Everyone can get involved in giving back — here’s how

Muscato column header

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This philosophy runs deep at KeyBank, where we find our truest selves in the service of our local communities.

In fact, KeyBank was recently recognized by Points of Light as one of America’s 50 most community-minded companies — for the ninth consecutive time. The Civic 50 provides a national standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how companies can use their time, skills, and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company.

While this kind of recognition is nice, our reasons for committing ourselves to our local communities have nothing to do with the accolades or attention we get. We give generously of our time, talents and money because successful partnerships between businesses and nonprofits are the key to building successful communities. We give back because it’s the right thing to do, and to be honest, we do it because it feels amazing to do even a small part to contribute to the greater good.

But giving back doesn’t always look like big companies writing out big checks. It takes all of us — large companies, small businesses, individuals and selfless nonprofit organizations — to help our most underserved and vulnerable populations overcome the challenges that have been set before them and to build thriving, engaged communities where we all want to live, play and work.

Small businesses, mid-sized businesses, and even families and individuals have an important role to play in community giving. Determining the best way to make the biggest impact can seem daunting — but it doesn’t have to be.

Narrow your focus

Deciding where, when and how to give is the first step toward meaningful giving. It’s important to determine a giving strategy, and ideally one with your employees’ interests in mind. Uncovering what is meaningful to them, whether through casual conversations or more formal surveying, is an effective way to engage them in the process and start to prioritize.

The KeyBank Foundation has identified three “pillars” of giving: neighbors, education and the workforce. Start by developing your own pillars. Determine what’s important to you, to your employees and the culture of your organization, and build your giving strategy around those causes.

Give in ways that work for you

While every nonprofit needs funding to survive, there are many ways to give back that don’t involve making a financial commitment. Volunteering time for a specific cause is equally valuable and provides a meaningful way for your employees to put their abilities to use.

Serving on nonprofit boards or committees is another important way to contribute. The valuable donation of time gives nonprofit organizations access to highly qualified leaders, while fostering an “external” focus within companies, enabling staff members to concentrate on more than just their job, but rather on the diverse issues and challenges in our communities.

Feel good about giving

While there are definitely business benefits to corporate philanthropy, the most significant benefits of giving back are intrinsic. It feels good. It brings people together. And at the end of the day, it helps build stronger, better communities in which we can live our lives and raise our families.

If you’ve been contemplating how to give back, I hope you’ll take the leap. It’s ok to start small, just start. Because every little bit counts.

Phil Muscato is Market President and Commercial Sales Leader with KeyBank in Rochester. He may be reached by phone at 585-238-4159 or email at [email protected].

Any opinions, projections or recommendations contained herein are subject to change without notice and are not intended as individual investment advice. This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice. KeyBank does not provide legal advice. KeyBank is Member FDIC. KeyCorp.© 2022.CFMA #220929-1745080



Community Foundation to honor nonprofit, three philanthropists

Three local philanthropists and a teen organization will be honored Wednesday for their contributions to the Rochester community.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation has honored local philanthropists who make a difference in the eight-county region for three decades. Wednesday’s 2020 Philanthropy
Awards and Annual Report to the Community also will provide an update on the Community Foundation’s leadership activities and grantmaking in the past year as well as its more recent COVID-related relief efforts.

Jose Coronas will receive the organization’s highest honor, the Joe U. Posner Founders Award. Coronas is a former Community Foundation board member and chairman and also is a co-founder of Trillium Group, which provides seed funding to help start new businesses.

Nancy Robbins and Mary-Frances Winters will receive philanthropy awards as well. Robbins, who volunteered on numerous boards throughout her life, is best known for being the lead volunteer and fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. Winters, named by Forbes magazine as one of 10 trailblazers in diversity and inclusion in 2019, served on the Community Foundation’s board of directors and established the Winters Group Fund to Promote Diversity & Inclusion in 1996.

The 2020 recipient of the Ames-Amzalak Award for Nonprofit Excellence is the Center for Teen Empowerment, which opened in Rochester’s Southwest neighborhood in 2003 to help urban youth hone their understanding of the social problems they face and use their talents and skills to create change in their own lives and in their communities.

The awards event will take place online Sept. 23 at noon.

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NextGen Young Philanthropist of the Year to be honored

nextgen-rochester-web-logoNextGen Rochester has selected a Rochester certified financial planner as its 2018 Young Philanthropist of the Year recipient.

Francis Clement, a CFP with Northwestern Mutual, is a director of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, a member of the RACF’s African American Giving Initiative, a member of the University of Rochester’s George Eastman Giving Circle and a supporter of the Black Physician’s Network, among other things.

The award honors a young philanthropist in the Greater Rochester area who best embodies the desire to promote the welfare of others through generous financial support and exemplary service to local community nonprofits. This year marks the first time the award will be given to an individual outside of NextGen’s direct membership.

“We felt it was important to open up nominations to the entire Rochester community,” NextGen’s advisory committee Chairman Tim Ryan said in a statement. “There are so many passionate and generous young professionals helping to support great work in the area, and we want to recognize and celebrate those individuals and their selfless ideas.”

In addition to his other commitments, Clement is a sponsor of Cameron Community Ministries urban outreach community center, a supporter of the Black Women’s Leadership Council at Xerox Corp. and an active member and benefactor of the Church of Love.

“Francis truly walks the walk, and is deserving of recognition for all that he has done at such a young age,” said Linda Clark, founder and board member of the Black Physician’s Network. “He not only recognizes the need for a hand out, but understands it must come with a helping hand up—teaching and guiding people to not be victims of circumstances, but to grow and be stronger because of them.”

The award will be presented at NextGen Rochester’s Annual Community Showcase event Nov. 19 at Geva Theatre Center.

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NextGen Rochester looking for philanthropic young adults

logo-nextgenNextGen Rochester is looking for the area’s most philanthropic young professionals.

An affiliate of Rochester Area Community Foundation, NextGen Rochester will accept nominations through Oct. 22 for the 2018 Young Philanthropist of the Year Award.

Now in its fourth year, the annual award is given in honor of the founding members of NextGen Rochester and is awarded to a young philanthropist in the region who best exemplifies the desire to promote the welfare of others through generous financial support, as well as exemplary service to local community not-for-profit organizations.

“In the past, this was awarded internally to an exceptional young philanthropist in our organization, but beginning this year, we felt it was important to open up nominations to the entire Rochester community,” said Tim Ryan, NextGen Rochester’s advisory committee chairman. “There are so many passionate and generous young professionals helping to support great work in the area, and we want to recognize and celebrate those individuals and their selfless ideals.

Past recipients include Saul Maneiro (2017), Mariel and Nate Bank (2016) and Teresa Gianni (2015).

NextGen Rochester is a peer-led form of philanthropy that involves young professionals age 21 to 45 who are interested in making “giving back” part of their lives through leadership, friendship and philanthropy. Each member contributes to a fund that makes grants to nonprofits selected by the members.

The giving circle of young professionals at the end of last year had surpassed $83,000 in grants in support of high-impact nonprofit programs in the Greater Rochester area.

“Understanding and prioritizing the needs of others in the community from an early stage in your career results in more informed, connected and compassionate lifelong leaders,” Ryan said.

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Area philanthropists to receive Community Foundation awards

Five hundred guests will help celebrate several area individuals and nonprofits Thursday at Rochester Area Community Foundation’s 2018 Philanthropy Awards and Annual Report to the Community Luncheon.

The event, to be held Sept. 20 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, honors local philanthropists who make a difference in the region.

Kathy Nixon
Kathy Nixon

“As a public charitable foundation, we feel it’s critical to be accountable and to report on our financial and programmatic work to the public every year,” RACF President Jennifer Leonard said.

In addition to its annual report to the community, the foundation this year also will release a more detailed biannual report. RACF said the assets it holds on behalf of the community have reached an all-time high of $492 million, up $48 million from last year. In four of the last five years, assets experienced double-digit increases, said RACF board member Elizabeth Thorley.

“The continued growth of these assets means that the Community Foundation can provide more grant support to effective programs and projects that nonprofit organizations offer to communities throughout the Greater Rochester-Finger Lakes region,” Thorley said.

Nearly 6,600 grants and scholarships totaling $29.4 million were awarded during the last fiscal year, the second highest in the foundation’s history.

Leonard said the luncheon is an opportunity for RACF to give philanthropy awards that recognize outstanding individuals, and in some cases organizations, that have made a difference in the community.

“The individuals and families are recognized for creative and effective giving that also inspires others. They typically have worked with us. And many of the people who work with us have philanthropic funds in the Community Foundation, which then also support the community,” Leonard said. “All of the people we’re recognizing are supporters of community philanthropy. Some are focused on children or the needs of women; others are broadly interested in a range of charitable organizations.”

Kathy Nixon, a former Community Foundation board chairwoman and retired executive director of the former Rundel Library Foundation, will receive the Joe U. Posner Founders Award. The award is named in memory of the organization’s founding chairman and recognizes an individual who has shown significant commitment to the foundation and its mission.

Bud and Peggy Frame
Bud and Peggy Frame

Nixon and her husband, Ted, in 1987 opened RACF’s Early Childhood Education Fund. The couple also opened the Fund for Self-Esteem, which supports projects that increase an individual’s self-worth.

Although retired from the Community Foundation’s board of directors, Nixon remains active in the organization and in the community.

Other 2018 Philanthropy Award recipients include:
• Bud and Peggy Frame and family—The Frame family has had a fund at RACF since 1991 and their endowed donor advised fund has been used to support projects in the community, particular the Harley School and the summerLEAP programs;
• Randy and Marion Henderson—The owners of Henderson Ford in 2010 set up the Henderson Family Legacy Fund to support education and address issues affecting families and the elderly. The Webster couple focuses their giving on youth and faith-based programs; and
• St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center—The agency, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph 25 years ago, has been awarded the Ames-Amzalak Award for Nonprofit Excellence, which comes with an unrestricted grant of $10,000. St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center a few years ago took on the issue of structural racism and organized in-depth training and reflection over a two-year period that

Marion and Randy Henderson
Marion and Randy Henderson

involved 29 local agencies and more than 200 employees.

Each year since 1991, Philanthropy Award recipients have been recognized for their creative and effective giving that inspires others while strengthening the communities in eight counties in the Greater Rochester region. Known as the steward of charitable funds and endowments, the Community Foundation connects donors with the region’s current and evolving needs, with the goals of creating an equitable community and strengthening the region’s vitality.

Rochester City Council this week approved legislation to memorialize a portion of East Avenue from Alexander Street to Goodman Street as Joe U. Posner Way. The vote took place 46 years to the day that Posner founded the organization.

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