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Liftoff Western New York

Who We Are

Director, Rachel Bonsignore

For the past 20 years, Rachel Bonsignore has prioritized community engagement and policy change advocacy to improve the lives of children and families and has actively contributed to national, state, and regional alliances. As the Director of Liftoff, she oversees all aspects of the alliance’s strategic and impact agenda. A graduate of Dickinson College, she also completed a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from St. John Fisher College. Bonsignore previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Community Health Initiatives at The Children’s Agenda in Rochester, N.Y.

Member Organizations

Allegany County United Way

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York

Cattaraugus County Health Department

Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation

The Children’s Guild Foundation

Cullen Foundation

Erie County

Health Foundation for Western and Central New York

Greater Rochester Health Foundation

Grigg-Lewis Foundation

James H. Cummings Foundation

John R. Oishei Foundation

March of Dimes

Niagara Area Foundations

Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

R.C. Sheldon Foundation

Rochester Area Community Foundation

United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

United Way of Cattaraugus County, Inc.

United Way of Greater Rochester

United Way of Northern Chautauqua County, Inc.

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County

United Way of Orleans County

Western New York Foundation

WNY Women’s Foundation

Wyoming Foundation

Steering Committee

TORY IRGANG

Executive Director, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation

NORA OBRIEN-SURIC, PhD

President, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York

MARY JO HUNT

Executive Director, James H. Cummings Foundation

BLYTHE MERRILL

Senior Vice President, John R. Oishei Foundation

CINDY ODOM

Chief Community Impact Officer , Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

TRACY SAWICKI, Chair

Executive Director, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

AMBER SLICHTA

Vice President of Programs, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

SHERI SCAVONE

Executive Director, WNY Women’s Foundation



Governance Committee

MICHAEL BALL

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York

CATHIE GURA

The Children’s Guild Foundation

BLYTHE MERRILL

Chair, John R. Oishei Foundation

LINDA SWANSON

R.C. Sheldon Foundation

MIKE WEINER

United Way of Buffalo & Erie County



Finance Committee

TORY IRGANG

Executive Director, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation

MARY JO HUNT

James H. Cummings Foundation

TRACY SAWICKI

Chair, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation



Policy & Advocacy Committee

MICHAEL WEINER

United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

HEIDI BURKE

Greater Rochester Health Foundation

ADAM DOLCE

United Way of Northern Chautauqua County, Inc.

DARCY DRYER

March of Dimes

KEN FRANASIAK

Niagara Area Foundations

DIANE HANNUM

Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation

NORA OBRIEN-SURIC PhD

Health Foundation for Western and Central New York

SHERI SCAVONE

Chair, WNY Women’s Foundation

CINDY ODOM

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

KEVIN D. WATKINS

Cattaraugus County Health Department



Communications Committee

KAREN BUCHHEIT

Cattaraugus Regional Community Foundation

AMY ROHLER

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County

AMBER SLICHTA

Chair, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

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