CenterState CEO Foundation

CenterState CEO FoundationCenterState CEO Foundation’s mission is to attract philanthropic support for CenterState CEO programs that remove barriers to economic prosperity for people and places. These programs help residents access quality jobs, inclusive workplaces, and entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as build vibrant neighborhood business centers.  

Supported activities are designed in collaboration with community partners and focus on engaging historically marginalized populations (including women, people of color, Indigenous people, veterans, New Americans, and individuals with low-to-moderate incomes).  

Your gift to the CenterState CEO Foundation will help us open pathways for residents in our community to support their families and build wealth, ensuring that all people have the opportunity to prosper!


CenterState CEO Foundation Supported Initiatives

Syracuse Sure Accelerator Mastermind Session 2023
Small Business Support

Providing hidden talent within our communities access to resources and knowledge to help them start and grow sustainable businesses. Focused on people from historically marginalized populations and neighborhoods,  CenterState CEO works with aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners through various program including: Up Start - entrepreneurs with “main street” businesses; and the Syracuse Surge Accelerator - entrepreneurs focused on tech and tech-adjacent businesses.

It Takes a Village new location
CenterState CEO Growth + Equity Fund

CenterState CEO's Growth + Equity Fund is one of CenterState CEO’s newest initiatives, providing market solutions to gaps in accessing capital for tech startups, distressed real estate projects, and entrepreneurs from historically marginalized populations and neighborhoods. Funds raised through CEO Foundation support small business owners from marginalized populations already engaged with small business development programming at CenterState CEO and other partner organizations. G+E Fund participants gain access to micro-grants and loans, as well as customized support that better positions them to grow their businesses and access more traditional financing.

Morse Manufacturing Tour 2023
Workforce Innovation

Helping people in our community access quality jobs with family sustaining wages, prioritizing those who are underrepresented and/or un-and underemployed. Through Work Train and other workforce initiatives, CenterState CEO works closely with companies, training partners, and community-based organizations to improve access to long-term career pathways in high-demand fields. Benefiting both individuals and businesses, CenterState CEO’s workforce innovation programming drives solutions that help businesses thrive and all people prosper.

Pictured: Participants in the Syracuse Surge Advanced Manufacturing workforce development program tour local worksites and explore career paths to the semiconductor industry, such as Morse Manufacturing, in Syracuse.

Equity Day for Nonprofits 2023
DEI Education

Engaging organizations and companies across our region to build inclusive and welcoming workplaces and communities. DEI education provided by CenterState CEO’s Racial Equity & Social Impact team includes various educational opportunities, including Equity Day gathering, webinars, and other events that bring people together to learn, grow, and create positive change. 

Pictured: During CenterState CEO's Race for Equity event, 10 local “celebrity” drivers raised funds through the CenterState CEO Foundation to help nonprofit organizations access and engage in DEI work through RESI. This allowed for the creation of the first Equity Day for Nonprofits, bringing together a cross section of nonprofit leaders to discuss equity and inclusion strategies, and how they intersect with the services they provide to our community.

CenterState CEO Foundation Board of Directors


Robert M. Simpson

Rob Simpson
President & CEO, CenterState CEO


Evelyn Ingram
Director of Media and Community Relations, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

James Reed headshot
Vice President

James Reed
President/CEO, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield

Susan Crossett

Susan Crossett
Chief Executive Officer, CPS Recruitment

Gail Cowley

Gail Cowley
President, Cowley Associates


Johanna Anderson
President, Tompkins Community Bank Central NY Market

Nathan Andrews
President, Morse Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Vicki Brackens, ChFC
President and Financial Planner, Brackens Financial Solutions Network

Somak Chattopadhyay
General Fund Manager, Armory Square Ventures

Mantosh Dewan, M.D.
President, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Stephen Fournier
President, Central New York, KeyBank, N.A.

Jo Anne Gagliano
President, EDR

Stephen Gorczynski
Central New York Regional President, M&T Bank

John Huhtala
Executive Director and Market Executive, CNY Middle Market, Commercial Banking, Chase

Dr. Seth Kronenberg
President, Crouse Health

Melanie Littlejohn
President & CEO, Central New York Community Foundation

Timothy Murphy
Managing Partners, Hancock & Estabrook

Margaret O’Connell
Executive Director, Allyn Family Foundation

Tim Penix
Vice President, SUNY Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center (SUNY EOC)

David Schneckenburger
President, Thompson & Johnson Equipment Co., Inc.

Thomas Schneider
JF Real Estate – Leasing Representative

Erik Smith
Vice President & General Manager, Sensor Systems, Saab, Inc.

Kim Townsend
CEO, Loretto