Stories of Giving

People who want to make charitable donations have many available options. Some choose to support institutions—cultural centers, service agencies, schools and the like—that make important contributions to the quality of life in their communities. Others invest in promising individuals, often by establishing scholarship funds. Some donors contribute towards current needs, while others prefer the lasting impact they can make through planned giving.

The following stories offer just a few examples of the options that philanthropists in our region have pursued. To learn more about giving to the Community Foundation, review our Guide to Giving, or contact us.

A Capital Idea

Giving in his lifetime and establishing a legacy

Donors who establish funds through the Community Foundation have the pleasure of seeing their gifts enrich those aspects of community life they care about most. David. C. Mandeville was such a donor. A man of great means, he generously shared what he had, often anonymously. Mandeville thoroughly enjoyed the arts, animals and his beloved home. He coupled that enjoyment with a solid belief that a commitment to trust the future actually secures it. Thanks to his foresight, Mandeville’s legacy now supports the enjoyment of many residents and visitors to Chemung County.

Raised by rugged industrialists, Mandeville understood that some of his business-minded peers harbored suspicions about individual, unregulated, non-profit organizations. But as a leader among philanthropists, he also knew what to do. In 1997, Mandeville created three newly-designated Family Funds, one directed to benefit the Clemens Center, one directed to support the Humane Society and one unrestricted to support the quality of life in Chemung County.

By placing the funds in the hands of the Community Foundation, he demonstrated a second, secure option by which people could support in perpetuity the activities, places and ideas they enjoyed. Thanks to the diligent oversight of the Community Foundation’s unbiased board and staff,  their funds would be well-cared for. They would also be  thoughtfully distributed through a professional grant-making process. 

Scholarships Strengthen Community Connections 

Investing in the future by supporting funds and scholarships today

John and Bobbie Ullman use philanthropy to give back to the adopted community they love. The inspiration for their program of giving dates back to 1972, when they moved to Corning and got a up-close look at kindness in action. “We came here right after the flood and saw what the disaster had brought,” recalls John, director and president of John G. Ullman and Associates and of the John G. Ullman and Associates Foundation, Inc. They also saw how Corning Inc. and other local corporations swooped in to help.

Over time, the board of directors of John G. Ullman and Associates, on behalf of the corporation and the Ullmans, contributed funds to create a series of scholarships, plus other initiatives focused on children, local needs and education.

The Ullman Foundation may donate only to eligible organizations—not to individuals. So it chose the Community Foundation to administer funds intended for scholarships. Starting with one scholarship a decade ago, the Ullman Foundation has gradually brought the count to eight. Most of the awards honor people who have made a real difference in the Corning-Elmira region, and one honors Bobbie’s now-97-year old father. The honorees are E. Leonard Anderson, Robert E. Cole, Margaret O’Brien Dunphy, Burdette Gleason, Stan Lundine, James A. Munday, Jerry Nykiel and Benjamin S. Williams.

Bobbie has served on several committees that choose students to receive scholarships. “I’m really impressed by the courage of some of these students, the selflessness of many of them, and often their maturity of thought about the world and the people around them,” she says.

Although the scholarships contribute only part of the cost of a higher education, John observes that they seem to make a real and important difference to students who receive them. “The recipients have provided indications that they are pleased, enthusiastic and most appreciative,” he says. 

Modest Life, Distinguished Legacy

A Story of Planned Giving

Helen G. Schuyler had a plan for the future, but she kept it quiet. An art teacher, Schuyler lived modestly, alone in her childhood home. Throughout her life, she made small, anonymous gifts to various organizations across the community, but mostly she kept to herself.

Based on her lifestyle, no one guessed that Schuyler was a woman of considerable means. But she had amassed great wealth, conservatively managing a generous trust left by her father. With no heirs, Schuyler wanted her wealth to continue working in the community.  So she and her lawyer set up an estate plan to ensure this would happen— a $15 million bequest to the Community Foundation.

That generous made it possible for the Community Foundation to launch the School Readiness Project, a highly-successful, community-wide effort to ensure that more children in Chemung County enter kindergarten ready to learn.

“Her gift allowed the Community Foundation to take a quantum leap philanthropically,” says board member, Clover Drinkwater, a partner at Sayles & Evans Attorneys at Law. “Schuyler’s gift was an enormous demonstration of faith in the organization.”

That gift, planned years in advance, was also an investment that will continue to enrich the community for many years to come.