Philanthropy Award Recipients

On September 21, 2023, we celebrated philanthropy and the work the Community Foundation is doing on behalf of our region. Receiving Philanthropy Awards were Donald S. Hall (Joe U. Posner Founders Award), H. Todd Bullard and Drs. Krishan and Jaimala Thanik. Watch the entire program here.

H. Todd Bullard, Esq.

As a teenager, Todd was fascinated by the televised Watergate hearings and presidential impeachment process against Richard Nixon and the elected leaders intent on adhering to our democratic ideals. That helped convince him to become an attorney — and later a Monroe County legislator — to serve his community.

That service also included offering his expertise on boards. Todd joined the Community Foundation board in 1995, and looking back says that is when he learned how to be an effective board member, interpret financials, and fully appreciate the positive benefits and impact of philanthropy. He and his wife, Darnella, turned to the Foundation in 2003 to establish the Leah Lillian Louise Bullard Memorial Fund, named for a beloved daughter who passed away as an infant. Making connections is another way that Todd contributes to the community. A little more than 10 years ago, he encouraged his client — Rural Metro Ambulance — to support the African American Giving Initiative’s effort publish the State of Black Rochester book in 2013. The 10-year update of that book’s findings will be released in a multimedia format.

Drs. Jaimala and Krishan Thanik

For Krishan and Jaimala, giving back was what they did every day in their medical practices — he as a gastroenterologist and she as an anesthesiologist. They worked long days — 12 to 14 hours — to ensure that their patients got the best possible care.

But Jaimala observed how often patients who experienced pain were told there was nothing else that could be done. She decided to learn more about the country’s four pain management clinics by spending several months away from home to see for herself how those sites operated and understand best practices. Once back in Rochester, Jaimala began offering pain evaluation and treatment to patients and later helped establish the area’s first pain management clinic and convince health insurance companies to cover the related procedures.

Throughout their careers, the Thaniks were committed to supporting the hospitals where they worked and helping the greater community through donations. They also were instrumental in the creation of the India Community Center in Macedon, Wayne County, and financially backing the effort to open this gathering space for local individuals and families from India.

Their relationship with the Community Foundation began in 1996, beginning with contributions to the annual campaign. They later created three different funds to support their personal charitable giving and the community and its residents in the future. Krishan joined the Foundation’s board of directors in 2015 and served on several committees through 2021.

Donald S. Hall, Joe U. Posner Founders Award Recipent

Don can certainly say he had a stellar career under the stars — but indoors and at planetariums. He even had the unique opportunity to train NASA astronauts to recognize 54 specific stars that could be guides to keep the spacecraft oriented in case navigation equipment failed.

Don has many quirky things he’s passionate about — from hamburgers, zinc grave markers and architecture to Tiffany glass, the mansions along East Avenue, and organs to name a few.

Through extensive research, this Ohio native transformed his fascination with these topics into 19 talks that he’s given hundreds of times locally and across the country. He deposited speaking fees from each presentation, along with contributions from investments and sales of his various collections, into the Donald S. Hall Fund at the Community Foundation. One day, proceeds from his estate will be the final gift to the fund, which will carry on his legacy and love for history, historic buildings and artifacts. Don has been asked many times what he would have been if he hadn’t been in the planetarium field. A philanthropist, he always replied. “That was a joke at the time, but now I am one,” he said.

On September 17, 2022, we hosted a gala at the Convention Center to celebrate the Community Foundation’s 50th anniversary and to honor our Philanthropy Award recipients.

Judy von Bucher
Joe U. Posner Founders Award

For Judy, the importance of giving back to your community is something she learned from family.

Her grandparents were active in the community in a variety of ways as were her parents, Nancy and the late Joe Briggs. Judy has continued that family tradition with her board service for Planned Parenthood — also a role that her grandmother, mother and brother played — Rochester Institute of Technology (her grandfather and father before her), and the Community Foundation, a board on which her dad previously served.

During Judy’s 12 years on the Foundation board, she led several committees and lent her strategic approach to every discussion and every initiative. Most recently, she served as chair and later co-chair of the 10-year effort to increase endowment and unrestricted gifts for future grantmaking.

Judy and Erik have been Foundation donors and fundholders since 1989 and in 2022 became champions for the Foundation’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, matching gifts up to a total of $50,000 to support current and future grantmaking to ensure that people of all races and ethnicities have opportunities to realize their fullest potential.

Jonathan Foster

The Community Foundation really has Jon to thank for the emphasis on endowment.

During the Community Foundation’s early years, board members were each asked to make a contribution annually to help cover operating expenses. Jon, then a trust officer at Genesee Valley Union Trust Company, suggested to fellow Foundation board members that the fundraising focus be shifted to building an endowment for the future.

Jon’s next “endowment moment” came in 1996. During a meeting to brainstorm ways to mark the Foundation’s 25th anniversary, Jon shared an idea to create a special permanent fund and asking folks to contribute in honor of the Foundation’s special anniversary. The 21st Century Fund was a great success. Now called the Catalysts for Change Fund, it contributes up to $125,000 a year for grants supporting current and changing needs deemed critical by the Foundation.

Endowment is also at the heart of a fund Jon set up to provide scholarships to graduating seniors from his own high school in a small community in Montgomery County so they have opportunities to broaden their futures.

Emerson Fullwood

In Emerson’s family, philanthropy has deep roots that began in the South more than 150 years ago. After slavery was abolished and his great grandfather was set free, he acquired land and donated a portion to build the Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Over time, several newer and bigger churches were built on family land as the congregations grew. This church often took up collections to help families pay college tuition for their children.

Emerson witnessed how his own parents gave back to their community and stepped in to support extended family members after a tragedy.

These events greatly influenced Emerson. During his 36-year career at Xerox, he held leadership positions in several national and worldwide divisions. But he always made time to serve on boards of various corporate, higher education, and nonprofit organizations — including the Community Foundation.

Supporting young people in their educational journeys is important to Emerson and his wife, Vernita. They have established scholarships at Monroe Community College and the University of Rochester, and three in his home state of North Carolina. Plus, Emerson and his lifelong friend Kenneth Johnson have raised more than $250,000 since 1995 through an annual golf tournament for scholarships to help seniors who graduate from North Carolina high schools.

Dr. Dawn Lipson

When talking about Dawn and philanthropy, you can’t do that without including her late husband, Jacques. With every request for funding that came their way, they would debate the pros and cons and then decide together how to respond.

Their philanthropic focus is primarily arts and health — cancer specifically — with most of their giving supporting Rochester because this is where Jacques grew up and had his medical career.

Dawn’s and Jacques’s generosity has resulted in many accolades from organizations they support and their names on many things. But it was the creation of the Lipson Cancer and Blood Disorder Institute at Rochester Regional Health where Dawn’s involvement in and passion for the project was most evident. She worked with architects on the design, chose the paint colors, carpeting, furnishings, and even art for the walls because she and Jacques wanted patients to immediately feel comfortable as soon as they walked through the door.

The Lipsons, who have served on many nonprofit boards in our community, volunteered for those roles to watch over investments they made or because their expertise and connections could be useful. As Dawn looks back on what her philanthropy has accomplished and what impact her future giving might have, she likes to share a quote from her friend, the late real estate developer Elliott Landsman: “It is always better to give with warm hands.”

On August 12, 2021, we hosted our annual philanthropy celebration outside at Frontier Field. Learn more about our wonderful honorees below.

Tom Riley and Barbara Kelley
Joe U. Posner Founders Award

For the 37 years Tom and Barbara have been married — and even before — they say living within a quarter-mile of the Genesee River constantly reminds them how important the quality of a community’s environment needs to be for living and working.

They focused their commitments of time and talent to make life better here for everyone, and used their philanthropic funds at the Community Foundation to support those passions.

Tom’s love for his hometown prompted his involvement in Rochester neighborhood groups, youth sports, and the City Planning Commission, along with board and leadership roles at Unity Health System and Rochester Regional Health, to name a few. Barbara volunteered on many boards and committees for such organizations as the Seneca Park Zoo, University of Rochester Eye Institute, United Way, and the Catholic Diocese’s Stewardship Council.

These two are the only married couple to serve on the Community Foundation Board at the same time.

Hanif Abdul-Wahid

Hanif believes in the power of neighborhoods and working together to achieve positive results and positive change.

A 27-year career as a community liaison for Monroe County allowed him to follow his passion. He collaborated with others to create block clubs, strengthen neighborhoods, get housing built, and keep youth busy during the summer. He worked with police to clean up red-light districts and drug houses and build trust with neighbors. His commitment to community was grounded in the example set by family members.

“The best way to serve the community is to do it in a way where you are really trying to not just make a difference, but sustain the difference that you make,” he says.

Mary Anne Palermo

For Mary Anne, philanthropy is simply about taking care of one another. As a nurse, that philosophy is instinctual and something she has embraced throughout her life.

Together with her late husband, Dick, they supported many initiatives and programs with grants from funds they established at the Community Foundation. Mary Anne has expanded her family’s philanthropy with two endowed funds — one to address the always-changing needs of the broader community and the other to support nonprofits that provide vital services to Livingston County individuals and families.

“It has been very joyful to see some of the changes take place because of our giving,” she says.

Join us in congratulating the recipients of our Philanthropy Awards! Year in and year out, each recipient contributes to the promise of the greater Rochester region. The Community Foundation recognizes the many hours and consistent financial support these generous individuals and families share with countless nonprofit organizations dedicated to the improvement of our villages, towns, cities, and counties.

If not for this award, many of our honorees would remain behind the scenes, invisibly savoring the good works they have started, built on, or completed. We thank them for going public with their generosity in order to inspire others.

Here are the people and organizations that have been recognized with Philanthropy Awards by the Community Foundation since 1991. Those who have received the Joe U. Posner Founders Award, named for our founding chair, are marked with a plus symbol (+). Before 2001, this honor was simply the Founders Award.

2023: H. Todd Bullard, Donald S. Hall+, and Drs. Krishan and Jaimala Thanik

2022: Jonathan Foster; Emerson Fullwood; Dr. Dawn Lipson; and Judy von Bucher+

2021: Hanif Abdul-Wahid; Mary Anne Palermo; and Tom Riley and Barbara Kelley+

2020: José Coronas+; Nancy Robbins*; and Mary-Frances Winters

2019: Laura “Jinny” Loomis and Norman Loomis, MD; Harold Samloff; and Clayton H. Osborne+

2018: Bud* and Peggy* Frame family; Randy and Marion Henderson; and Kathy Nixon+

2017: Mike Buckley+; Anne Morris Farnham and Sherman Farnham Jr.; Mimi Hwang; and Chuck Lundeen* and John Williams
Special Recognition: Irene Weinberg, one of the Foundations’ first donors, and Rochester Women’s Giving Circle for its 10th year and surpassing $1 million in grantmaking

2016: Mary F. Fisher* and Deborah Lattime+; Dr. Sidney and Barbara Sobel; and Dilip Vellodi

2015: Leo and Charlotte Landhuis; Pin-Seng and Shirley Tschang; and Nathan “Nick” Robfogel+
Special Recognition: Bob Silver* and 20 years of leading Community Sponsors annual campaign

2014: Tom Argust+; Dr. Matthew Augustine; Linda Wells Davey*; and Robert Sykes* and family
Special Recognition: Feinbloom Supporting Foundation 25-year partnership.

2013: Dr. Walter Cooper+; the family of Robert* and Jane* Stevens; and Eric Zeller 
Special Recognition: Muriel H. Marshall Fund 15-year partnership

2012: Ronald Fielding; Janet Buchanan Smith*; and Margaret Sánchez+
Special Recognition: Community Foundation Founders and Longest-Serving Volunteers for An Evening Out At Home, Diana Lauria and Esel Rasor*

2011: Edward P. “Ted” Curtis Jr.*; the family of Lou and Betty* Iacona; Ruth I. Morton; and Ruth H. Scott+

2010: Mark and Kathy Cleary; Mark* and Bobbie* (Barbara) Hargrave Jr.; TC Lewis+*; and Nannette Nocon 

2009: Bruce B. Bates+*; Suzanne Gouvernet*; Adrienne* and Bertha Simpkins; and Justin L. Vigdor

2008: Joe Brown*; Dr. Marvin and Nancy* Yanes Hoffman; Robert D. “Bob” Hursh+*; and Frank* and Norma* Riedman 

2007: Vee* and George* Angle; Tom and Barbara Clark; Paul Rubery, Esq.+; and V.J. Stanley*

2006: Catherine Carlson*/Dorris and Chester Carlson Foundation; Ray and Erika Hutch; and Harris “Bud” Rusitzky+

2005: Harry* and Nancy Beilfuss; Robert W. “Bob” Kessler, Esq.+; and John M. “Dutch” Summers*

2004: George and Mary* Bauer; Marjorie Brenneman*; Jerome L. Huff*; and Richard A. Schwartz+

2003: Armored Motor Service of Rochester; Jacqueline P. Cady*; Alfred L. Davis*; C. Benn* and Sally Forsyth+; and Halcyon Hill Foundation 

2002: Joanna Card*; ESL Federal Credit Union; James and Janis Gleason and the Gleason Foundation; Elliott H. Press*; and Janet Welch+

2001: Ames-Amzalak Memorial Trust; Ione “Grandma” Collins*; B. Thomas Golisano; and Robert C. Silver+*
Special Recognition: Horses on Parade Project of High Falls Brewing Company

2000: Davenport-Hatch Foundation;Lance Drummond; Greece Rotary Club; Cricket Luellen*; and Linda Weinstein+

1999: Joseph* and Nancy Briggs+; Caldwell Manufacturing; Princeton Club of Rochester; and Robert Schmidhammer

1998: Arunas Chesonis; Ronald Fielding; James Littwitz+*; Richard Palermo*; and The Rochester Garden Club

1997: The Brush Family+;Hattie Harris*; Rosa Wims; Louis S. & Molly Wolk Foundation; and Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church 

1996: Frontier Corporation; Junior League of Rochester; Joe U. Posner+*; and Robert Strasenburgh* 

1995: Brighton Twelve Corners Middle School 8th Grade Community Service Program; Diane Doniger; Ruby Lockhart; Merrill Lynch and Co., Bruce Taub – Resident Vice President; and I.C. Shah+*

1994: Dr. Donald Eldredge*; Harold* and Joan Feinbloom+; Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation; and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church  

1993: Nicholas Ferreri; Philip* and Dolores* Neivert; Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.; and Wyman-Potter Foundation

1992: Borders Book Shop; Eastman Kodak Company; Elliot Landsman*; and the Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Foundation

1991: Richard F. Brush*