Anonymous Donor Leaves $2.2 Million Gift to Local Charity

September 10, 2020 – An anonymous donor recently left a $2.2 million gift to the Central New York Community Foundation upon her passing. Her gift established an endowed fund that will support local nonprofit organizations providing healthcare and animal care.

The donor’s professional advisor, J. Daniel Pluff of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, says that the benefactor lived modestly and wanted to leave the money she had received through an inheritance in a way that would do the most good.

“She was almost intimidated by these funds,” he said. “She was preoccupied with wanting to do the right thing with the money upon her passing. I could see a relief in her once a decision was made that would safeguard her legacy.”

This new fund will add to the amount of grantmaking dollars available through the Community Foundation’s annual Community Grant program, which supports nonprofit programs, capital projects and organizational development efforts in Onondaga and Madison counties.

Pluff says the donor chose to support causes that were important to her. She had worked her entire career in the healthcare industry. She also lived alone, valuing the companionship of animals, especially dogs.

Kathy Gilmour, executive director of Helping Hounds Dog Rescue says that funding like this could help the organization to continue and expand its rescue operations, humane education and respite care programs.

“Animals bring so much joy to the people that share their lives with them and so often both need a little help along the way,” said Gilmour.  “What a comfort it is to have this endowment in our community to ease the burden for those providing that help.”  

Endowed funds are designed to benefit the community in perpetuity. The Community Foundation will use a percentage of the fund each year to provide grants to nonprofits. The remaining fund balance will be invested, growing to keep up with inflation and increasing the annual spendable allowance for grants. Over time, the cumulative amount of grants awarded is expected to surpass the original gift used to seed the fund.

”The power of endowment takes the generosity of amazing people like this donor and ensures that their charitable wishes carry on through generations,” said Tom Griffith, vice president of development at the Community Foundation. “She had an interest in giving back to the community she loved and we were able to put a plan in place to make it happen. We’re honored to be the stewards of her legacy.”

Pluff thinks that his client would have been pleased to see the fund in place.

“She sadly died too soon,” he said. “My guess is that she is happy and grateful that everything was put into place before she passed – a good lesson to not put things off. There is no doubt in my mind she would be very pleased with this fund and all that it will do.”

The Central New York Community Foundation is a public charity established in 1927 that collects contributions from donors, manages them to grow over time and then distributes funding to local charities to help them thrive. It is the largest charitable foundation in Central New York with assets of nearly $260 million and has invested more than $200 million in community improvement projects since its inception. As a grantmaker, civic leader, convener and sponsor of strategic initiatives, the Community Foundation strives to strengthen local nonprofits, encourage better understanding of the region and address the most critical issues of our time. ##

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