The Philanthropist in all of Us

Rande Richardson

Philanthropy is a major part of what defines America. In the north country, philanthropy has enhanced our communities. Do you consider yourself a philanthropist? When the Community Foundation embarked on the concept of developing a philanthropy center, inspired from a similar model in Central New York, a friend’s response was: “I love the idea, but I wish you would call it something else.”

    For someone who has spent a significant time striving to make service to the place you live increasingly inviting, inclusive and diverse, I was taken aback, perhaps even a bit offended. I quickly realized that somewhere along the line, the word “philanthropy” had lost its true meaning in the Greek origin of the word: “love of humankind.”

    Make no mistake, there are wonderfully generous people who have the ability to give financially in support of philanthropy, and our communities are phenomenally better for it. I am fortunate to witness it nearly every day. Financial resources can and have accomplished great things; however, money alone does not define philanthropy. Without other elements of philanthropy, the impact is never as great nor as sustainable.

    Theoretically, everyone has the ability to love their fellow human beings. It is as simple as using any of your resources to make life better for other people. Time, energy, ideas and advocacy are something anyone can share. In fact, many north country citizens have already done this, and have for hundreds of years. Some of our region’s greatest institutions, programs, and nonprofit organizations were made possible because of philanthropy in all of its forms.

    Have you ever volunteered for a community organization or effort? Have you taken time to help someone without a thought of receiving something in return? Have you ever given blood? Have you been a volunteer coach or mentor? Have you provided support or encouragement to someone when they’ve experienced a difficulty or a loss? If so, you are a philanthropist.
    So, by definition the opportunity to be a philanthropist is available to all of us. At the Community Foundation, we’ve encouraged more people to participate through programs that have helped inspire children, youth and younger generations. We’ve created mechanisms that provide people of all means a seat at the table for community change. It has resonated. We’ve grown. We have philanthropists that never thought they could be, seeing the meaningful impact they never thought they could have. Together, we’ve created more opportunities for caring more, loving more, sharing more and helping others more through giving in all of its forms.

    I believe that by practicing philanthropy in the way we want to shape our community and our world, we lead happier, healthier lives. We must inspire and nurture the ability for everyone to know they’ve done something to make their community a better place for others, and themselves. Time, energy and ideas are things everyone with some skill or talent can share, and have the joy in giving them.

    We all have a stake in the failure or success of community philanthropy. I challenge you to be thoughtful, intentional and deliberate in the way you affect humankind, looking to do it in more stewarded, lasting ways. Be confident that you’ve got what it takes to use your life to fulfill the true meaning of the word in support of the things you are most passionate about

    So who gets to call themselves philanthropist? It is a concept and a title that is accessible to everyone. It is important to embrace the broadening “democratization” of philanthropy, widening the playing field, and send the message that we must continue our focus on giving in all ways, including volunteerism and nonprofit service and leadership as well as monetary. Without the passion and resources devoted to philanthropy, not only would our communities be less vibrant, so would each of our lives. The next time you hear the word philanthropy, I hope you see yourself, your family, your children and your friends as the catalysts for real change.

    Our time on this earth is relatively short. That should not stop us from aspiring to have our impact be enduring. Now that I think of it, being a center for philanthropy (in all the ways it is expressed) is exactly the right name, for the right cause, at exactly the right time.

Rande Richardson is executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation. He is a lifelong Northern New York resident and former funeral director. Contact him at rande@nnycf.org.

Telemedicine use spreading in NNY

Charles Wainwright – Wainwright Photo
A doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse communicates in 2016 with a patient using telemedicine technology.Use of the technology in the north country has grown exponentially over the past three years.

[Read more…]

20 Questions: Riding a high note

Michael ‘Scruffy’ Scriminger, left, percussionist for the Waydown Wailers, and David ‘Dave’ Parker, lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist, talk about the band’s growing success last month in Canton.

Michael ‘Scruffy’ Scriminger, left, percussionist for the Waydown Wailers, and David ‘Dave’ Parker, lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist, talk about the band’s growing success last month in Canton.

Waydown Wailers meld genres, chart a new course in music industry

[Read more…]

March 2016: Small Business Startup

A Wholesome Glow

Carmen Gendebien, Co-Owner of Glow Skincare and Spa, poses for a portrait with her lavender camomile milk bath at her farm in Lisbon. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

Carmen Gendebien, Co-Owner of Glow Skin Care & Spa, poses for a portrait with her lavender camomile milk bath at her farm in Lisbon. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

[Read more…]

February 2016 Feature Story: Stefano’s Pizzeria & Restaurant

Three decades strong

Destroyed by fire in 2002, Stefano’s Pizzeria & Restaurant on State Street, Carthage, has endured changing times. The business marked its 30 years in 2015 and now operates locations in Pulaski and Mexico. Watertown Daily Times file photo

Destroyed by fire in 2002, Stefano’s Pizzeria & Restaurant on State Street, Carthage, has endured changing times. The business marked its 30 years in 2015 and now operates locations in Pulaski and Mexico. Watertown Daily Times file photo.

30 years of pizza, pride and persistence for Stefano’s

By Joleene Moody, NNY Business

Stefano’s Pizzeria & Restaurant in the village of Carthage is nothing short of iconic. Started in 1985 in a tiny building on State Street in the historic village, the pizzeria began quite small and unassuming, pumping out fresh Italian pies baked to perfection by Sicilian-born founder and owner, Stefano Magro. Thirty years later, the Northern New York pizzeria has grown by leaps and bounds and today is primarily managed and operated by his two adult children, Stefania and Salvatore “Savie.” [Read more…]

February 2016: Small Business Startup

Attic Treasures Antiques and Gifts

Susan M. Sunderland, owner of Attic Treasures Antiques and Gifts in Evans Mills, and Dale Munn, brother and business partner. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business Magazine.

Susan M. Sunderland, owner of Attic Treasures Antiques and Gifts in Evans Mills, and Dale Munn, brother and business partner. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business Magazine.

[Read more…]

January 2016: Business Scene

NNY Business 5th annual 20 Under 40 Award luncheon

On Dec. 10, NNY Business Magazine and New York Air Brake presented the 5th annual 20 Under 40 luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn, Watertown, to recognize 20 of Northern New York’s emerging leaders under age 40. Photos by Karee Magee, NNY Business.


[Read more…]

January 2016: Nonprofits Today

Be what’s right with our region this year

Richardson_RandeW-“Those who invest in our treasures are what’s right with Watertown. Make it your resolution to be a part of what’s right with Watertown.” — Mark Walczyk, newly elected Watertown city councilman

It is common at this time of year to look back and dream forward. During the New Year’s Day swearing-in ceremonies at Watertown’s Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, one didn’t have to listen too hard to find a theme emerge — hope and optimism for a greater community. Those assembled were gathered in a building that itself serves as a living example of civic pride, love of community, respect for heritage and giving back. It is hard to be in that space and not sense the importance of thoughtful stewardship. The best way we honor those who have led before us is by ensuring that this generation and the next recognizes the great responsibility, privilege, honor and joy of being a trustee. We honor yesterday by advancing tomorrow. [Read more…]

January 2016 Business History: The Railroad Writer

‘My greatest hobby is the railroad’

200907060102 WEB

Despite his lackluster pursuit of academics, Watertown native Edward Hungerford achieved remarkable success once he parlayed his love of the railroad and trains into a career. Watertown Daily Times File Photo.

Watertown man turned lifelong love of trains into a successful career

By Dave Shampine, NNY Business

The letter with its unique signature — a pencil-sketched railroad steam engine — is in as good condition today as it was nearly 76 years ago when Edward Hungerford rolled the stationery out of his typewriter. [Read more…]

January 2016: Economically Speaking

A healthy community: our best investment

Ian Grant WEBWhen asked what surprised him most about humankind, accomplished writer and world traveler James L. Lachard expressed concern that “[people] lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore health.” [Read more…]