After 23 years of leading the Golisano Foundation, Ann Costello will retire from her role as executive director in June.
Costello is credited with helping grow the foundation, whose assets total more than $60 million and which distributes $3 million annually. It has expanded to support organizations in southwest Florida and in western and central New York.
Established in 1985 by Paychex founder Tom Golisano, the Golisano Foundation helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I want to thank Ann for her outstanding leadership and an unyielding dedication to the foundation’s mission over the past two decades,” says Tom Golisano. “She has been a relentless advocate for inclusion and dignity for people with intellectual disabilities in all aspects of their lives, working alongside hundreds of organizations to help them realize their vision and goals for innovative programs and services. Her work has made an enormous difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and of their families.”
Under Costello’s leadership, the foundation launched and supported several partnerships and programs including the global Healthy Communities initiative with Special Olympics. She was instrumental in the development and launch of the Golisano Autism Center, the Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Center, and Nazareth University’s Golisano Training Center. She also worked with St. John Fisher University to create the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, the first of its kind in the nation.
Move to Include, an initiative with WXXI and PBS stations in other states, is an example of Costello’s vision. It is designed to promote inclusion in all facets of life for people with intellectual and physical disabilities through programming and special events.
She also managed Golisano’s personal philanthropic endeavors including the three Golisano Children’s Hospitals in Rochester, Syracuse, and southwest Florida, and other gifts at local and regional universities and health care institutions.
“This has been the most fulfilling career I could have imagined,” Costello says. “I have absolutely loved my work at the Golisano Foundation and for Tom’s personal philanthropy. It’s been a privilege to work with Tom, the board of trustees, my team, and all the dedicated people at agencies we have funded who are so passionate about their work. We have accomplished a great deal together.
“We have reached new heights in philanthropy,” she adds. “We have challenged systems of care to see things not just as they are but as they could be. I’m eternally grateful for the challenging and rewarding career I’ve had.”
The foundation’s board plans to form a committee to appoint Costello’s successor.