester has had the second most online pledges of any city—second only to Chicago, a city 10 times the size of Rochester. And the difference in pledges between Rochester and Chicago is within 10 percent,” said Soeren Palumbo, founder of Spread the Word and senior director of global youth engagement for Special Olympics. “This speaks to the great work being done by the Golisano Foundation and others in the Rochester community.”
More than 50 organizations and associates of the Golisano Foundation in New York and in Florida are planning Spread the Word activities. Local activities include a March 5 Nazareth College accessibility day in which individuals can try using a wheelchair on the ramp at the information desk, a March 8 Everybuddies Choir performance at Nazareth and a March 11 pledge table at the Rochester Amerks game.
More information on taking the pledge or attending upcoming events can be found at the Spread the Word website.
In the five years since Special Olympics launched its Healthy Communities initiative, Thomas Golisano, the Rochester philanthropist and Paychex Inc. founder, has donated $37 million to the program.
On Friday, Golisano was honored for his contributions at a private event at Rochester Institute of Technology’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, where the latest Golisano Archives Exhibit was unveiled.
“What Healthy Communities is all about is many athletes come to our events with some sort of physical disability. It could be eyes, ears, teeth, feet, and what Healthy Communities does is it sets up tents at the events and doctors from the community come in and volunteer and they diagnose the young people,” Golisano explained. “In some cases they can actually make a recommendation.”
The program stockpiles hundreds of pairs of eyeglasses, for example, so if doctors see a youngster who needs glasses, chances are they have something that will benefit the child.
“The doctors are great,” Golisano added. “They do it on a volunteer basis.”
Healthy Communities is the brainchild of Golisano and Special Olympics International Chairman Timothy Shriver, who wanted to improve health outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all were receiving health services and reaching their full potential.
The program would build upon the already successful Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative, which was started in 1997 and offers health services and information to athletes in dire need.
In 2016, Special Olympics health experts conducted more than 150,000 free screenings around the world. To date, more than 1.9 million Healthy Athletes screenings have been given in more than 135 countries.
The first four years of the Healthy Communities initiative was a trial balloon, Golisano said Friday.
“It went great so we saw no reason not to continue,” he said, adding with a smile that the program’s success was astounding.
The Healthy Communities program targets all individuals with intellectual disabilities, particularly those in rural areas underserved by medicine. A Healthy Community is a location officially recognized by Special Olympics for efforts in creating year-round access to quality health care.
“With the support of the Golisano Foundation and the general investment of Tom Golisano, we are trying to support countries, governments on transforming their health systems and their services, and to facilitate access for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Javier Vasquez, senior director of health systems for Special Olympics. “Our goal is to have 11 million people with intellectual disabilities with access to health care by 2020.”
Special Olympics has some 5 million athletes, and the vast majority participate in the Healthy Athletes screenings, Vasquez said.
“We need to work harder in order to unlock these services in general hospitals, in national clinics, in local clinics, in national health facilities and in private services, too,” he added. “This investment is empowering health systems in 170 countries and opening doors in so many countries to guarantee access for people with intellectual disabilities.”
During Friday’s presentation, RIT President David Munson noted that both the Golisano Foundation and the Special Olympics were renowned for their work in helping individuals with intellectual disabilities.
“When they joined together to launch the Healthy Communities initiative, their combined power began transforming the experiences for many people around the world from struggle to strength,” Munson said.
Some 200 million people around the world have intellectual disabilities, said Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation’s executive director, many of whom suffer from needless chronic pain and disease because they lack access to basic health care. Health indicators show that people with intellectual disabilities are two times more likely to die before age 50 than adults without intellectual disabilities.
“Thanks to Tom, and his initial gift of $12 million, 2012 was a pivotal year for people with intellectual disabilities. It marked the start of an entirely new health programming model for Special Olympics,” Costello said, adding that she was at the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles to announce Golisano’s additional $25 million gift. “I think when you work with Tom and Tim Shriver and you put together a vision, a commitment, and you work hard, you get results.”
The Healthy Communities progress continues in 80 communities in 54 countries around the world, Costello said.
Special Olympian Hanna Atkinson was on hand Friday to offer her story of both hope and success. Born with Down syndrome, Atkinson at the age of 2 was diagnosed with leukemia.
“This is the story of what can happen when a girl with Down syndrome survives cancer,” Atkinson said in a video she submitted for Special Olympics consideration. “She can go from being a girl who talked with her hands to being a girl who gives a commencement speech at her high school graduation. She can be a TV reporter for Denver 7 News. She can be a girl whose life is filled with adventure.”
Atkinson thanked Golisano for his support of Special Olympics.
“Without his support, Special Olympics athletes would not be able to pursue our dreams and realize our full potential,” said the 2016 Special Olympics Silver and Bronze medalist.
The latest Golisano Archives Exhibit, located at RIT’s College of Computing, contains a world map showing where the Healthy Communities programs have been established, as well as medals and lanyards from Special Olympics International showing the importance of the connection to their events.
The display also includes a hand-painted batik thanking Golisano and a number of cards from children around the world thanking him for what he has done.
“One of the most important things that Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation have done for the Special Olympics movement is bring about real change to the health of people with intellectual disabilities around the world,” Atkinson said. “My vision, as a Special Olympics health messenger, is to improve and educate others to be their best self, to live a healthier, happier life.”
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