On Sept. 20-21, the Funders Alliance of Upstate New York convened their annual conference of grantmakers, Change Beyond Charity, in Geneva, N.Y.
President Mark Gearan gave a lunchtime talk, titled “Welcome to Geneva, Strengthening Upstate Communities,” on Monday, Sept. 20. The agenda for Monday also included a reception and wine tasting at Houghton House.
Other New York leaders participating were State Senator Mike Nozzolio; and William Josephson, Esq., retired Assistant Attorney General for the NYS Charities Bureau. Michael Cooney, Esq. of Nixon Peabody LLP in Rochester will speak about building public trust and nonprofit ethics. Thom Ward, nationally-published Penfield poet, will provide words of inspiration and imagination, to remind grantmakers that upstate N.Y. is a hub of civic and cultural connection.
Other regional and national philanthropic professionals shared stories about leaders in social change, about foundations and corporations who invest in their communities in partnership with government to improve daily quality of life and systemically strengthen Upstate New York families.
The keynote speaker was Lewis Feldstein, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and co-author, with well-known social policy critic Robert Putnam of Harvard University, of “Better Together: Restoring the American Community.” The book describes the authors’ search for communities taking action to overcome the lack of connection that Putnam described in his book, “Bowling Alone.”
“Change Beyond Charity” is to acknowledge there is more to grantmaking than writing checks to those that ask. In the 19th century, American Industrialists created the institution of the charitable foundation and for decades, foundations have been known risk-takers, funding innovation in science, education, and management.
The Funders Alliance of Upstate New York, a project of the Rochester Grantmakers Forum, is a regional association of 160 grantmaking organizations from the Adirondacks to Chautauqua, and from the Southern Tier to Lake Ontario. The association provides philanthropic education, research and holds forums on community issues for its members.