The ‘saratoga living’ 10 Under 40: The Future Of Saratoga Philanthropy

In Saratoga Springs, where charity galas pepper every calendar during every season, philanthropists rule the roost. Prominent do-gooders, such as Ron and Michele Riggi, Ed and Lisa Mitzen, Michael and Linda Toohey, Bill and Susan Dake, Neil and the late Jane Golub and, yes, saratoga living Chair Anthony Ianniello (among many others), have become local heroes for their significant and often game-changing charitable contributions. And how can we even bring up Saratoga generosity without invoking the names of the late, great Marylou Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson, who’ve completely rewritten the book on what it means to give in the Spa City?

While we have nothing but the utmost respect for these OG givers, over time, there’ll need to be a changing of the guard; the philanthropists of today will be replaced by those of tomorrow. The following is a list of the 10 people (or groups of people) under the age of 40 that saratoga living believes will (and already has) taken up that selfless baton. These are individuals who are devoting their lives to giving and giving back, whether it be through personal donations, serving on charity boards or working in the nonprofit sector. They represent a genuine cross-section of the Capital Region, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating each and every one of them. —The Editors

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Aliza Pickering, 28

Charity: Pitney Meadows Community Farm

Philanthropic affiliations: Vegetable Manager, Pitney Meadows Community Farm
A time someone showed you compassion: “When I came back from college and started a CSA, I also worked on two other farms, once a week, to learn from them, and they let me pick their brain and helped show me the ropes.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Jahkeen Hoke, 31

Charity: 4th Family

Philanthropic affiliations: Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer, 4th Family; Treasurer, the Henry Johnson Foundation
One thing you’d change about the world: “End racism—but from a prejudice perspective. So we can all just see each other as equal human beings.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Carmine DeCrescente and Matt DeCrescente

Charity: Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York

Carmine DeCrescente, 37
Philanthropic affiliations: Committee Member, JDRF Gala; former Board Member, Red Cross; former Committee Member, Ronald McDonald House’s Masquerade Gala; 2017 Real Men Wear Pink Candidate, American Cancer Society
One thing you’d change about the world: “I’d solve world hunger.”

Matt DeCrescente, 36
Philanthropic affiliations: Committee Member, An Evening To End Alzheimer’s Gala
One thing you’d change about the world: “I’d want people to be accepted for who they are.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Elizabeth Hunter, 30

Charity: American Cancer Society (ACS) of the Capital Region

Philanthropic affiliations: Senior Manager, Community Development, American Cancer Society, Inc.
A time someone showed you compassion: “The energy and support that I get from this community, along with my friends and family, has been the biggest inspiration and help to me. I’ve been extremely lucky to have many mentors who’ve helped me along the way.
One specific person that I credit so much of my success to is Jeanne Walsh. She’s so positive, full of energy and truly believes that the sky’s the limit. Whether I’m picking up the phone to call her or just asking myself, ‘What would Jeanne do in this situation?,’ she’s been a driving force for me since the very first day of my career. If I could make even half the impact that Jeanne Walsh has in this world, then I’d consider myself a success.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Stephanie and Dave Collins

Charity: Wellspring

Dave Collins, 39
Philanthropic affiliations: Wellspring; The Incredible Teddy Foundation; Jake’s Help From Heaven; Franklin Community Center; Saratoga Hospital Foundation; Saratoga Automobile Museum
First philanthropic experience: “I think it was the Empty Stocking Fund—and understanding, as a kid, the need to give back. My mother would explain that she was going to volunteer, and I got to come along with her. When you’re a little kid, you walk into this room full of toys and you’re like, ‘Oh, these are all for me!’ And then it sinks in. It was eye-opening to realize that there were so many people who do without and that it’s incumbent upon those who can to help those in need.”

Stephanie Collins, 38
Philanthropic affiliations: Wellspring; The Incredible Teddy Foundation; Jake’s Help From Heaven; Franklin Community Center; Saratoga Hospital Foundation; Saratoga Automobile Museum
One thing you’d change about the world: “I’d say the lack of collaboration—instilling in people a sense of hearing both sides before you decide what you want to do.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Amanda Vance, 29

Charity: New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program

Philanthropic affiliations: Thoroughbred Trainer, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program
One thing you’d change about the world: “Overall, I just wish this was a kinder place.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Mark Duffy, 38

Charity: SEFCU’s Holiday Sharing Program

Philanthropic affiliations: Community Engagement Leader, SEFCU; Planning Committee
Chair, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless’ A Taste of Albany; Leadership Team Member, American Heart Association’s CycleNation
First philanthropic experience: “The more I do and get involved, the more I realize that I was the recipient of so many services growing up. Especially now with Adopt A Family; oh my gosh, we were the family that was adopted. It’s all coming back.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Krystle Nowhitney Hernandez, 34

Charity: Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC)

Philanthropic affiliations: Deputy Director, EOC; Planning Committee Chair, EOC’s May Day and Visión fundraisers; Chair, Ballston Spa Farmers Market Committee; Board Member, Ballston Spa Business and Professionals Association; former Board Member, The Giving Circle.
First philanthropic experience: “The first really big volunteer activity that I took part in was with Centro Cívico in Amsterdam, and I did HIV/AIDS outreach education work in the community through that organization. It was the first opportunity I had to work within the Latino community, which is something that I knew I wanted to do.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Meredith Woolford, 38

Charity: Saratoga Hospital Foundation

Philanthropic affiliations: Executive Director, Saratoga Hospital Foundation; former Board Member, Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation; Beyond My Battle
First philanthropic experience: “When I lived in New York City, I worked with an organization called New York Cares and was a mentor for children in the Bronx. I went up every other Saturday with a girlfriend, and we ran a program where we took kids from a children and women’s shelter on adventures, bringing them bowling and to pumpkin patches.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) Junior Committee Officers

Charity: SPAC’s Educational Programming

Samantha Kercull, 33
Philanthropic affiliations: Advisor, SPAC Junior Committee; Foundation Board Member, Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation
A time someone showed you compassion: “Earlier this summer, I broke my leg cycling, and two individuals came to my rescue—a nurse and an EMT. They were there to support me until the ambulance came.”

India Adams, 30
Philanthropic affiliations: Membership, SPAC Junior Committee; Committee Member, Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Summer Gala; Yaddo; The Hyde Collection; Make-A-Wish Foundation
One thing you’d change about the world: “I’d give everyone a dose of empathy.”

Amanda Ettinger, 29
Philanthropic affiliations: Treasurer, SPAC Junior Committee; Committee Member, Kelly’s Angels’ 10 Years of Love Gala
First philanthropic experience: “My church always used to have the Christmas tree with the tags on it to provide different gifts to the community. My parents would always go in towards the end of the Christmas season and make sure that everyone was taken care of.”

Ashley Budd, 34
Philanthropic affiliations: Secretary, SPAC Junior Committee
A time someone showed you compassion: “About five years ago, I was in a place where I knew I needed to move home and take care of my father, who was sick. I had just started a new job and had this new, big, exciting career path laid out for myself, and I went to my employer and said, ‘Situations are changing at home; I’m an only child, and I need to go take care of my dad, and I need to know if I need to look for another job or if I can move back to Saratoga and work remotely.’ I’m still with that employer, Cornell University.”

Caitlin Goetz, 34
Philanthropic affiliations: President, SPAC Junior Committee
First philanthropic experience: “I’m a Penn Stater, and we have Thon, which raises money for pediatric cancer and is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. So my dance company had dancers dance for 46 hours to raise money for the kids.”

Katrina Railton, 38
Philanthropic affiliations: Vice President, SPAC Junior Committee; Double H Ranch; Ainsley’s Angels of America
A time someone showed you compassion: “When I was a child, we were living in Florida, and our house was destroyed by a tornado. A lot of people in the community came and helped us clean up and rebuild so that we could get back in our home.”

To check out the vertical images of our “10 Under 40” honorees and the charities they’re representing, click on the top photo and flip through the gallery. Want to give to their charities? Come to saratoga living‘s first annual “Saratoga Gives Back” party on Thursday, December 12, at Putnam Place from 6-9pm. Fifty-percent of ticket proceeds go to your choice of one of the 10 amazing charities that our honorees are representing. To purchase tickets, click here.                    


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