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2010 Annual Report – Message from the Director
“We are well positioned for the next 25 years...We will keep working to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities are valued as people who can contribute and be a vital part of our community - as good students, good neighbors and good workers.”
Twenty five years ago - the vision of one man - and his commitment to a cause very close to his heart - made something extraordinary possible.
When Tom Golisano established the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation in 1985 with a gift of $90,000, few could have imagined how the foundation’s work would grow and how it would touch the hearts of so many.
Thanks to the generosity of Tom Golisano we have something very special here in the Finger Lakes - something that quite frankly is the envy of communities across New York State and the country.
Through Tom’s generous support and compassion, the Golisano Foundation, along with our agency partners, have opened more doors, helped change negative perceptions, and forged unprecedented partnerships so that those with developmental disabilities may participate in their communities as never before and enjoy the things you and I take for granted.
A sample of programs we are particularly proud include:
- Full Circle Careers in Caring - a collaborative effort to recruit and retain qualified direct care staff for local agencies.
- Future Care Planning Services to assist elderly caregivers plan for the future of their aging son or daughter with developmental disabilities.
- The Institute for Innovative Transition dedicated to improving services for students as they transition from high school to the adult world.
- And a host of other services that makes our community vibrant and wonderful – equine therapy, sports and recreation, after school programs, youth leadership clubs, employment opportunities, continuing education, music and drama therapy, transportation, legal services, summer camps, health care screenings and adaptive equipment and technologies ...just to name a few!
In recent years the Foundation has gone further by advocating for changes in public policy and searching nationally for successful program to bring to town.
I anticipate that over the next 25 years, we will go further still.....and it starts with the recognition of five remarkable healthcare professionals who provide extraordinary health care in our community to individuals with developmental disabilities.
People with intellectual disabilities often have little or no access to health care that could drastically improve or even save their lives. They have a greater risk for health issues, and yet health care professionals are not trained in or experienced with caring for people with intellectual disabilities.
It is our hope that by recognizing those who have led the way and demonstrated their dedication to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, that we can expedite change in the form of improved access and better healthcare. The individuals we are honoring have promoted acceptance, dignity and inclusion in their work, and they value people with intellectual disabilities as people who can contribute and be a vital part of the community. As more people become educated, more involved, we are confidant that improved health policies and programs will follow.
The five individuals who were presented with the foundation’s first-ever Leadership Award for their efforts to improve and expand access to quality health care are:
- Mary Kay Bradley, Clinical Assistant Professor of Speech-Language Pathology for Nazareth College.
- Vincent Graniero, OD, Optometrist with LensCrafters.
- Wayne Lipschitz, DDS, Associate Professor of Clinical Dentistry for the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health.
- Stephen Sulkes, M.D. Director of the University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
- James B. Sutton, RPA-C, Physician Assistant, Clinton Family Health Center, Rochester General Medical Group, an affiliate of Rochester General Health System.
I came to the Foundation 12 years ago - during a time of significant growth and change.
At that time, the assets grew from $4 million to $18 million; three new trustees were added to the board, and a new mission statement was crafted.
Back in 1998, we also published the Foundation’s first annual report, and I’d like to quote something I wrote back then, something that captures the spirit and commitment of the Foundation then and now:
“We are poised for the new millenniu. We anticipate continued growth in our investment portfolio, additional support for innovative programs, and new partnerships to assist us in meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.”
I didn’t have a crystal ball back then but if you fast forward to 2010 I’d say we made good on those promises.
So, I’ll go out on a limb once again and say:
We are well positioned for the next 25 years. We anticipate steady growth in our investment portfolio, which means additional support for innovative programs and new partnerships to assist us in meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. We will keep working to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities are valued as people who can contribute and be a vital part of our community - as good students, good neighbors and good workers.
Thanks again, Tom, for allowing us to imagine the possibilities, and to create and advance the “can do attitude” the individuals with disabilities deserves.