A Foundation for the people of Schenectady

A Foundation for the people of Schenectady

Advancing the sustainable well-being of the people of Schenectady County.

The Schenectady Foundation was created by community leaders in 1962 as a charitable trust to benefit the health and well-being of people who live and work in Schenectady County, NY. Today, the seeds planted by our founders have come to bountiful fruition.  Backed by a sustainable, ever-growing community fund -- the Foundation has emerged as a force in Schenectady’s social sector by performing three essential roles:

  1. Catalyst.  We are an investor in projects with the potential to move the needle on our community’s most difficult issues, such as food insecurity, neighborhood blight, and disconnected youth. See our "Grants" section to learn more about the Foundation’s grants.

  2. Convener.  We convene and facilitate -- gathering together organizations to achieve as a group what none could do alone. The Foundation's only interest is achieving the best outcomes for the community. See our "Initiatives" page to learn more about the Foundation’s work in this role.

  3. Custodian.  We are a steward of the resources entrusted to the Foundation. Gifts to the Foundation are invested for the long-term by experienced Trustee banks. We are careful to preserve and grow our funds, even as we increasingly re-invest grants back into the community each year.

At the Beginning

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/Bill Milton -- Trustco Quarterly 1.jpgWilliam H. Milton, 3rd, a leader at Schenectady Trust Company, developed the idea for the Foundation based on his graduate research. In 1962, with the bank’s support, he engaged the community’s leaders and local banks to establish The Schenectady Foundation. The Foundation became a respected institution to which members of the community could leave their legacy via bequests, wills, estate plans and gifts made during their lifetime.

Assets managed by Trustee banks grow through appreciation, and from new gifts, providing a sustainable source of support for Schenectady’s charities. In 1963, the Foundation made its first grant: $250 to the YMCA. While a modest gift at that time, it was the first of many to come.

Schenectady’s Community Foundation

The Schenectady Foundation is the only community foundation exclusively serving Schenectady County. By developing an endowment for our community, the Foundation is able to make grants that impact our health and well-being for generations to come. 

Grants with Impact

In its early years, the Foundation restricted its funding to capital needs – or “hard” assets – of non-profit organizations – buildings, furnishings, equipment, etc. By 2007, informed by listening sessions with community and non-profit leaders, the Foundation began to identify key focus issues. A strategic focus on Strengthening Families was adopted, urging grant applicants to comprehensively and collaboratively serve families. Since then, the Foundation has become more than a grant maker, leading coalitions to achieve collective impact in recovering from disasters, helping families out of poverty, providing a pathway for disconnected youth, improving food security, and engaging residents to come together to make their neighborhoods more sustainable.

Governance

Good governance and transparency are of paramount importance to The Schenectady Foundation.  The Foundation is driven by its obligation to be an outstanding steward of funds entrusted to it by donors. Governance responsibilities are conducted by four distinct, but integrated entities:

Distribution Committee
Members of the Foundation's Distribution Committee ensure that funding goes to address community priorities. The Distribution Committee evaluates the investment performance of the Trustee Banks and is responsible for the broader governance of the Foundation.

Trustee Banks
Banks with trust powers in Schenectady County are eligible to serve as Trustees of the Foundation. The Trustees manage and invest funds, generate income for the charitable purposes of the Foundation, and perform fiscal oversight responsibilities. Trustco Bank, Key Bank and Saratoga National Bank currently serve as Trustees.

Appointing Authority
The Appointing Authority names the majority of the members of the Distribution Committee, ensuring that the Committee is responsive to and reflective of the community. Appointing Authority members are the president of Union College, board officers of the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way, and the president of Schenectady County Community College.

The Schenectady Foundation, Inc.
A supporting organization, The Schenectady Foundation, Inc. was formed in 2009 to serve as the operating arm of the Foundation. "Inc." carries out the day to day responsibilities of the Foundation including community outreach, program development, grant oversight and marketing.

 Leadership

The Foundation's Distribution Committee ensures that funds generated from the community's endowment are effectively granted to address the community's needs. Members are selected for their passion for the community, knowledge of its needs, and their skills and capabilities.

Our Distribution Committee:

Omayra 2021Omayra Padilla DeJesus, Chair 

Omayra, originally from Puerto Rico, earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California Berkeley in 2003 and joined GE's Global Research Center (GRC) in Niskayuna, New York to work on Healthcare and Biotechnology programs.

Omayra was deeply involved with outreach efforts linked to her personal passion for education, with a focus on STEM for underrepresented groups. In 2009, she initiated the Inspire Program, gaining support from GE GRC's leadership. In 2010, the program was presented with the GE Global Impact Award in Education.

Omayra taught chemistry at the College of St. Rose in Albany, and earned her MBA degree from SUNY Albany in 2016. Dr. Padilla De Jesús founded Rise High Inc., an organization using science as a tool to develop knowledge and skills in youth for a path to success.

 

Mona Golub, Vice Chair

Mona provides leadership both in the community and to Schenectady’s homegrown supermarket, Price Chopper/Market 32, where she serves as Vice President of Public Relations and Consumer Services, with oversight for the company’s public/community/government relations, customer communications and philanthropic endeavors.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Ms. Golub founded Second Wind Productions in 1989 to bring free, world-class concerts to Capital Region parks.

A graduate of Bowdoin College, she serves as Artistic Producing Director of Schenectady’s award-winning Music Haven and continues to expand its programmatic reach to include theater and special events. 

 

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Jennifer Kenneally

Jennifer returns to the board after a four-year absence, having previously served two terms. A financial consultant, she is excited to pick up where she left off.

During Kenneally’s decade on the board, the Foundation transformed into a more visible community presence, with an emphasis on collaboration and empowering residents. 

 

 

 

Bob Bylancik 2021Dr. Kim Kilby

Founder of Kilby Creative Works, a consulting company to help people and companies with solutions and strategies in health systems,  Kim has a distinguished record in the medical field. She held leadership positions at Albany Medical College and served as the Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control for the New York State Department of Health where she directed the clinical management for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

In 2015, Kim was named Family Practice Educator of the Year by the New York State Academy of Family Physicians. In community service, she has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Albany Barn/Electric City Barn and as a volunteer mentor for Capital Region Sponsor a Scholar and is an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady.  

She is a graduate of Albany Medical College, the University at Albany School of Public Health and Union College.

 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/2022-photo-uploads/JohanMathews.jpgJohan Matthews

Johan has been collaborating with local leaders and institutions in the Capital District to facilitate equitable change in emerging communities for more than 10 years. In 2019, he founded Mutual Design, a company that assists diverse stakeholders in shared decision making.

In community service, he is the board president of Community Fathers, treasurer of Boys Day Out, and is a member of the Community Invest Board of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region.

Johan is a graduate of The New School, the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and the University at Buffalo.

 

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Pamela Pearlman

Pamela started her career in social work, then became an accountant, preparing tax returns until she retired.

She volunteers with the two organizations at Schenectady’s Central Park, the Rose Garden Restoration Committee and Friends of the Greenhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/2022-blog-images/Kevin Smith.jpgKevin Smith, Treasurer

Kevin serves as Director of Private Client Services for Fenimore Asset Management where he works closely with individuals, small businesses, and non-profits. He takes pride in providing financial direction to his clients while taking complex subject matters such as tax, investments and estate planning and creating clear, actionable strategies.      

He has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and prior to joining Fenimore, Kevin was a Vice President, with Berkshire Bank’s Wealth Management Group and a Trust Officer with Trustco Bank. He holds the CFP®, CTFA, CDFA® and RICP® designations and received his B.A. from SUNY New Paltz.

He currently serves as a board member for The Schenectady Community Home and the Estate Planning Council of Eastern New York.

 

 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/2022-photo-uploads/Tompkins.jpgAlfred Tompkins

Alfred has worked to nurture the Schenectady community since 1993, when he became Director of Community Outreach for the City Mission of Schenectady.

In 2006, he was called to serve as a community worker at Calvary Tabernacle Church. After 11 years as pastor at Calvary Tabernacle, he became a family support specialist in the Schenectady City Schools in 2017. 

He is a graduate of the Schenectady city schools, Northcentral University, Lancaster Bible College and Davis College.

 

 

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Raysheea Turner Bryant

Raysheea is a partner at Wallace Turner Law in Albany, established in 2020 and believed to be the first Capital Region law firm owned by two Black women.

She has been named one of the Albany Business Review’s 40 Under 40 and one of the National Black Lawyers’ Top 40 Under 40. Raysheea also serves as chair of Destine Prep Charter School in Schenectady. 

 

 

Non-Voting Officers: 

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Michael Ozimek, Assistant Treasurer

Mike has served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of TrustCo Bank NY since 2014.

Mike served as an Administrative Vice President of Accounting and Finance at TrustCo Bank and TrustCo Bank Corp. NY from 2010 to 2014, and served as its Vice President of Finance from 2004 to June of 2010.

Mr. Ozimek served with the audit, tax and advisory firm of KPMG LLP.

 

 

Trustee Banks

Local financial institutions play an important role in the Foundation. Banks with trust powers in Schenectady County are eligible to serve as Trustees of the Foundation. The Trustees hold and invest funds, and generate income for the charitable purposes of the Foundation. Gifts to the Foundation, whether contributed through estates or direct cash, are held by one of the Trustee banks.

To learn more about the Trustee banks, or to discuss options for gifts to the Foundation, please contact:

John Bresonis
Trustco Bank
(518) 381-3644

John joined Trustco Bank in November 2003.  Prior to joining the Trust Department, John managed the Retail Lending Department and served as a manager in Branch Administration.  John received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Providence College in 2002 and holds N.Y.S. Life and Health Insurance License.  He currently serves as board member at Schenectady ARC in Schenectady, NY.

Kevin Reilly
Key Bank
(518) 257-8745

Kevin Reilly acts as an advisor in a fiduciary capacity with Key Private Bank. He assists clients in developing and executing their estate plans and identifying and resolving tax-related issues both during clients’ lifetimes and in preparation for future legacy planning.

Marilyn Kraus, CTFA
Saratoga National Bank and Trust Company
(518) 538-4095

Our Staff

Our capable and dedicated staff works in a team environment to ensure the overall quality of programs, donor satisfaction, transparency, and accountability. You may reach any of us by calling (518) 393-9500 weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm.

Robert A. Carreau, Foundation Secretary, and Executive Director

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/rc4.jpgRobert is responsible for driving the Foundation's strategic initiatives and community impact, working with donors and gift advisors and developing strategic relationships with community stakeholders. His unofficial title is "Chief Catalyst". 

He has been involved with the Foundation since 1992 as its Secretary and was appointed Executive Director in 2010. With 30 years experience in the charitable sector, his work has included strategic consulting with foundations, corporations and non-profits to focus their work on achieving outcomes. Mr. Carreau's volunteerism includes serving as a trustee of the Carlilian Foundation and on the board of the Empire State Youth Orchestras.

"It is an honor for me to be involved with The Schenectady Foundation. I knew and admired its founders -- every day I carry with me the values they embedded at its origination: to ensure that we are outstanding stewards of funds entrusted to us; to add value to the community; to maintain exemplary ethical standards; and to continue to uphold the trust placed in us by donors and the community."

Prior to his work with the Foundation, Carreau led the United Way of Schenectady County as its CEO. He earned a master's degree in Political Communications from the State University at Albany.

When not involved in Foundation or community work, Carreau finds time to throw pottery and play the mandolin.

email: rcarreau@schenectadyfoundation.org

Jean Churchill, Director of Administration

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/about-us-photos/jean head shot (002).jpgJean manages the financial and administrative records of The Schenectady Foundation, and oversees its scholarship programs. Jean, who joined the staff at the Foundation in 2011, brings years of experience serving as legal administrator to law firms in the Albany area. She is very excited to be working in the not-for-profit sector and with the related partnerships of Schenectady, the city where she and her husband have lived since 1985.

Jean's hometown is Union Springs, where she lived on a dairy farm in New York's Finger Lakes Region. She landed in the Capital District after attending the University at Albany, obtaining her undergraduate degree in German with a Secondary Education Concentration and her Masters in Remedial Reading. In addition to her prior legal administrator roles, she adds proofreader, claims auditor, and reading/resource room teacher to her resume.

Her interest in children and education has kept her involved with teaching Sunday School classes for over 25 years. She also enjoys reading, piano, and travel.  

emailjmchurchill@schenectadyfoundation.org

Kristi Milligan, Director of Grants and Community Programs

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Kristi brings several years of non-profit grant writing and administration experience to The Schenectady Foundation’s grant evaluation process. She reviews and evaluates funding applications to the Foundation with the main focus of ensuring that its highly sought-after funds are directed toward the applicants and the programs that will have the most significant impact on the lives of those who reside and work in Schenectady County.

Kristi earned a master’s degree in Social Psychology from the University at Albany and has lived in the Capital Region for nearly 20 years. She enjoys running, wire-wrapping crystal jewelry, and having fun with her two kids.

email: kmilligan@schenectadyfoundation.org

Lawrence Snyder, Systems Support Associate

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/2022-photo-uploads/profile picture.jpgLawrence brings multiple years of non-profit fundraising and database management experience to The Schenectady Foundation. He joined the staff in 2022 to manage and maintain the Foundation’s growing database, ensure efficient reporting, prepare timely correspondences, and implement new outreach campaigns.

Lawrence earned his master’s degree in Sports Management from Georgetown University and has recently moved to Niskayuna with his wife and two kids. He enjoys staying active and coaching his kids' sports teams.

emaillsnyder@schenectadyfoundation.org