May 14, 2020

Golisano Foundation Awards $426,300 in First Round of COVID-19 Response Grants

COVID-19 Response Grants

The Golisano Foundation announced today that is has awarded $426,300 in its first round of COVID-19 Response Grants.

  • Grants totaling $403,000 will help organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with urgent needs stemming from the coronavirus of pandemic.
  • Grants totaling $23,300 from the Foundation’s new Bailey and Friends Fund will go to organizations dedicated to animal welfare that are experiencing unexpected costs due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now through the end of October 2020, the foundation is redirecting approximately $2 million in grant funding to assist organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida due to the coronavirus crisis.

The grant application process was announced and opened on April 24.

This first round of grants was turned around in 10 days from application receipt to checks in the mail. Approximately 50 organizations that the Foundation has supported over the past three years were invited to submit applications. Since the agencies are known to the Foundation, due diligence had already been done, allowing the process to be streamlined and as fast as possible.

“These organizations are supporting some of our most vulnerable citizens and are experiencing tremendous pressures,” said Costello. “As we launched this grant process, our objective was to be flexible, give some peace of mind and pay some very needed expenses. We are so impressed with the creativity being used to keep as many services as possible going, to maintain safety and quality of services, stay in touch with people and put programs online and in homes. We appreciate and admire their commitment, dedication and creativity as they work hard under new and difficult circumstances to continue to help those in need.”

“The organizations dedicated to pet welfare rely so much on fundraisers, and those are on hold right now, so this funding will enable them to buy essential supplies, take care of emergency veterinary services, and support foster homes.”

Grants may help cover items such as short-term operating expenses for essential programs, safety net and specialty services; the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies/equipment; new technology and technical assistance for virtual commuting and telemedicine; cleaning supplies for health and hygiene; efforts to ensure safe distancing in group homes and facilities among others.

“AutismUp is very grateful for the COVID relief grant from the Golisano Foundation.” said Sarah Milko, Executive Director of AutismUp. “Right now, our 2,500 local families living with autism are without essential social, fitness, and recreation programs that they rely upon from AutismUp. These programs are their nourishment and they are what literally keeps many AutismUp families afloat. Those living with autism are struggling now more than ever because they are even more isolated than before due to the stay at home order. With this grant, AutismUp will be able to continue our operations and our efforts to support our families virtually until the time comes when we can all be together again. For this, all of our AutismUp families are extremely grateful.”

“The Golisano Foundation has consistently been here for Special Olympics New York. We are so grateful for their continuing partnership and dedication to our athletes,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “This funding is going to help ensure that when we are able to bring back live training and programs, our athletes, coaches and volunteers will have everything they need to compete in a safe and healthy environment.”


Golisano Foundation First Round COVID-19 Response Grants for Agencies Providing Services to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – $403,000

  • The Arc of Steuben – $50,000
  • AutismUp – $100,000
  • Best Buddies WNY – $20,000
  • Best Buddies South West Florida – $30,000
  • Heritage Christian Services – $75,000
  • Mary Cariola Children’s Center – $64,000
  • Special Olympics New York – $64,000

Bailey and Friends First Round COVID-19 Response Grants – $23,300

  • Beverly Animal Shelter – $5,000
  • The Humane Society of Yates County – $1,000
  • Mr. Grey’s Strays, Inc. – $2,000
  • Pet Pride of NY – $4,800
  • Rochester Hope for Pets – $3,000
  • SNIP Collier – $5,000
  • Wyoming County SPCA – $2,500

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