Local couple’s $2.5M estate to benefit charities, including CNY SPCA

Local News

A Central New York couple’s generosity totals more than $2.5 million in donations that will benefit charities like the CNY SPCA.

Described as a loving couple of 27 years, Bruce Lane and Steven Gillette both died young. 

In 2010, Steven died at age 57 after battling cancer. Bruce died last year from unexpected complications of influenza. He was 66.

“Both Steve and Bruce asked me before their  passing to serve as trustee of their respective trust and so I knew there was some sort of gift that was going to be made, but I had no idea the extent and how much that had gone into it,” said Sara O’Toole, niece of Steven Gillette.

The gift, a combined estate that named the CNY Community Foundation (CNYCF) the recipient of more than $2.5 million to support nine organizations, including the CNY SPCA. 

“They loved each other. They loved their pets. They loved their family they were just a really inspiring couple,” O’Toole said. “It’s been really difficult for our whole family to not have them. To have lost them so young but there’s something really powerful and really wonderful but knowing that their names will live on even though they’re gone.”

Bruce and Steven’s donation will be released to the SPCA annually and the amount will grow every year. Meaning, it will continue to help with care no matter what needs the shelter has.

“There’s always something that needs to be done here from fixing the roof to keeping the drains clean on a monthly basis, so anything like this is a big help,” said Dee Schaefer, the Humane Education director at CNY SPCA.

Long-term goals at the shelter include expanding the spay and neuter program and a garage expansion which would provide a safe place for dogs to play during the winter.

The CNYCF tells NewsChannel 9 people have been choosing a similar path to give back, like Bruce and Steven, for decades.

“It’s so core to our mission as well at the Community Foundaton,” said Tom Griffith, vice president of development at CNYCF. “Our whole purpose is to help crow permanent capital for local non-profits and generous people like Bruce and Steven are what help the Community Foundation do that.”

To read more about their story, click here. 

The CNY SPCA’s next fundraising event is set for April 28. To register for Bowling for Paws, click here.

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