CNY Community Foundation

Bridge Street

Founded in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation has worked tirelessly to contribute to every dimension of community life in the region. It is the largest charitable foundation in the area, investing over $170 million in the community since its inception, operating more than 700 funds, and serving as a true civic leader and facilitator, even providing physical spaces for smaller philanthropic initiatives to get started.  

Dr. William Clark was an outstanding example of the principles that propel the Foundation. His name lives on in the Clark Burn Center, which he founded at Upstate, and his legacy of service thrives through the lasting benefits of his generous contribution to the CNY community, a gift that will support every aspect of life in the region.

He worked with the Foundation to establish a plan for a large gift to support a number of regional charities including the Syracuse stage, not content to contribute to only one cause. On his wife’s passing, she also entrusted some of her estate to the community. Dr. Clark contributed $1.3M, which will be donated and invested under the expert management of the Foundation. His name will be permanently a part of the fund, establishing his legacy as a part of a widespread, longstanding tradition of community service in CNY.

Jennifer Owens, the Foundation’s chief development officer and a senior vice president, joins us to talk about why Dr. Clark’s gift is so crucial to the work they do, as well as the importance of community contribution as a whole. Donors like Dr. Clark are able to make huge impacts, but anyone has the power to help – a new initiative, 5 for CNY, encourages people in the area to contribute 5% of what they have to future generations, whether that be to their children or to charity.

For more about what the CNY Community Foundation does, and to learn how you can get involved, go to

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