2014 - Foundation awards $55,000 in grants


The Foundation for Upstate Medical is providing $55,000 in support of 17 Upstate University Hospital patient care, research and patient education programs through money raised during its 2013 Friend in Deed campaign. The applications for funding came from nearly as many different departments in the hospital.

Friend in Deed is the annual fund for Upstate’s two hospitals, relying on contributions from grateful patients and their families, past donors and members of the Upstate family and Central New York community. The campaign has raised more than $1.6 million since its inception in 1997.

“Friend in Deed is a valuable source of funding, and many times the only source of funding for hospital initiatives,” said Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. “It is especially important as support from the state decreases every year and we don’t foresee it increasing any time soon.”

Pezzi explained that as an annual campaign, Friend in Deed is intended to encourage donors to contribute every year.  “The amount of a gift does not matter as much as we want to be able to count on a donor’s support on an annual basis. In fact, we produce a thank-you report to our donors highlighting the number of years they’ve been donating, as well as promote their years of generosity on posters in the lobbies of both hospitals.”

The following initiatives were funded by contributions to the 2013 Friend in Deed campaign:

Patient / staff education

 Support of the new Schwartz Center Rounds program administered through Spiritual Care.

  • Educational publications for patients with Otolaryngology conditions.
  • Matching gift support for a challenge grant received by the College of Nursing.
  • Patient education videos for TIGR TV.

Patient assistance

Clothing and sundries for dignity, Community Campus.

  • Five weeks of supplemental nutrition to financially distressed pancreas and hepatobiliary patients, provided by a gift from the Salt City Road Warriors running club.

Program support

Wellness program for adult inpatient  psychiatric unit.

  • Head and neck cancer support group, radiation oncology.
  • Therapeutic cancer support groups, Upstate Cancer Center.
  • Breast feeding discharge bags, Women’s Health Network.

Follow-up funding

Equipment and materials for the Heart Failure Program.

  • Nutrition related equipment and materials for heart patients to help manage their home care. Community Campus.
  • Patient assistance, Upstate Cancer Center.
  • Unique barriers to discharge, nursing case management.
  • Clothing and sundries for dignity, Downtown Campus.
  • Alzheimer’s Pocket Reference of Tips and Strategies, University Geriatricians.
  • New York State Fair Bicycle Safety Program, Pediatric Trauma Services.



2013 - Friend in Deed campaign awards $60,000 in grants


Caption: Trauma Nurse Coordinator Mary Ann Fields, sizes a bike helmet for a child at the New York State Fair. Upstate’s New York State Fair Bicycle Safety Awareness and Helmet Fitting program was among 24 Upstate University Hospital programs to receive 2012 Friend in Deed funding.

The Foundation for Upstate Medical University is providing $60,000 in support of 24 Upstate University Hospital patient care, research and patient education programs through money raised during its 2012 Friend in Deed campaign.

Friend in Deed is the annual fund for Upstate University Hospital, largely made possible through the donations of past donors, grateful patients and their families, and members of the Upstate community. The campaign has raised $1.6 million since it was established in 1997.

Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate, says that Friend in Deed supports initiatives that enhance the patient experience and care at Upstate University Hospital’s Downtown and Community campuses and their clinics. “While the fund supports patient care and clinical research initiatives, it primarily helps to provide for patient’s needs that are not covered by insurance or other resources,” Pezzi said.

As an example, Pezzi said, this year’s fund will help patients pay for necessities, such as medications, wound care supplies, or prostheses, because they either lack insurance or the items are not covered by their insurance plans. “Also, changes in insurance coverage has reduced access to transportation for many patients,” she said. “Friend in Deed will offer Centro bus tokens to patients in some of our units who need help getting to and from appointments.”

Pezzi says that the Friend in Deed campaign is an important financial resource and the sole source of funding for many clinical programs and patients’ services at the hospital. “On behalf of our patients, we thank our donors for their support and for making a positive difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”

The following initiatives were supported by contributions to the 2012 Friend in Deed campaign:

Patient education:

• The Department of Medicine, to create an Alzheimer’s playbook/pocket reference and resource guide for families caring for a family member who has dementia.

• Patient education folders/booklets to distribute to patients at the Downtown and Community campuses at time of admission.

• The Heart and Vascular Center, to create additional patient educational materials related to cardiac disease.

Patient assistance

• Upstate Cancer Center, provide for the needs of cancer patients who are not covered by insurance or for which there are no other resources available, such as gas cards, meal cards, prescriptions, lodging, prostheses and wound care supplies.

• Centro bus tokens will be available for patients at the University Pediatric and Adolescent Center.

Program support

• Palliative Care, to provide books and memory boxes to help adults and children deal with grief and bereavement.

• Heart Failure Program, to provide scales, blood pressure cuffs, pill cutters, pill openers, pill containers, cookbooks, educational material to help heart patients manage their care at home with an ultimate goal of decreasing readmission rates.

• NICHE program (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders), to provide activity carts and supplies to be used by volunteers with patients who are at risk for developing delirium.

• Spiritual Care, to publish inspirational stories by Upstate’s Spiritual Care volunteers about their visits with adult patients.

• Birth Center at Upstate’s Community Campus, to provide for keepsakes for families whose child were stillborn or miscarried, and for assistance with burial expenses.

• Adult psychiatry unit, for  CDs, DVDs, workbooks for psychiatric relaxation therapy program.

• Community Campus, to provide financial support to patients upon discharge who have no other means to pay for transportation, durable medical equipment or other discretionary items.

• Neuroscience/Stroke Program, to help establish “Safezone,” a weekly support group for inpatient neuroscience patients and their families. Funding will provide for educational materials and refreshments.

• Department of Surgery for its colon cancer biomarker study.  Funded by Salt City Warriors.

• Volunteer Services, to purchase Shumsky Heart Pillows for heart patients to use after open-heart surgery.

• Department of Urology to support for a new Prostate Cancer Program. Funded by Salt City Warriors.

• Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, to purchase activity supplies and refreshments for its “Healing Ways” support group for oncology and bone marrow transplant patients and families.

• Patient Relations at Upstate’s Downtown Campus, for Doing the Right Thing program that helps replace patient personal belongings that are misplaced. Risk Management at Upstate’s Community Campus also received funding for this purpose.

• Nursing Case Management’s Unique Barriers to Discharge program, to offer patients help with medications, transportation, parking vouchers, etc.

• HEC Projects (Transitional Care Unit) including oral/subcutaneous medication program, intravenous medical program, and offsite transportation.

• Adult Designated AIDS Center, to provide patients with medical equipment, transportation and other items.

• Social Work, for its Clothing and Sundries for Dignity program.

• Pediatric Trauma Services, for its New York State Fair Bicycle Safety Awareness and Helmet Fitting program.

For more information about the campaign, visit Friend in Deed.

© 2015 The Upstate Foundation, Inc.