431 East Fayette Street Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13202 Tel: 315.422.9538


The Hezels

Growing up in large families with modest means, as we both did respectively, in the city of Buffalo and the village of Marathon, our tightly-knit families rarely lacked for what we truly needed. Our families taught us the values of family and faith, and we came to understand the value of education. We have incorporated and extended these ideals into our lives together. A year after our wedding we moved away from Central New York for 10 years to pursue careers and graduate school. In the 1980s we settled again in Central New York, raising our family, teaching at Syracuse University, and counseling young students and their families in the public schools. Our knowledge, experience and passion for learning media inspired us to form our own education research and consulting firm, Hezel Associates, in the late 1980s, to help build the world of online learning.  

Our charitable interests are an extension of the values that we learned growing up and are a core component of our business. Having worked in the education sector all our lives, the concept of making quality learning opportunities available to those who seek it has been at the heart of our charitable giving. We believe that access to education is fundamental to our future as a thoughtfully progressive, advancing society. When we were seeking an easy, accountable way to support the charitable organizations that hold meaning for us, we established a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation. We find our fund to be an organized and disciplined way for us to contribute to the well-being of our community as well as our charitable targets beyond CNY.

We want our charity to keep on giving, even after our passing, to support the causes that we are passionate about into perpetuity, ensuring the continuation of crucial programming within the community for generations. When we pass away, our existing donor-advised fund, as well as additional estate gifts, will form a permanent field-of-interest fund at the Community Foundation that supports several causes that are near and dear to us.

While education is at the primary focus of our giving, social and commercial entrepreneurship is central to building a just “city of God.” The Community Foundation makes it possible for us to support the needs of young entrepreneurs working to start new businesses in Central New York. We are also staunch supporters of public media programming and faith-based and human service organizations that bring together diverse areas of Central New York to increase the cohesiveness of our community. The Community Foundation has always been helpful to us when we sought validation for our giving targets.

It is wonderful to see our fund growing over time. It is well managed and supported by the trustworthy staff at the Community Foundation. We know that even after we are gone, our fund will be allocated to the community’s most pressing needs in the areas we find most compelling. We are confident that our contributions are in good hands and will continue making an impact on the community long into the future. We have loved this Central New York community for its salt-of-the-earth residents, its history, its openness to the people of many nations and faiths, and its easy access to the beauty and nourishment of our rural resources. Central New York deserves continued capital investment, through the Community Foundation, in its robust charitable organizations.

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