CNY Community Foundation Remembers Dottie Irish

Irish, DorothyIt is with a very heavy heart that we say good-bye to our retired employee and friend, Dottie Irish, who passed away last weekend. Dottie Irish served as head of finance and administration at the Central New York Community Foundation for 15 years after serving as a board member for six years. When Dottie retired in 2004, the Community Foundation commissioned Amy Bartell to create a haiku and picture, a copy of which now hangs at the CNY Philanthropy Center:
“For Good, For Ever
Balancing Dollars and Sense
Tallied Perfection”

The haiku was a very fitting summary of her value as a financial mind balanced well with her obvious care for the community and her colleagues.

Before she retired, Dottie wrote this poignant article about what her time here at the Community Foundation meant to her:


By Dottie Irish

The crunchers told me it was all about the numbers. Throughout my fifteen years at the Community Foundation I tried to believe them. There were certainly numbers to be proud of—passing the one million dollar mark in a quarterly grant distribution, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Foundation and seeing the assets grow from $13.9 million in 1989 to today’s total of $90 million. Yet, at the end of my career I have to tell you, it really was all about the people.

The donors to the Central New York Community Foundation are the best! It has been such a pleasure for me to interact with each of you. To witness your generosity of spirit, depth of compassion and careful investment of dollars has been a constant source of inspiration. I wish that I could name each of you one-by-one and give public recognition to one and all for your kindness to me personally and your  visible impact on the community in which I live.

The grant recipients are equally memorable. I have observed regularly the tears of joy when directors of struggling agencies try to express their gratitude. It is really you, the fundholders who make those tears possible, but they turn to us, the staff, in your stead.

Those tears are frequently followed by the smiles of pride as long dreamed of equipment, staff, programs, collaborations are put in place— thanks to the Community Foundation. People’s lives are changed. Leaders are grown. Youth are trained. The stories are endless and never fail to touch my heart.

And my co-workers. While the hours I have spent at 500 Salina have been many, they have all been shared with congenial, dedicated cohorts..

For me it has been an honor. I can assure you, I leave the numbers and the people in the best of hands.

Please share your memories of Dottie with us in the comments below. Dottie’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Community Foundation in her memory. Click here to visit her online donation page.

One comment

  • What a special lady, full of grace and wisdom! As both a board member and employee, she contributed so much to the CNY Community Foundation. I thank her for being my true and faithful friend through the years. Hugs to all who cherish her memory and miss her.

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