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Imagine the possibilities



About the Golisano Foundation

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Founder, Tom Golisano, is a visionary and a builder, who doesn’t just generate ideas, but puts ideas in action, and challenges others to do the same.  Envisioning a better world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), he has become an advocate and ally for families, fighting for their dignity and giving people with IDD the opportunity to thrive in their communities.  Tom is driven by a pioneering spirit to make the world a better place and to do things that will have a lasting impact. The Golisano Foundation strives to continue his legacy by incorporating his entrepreneurial and optimistic energy to every endeavor by encouraging others to Imagine the Possibilities along with us.

The Golisano Foundation is committed to opening doors, changing negative perceptions and stereotypes, and forging unprecedented partnerships to ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have pathways to self-sufficiency, personal dignity, and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes.

Founded in 1985 with an initial gift of $90,000 from B. Thomas Golisano, the founder and Chairman of Paychex, the foundation is now one of the largest private foundations in the nation devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that they may achieve their maximum potentials by integrating independence, self-determination, and productivity into all facets of their lives.

With more than $38 million in gross assets, the Foundation has awarded more than $24 million in grants, about $2 million annually, primarily to non-profit organizations in a multi-county region surrounding Rochester, NY.

A Catalyst for Transformation

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Through our targeted initiatives, it is our vision that communities will encourage and embrace inclusion, acceptance, and opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and provide services that empower individuals to make their way productively and creatively in their communities. In addition to providing funding, the Golisano Foundation also serves as a proactive partner with organizations and institutions, working together to promote acceptance and inclusion in the community and workplace.  The Foundation assists with strategies to create a better understanding of the contributions people with IDD make to their communities and deliver services in ways that create more opportunities for meaningful participation in all aspects of community life.

We Value

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What We Fund

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When people say it can’t be done, Tom Golisano will not only find a way, he will find a better way.  He is a problem-solver.  He is decisive, admires efficiency and directness, and engenders a sense of urgency, or a call to action to get down to work.  He is thoughtful and thought provoking and is quick to get to the essence of often complex issues.  Tom’s perseverance and unwillingness to live with status quo has driven him – and his foundation – to get to the bottom of issues and identify solutions.

More than 30 years ago - the vision of one man - and his commitment to a cause very close to his heart - made something extraordinary possible.   When Tom Golisano established the Golisano Foundation in 1985, few could have imagined how the Foundation’s work would grow and how it would touch the hearts and lives of so many.  We will keep working to ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are valued as people who can contribute and be a vital part of our community - as good students, good neighbors and good workers.

With this in mind, the Foundation has adopted the following guiding principles and focus areas in its grantmaking:

Geographical Target Area – Rochester, NY and Finger Lakes Region of NYS

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The Golisano Foundation accepts applications from non-profit agencies serving those with IDD in the Rochester/Monroe County area of NYS; and the greater Finger Lakes Region (contiguous counties to Monroe).

Note: Grant applications from agencies in western NY and southwest Florida that serve people with IDD may be accepted.  Please call Foundation office for further information.

Eligibility / Limitations

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The requesting organization must be a 501(c)(3) organization whose programs meet the Golisano Foundation philanthropic priorities.  The Golisano Foundation considers programmatic as well as capital requests. The Golisano Foundation does not contribute to endowments, fund raising events, individuals requesting grants, medical research or municipal programs.

Ann Costello, Director

August 16, 2017