Leadership

The Rochester Women’s Giving Circle leadership is provided by a Steering Committee with co-chairs and standing committee chairs, most of whom serve a two-year term. Our current team is:

Circle Co-Chairs

Melinda Andolina, a member since 2009 has served on the Grant Making Committee, chaired the Hunter Derby fundraiser in 2014 raising $7500 for our grants, and was the chair of the Membership Committee. Melinda is a native of Rochester, NY who retired in 2009 from a 28-year career as an insurance executive with Chubb Insurance with responsibility for developing commercial business in western New York. She is an avid horsewoman and competes with her own horse at local and state horse shows. She uses that talent in her volunteer work at Heritage Christian Stables in their therapeutic riding program for people with disabilities and she now serves as a board member at Heritage Christian Services Foundation. Melinda has done extensive fund raising and volunteer work for Bridges to Community, building homes for people in remote areas of Nicaragua.

Shirley King is a founding member of the RWGC and has served as co-chair since 2007. She is a previous Co-chair of the Grant Making Committee. Shirley had a twenty-year career with Mobil Oil & Chemical Company and held multiple positions as an HR Generalist as well as in Training and Development. She was Manager, Training and Organizational Development for Mobil Chemical Company for five years. Her final assignment was Manager, Training and Organizational Development for Mobil Oil, Canada. Prior to Mobil, Shirley worked for General Motors and NY State Department of Labor. She was a board member of Gilda’s Club and has also served on the boards of the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley and the Women’s Career Center. She was a mentor at Wilson Commencement Park. In 2015 Shirley received the YWCA of Rochester's "Empowering Women Award" acknowledging her contributions to helping area women gain economic self sufficiency.

Grantmaking Co-chairs

Joanne Giuffrida has been a member of the Giving Circle since 2011. In 2013, she accepted responsibility as co-chair of the Grantmaking Committee. She is currently a consultant providing human resources and management services to local government and non-profit agencies. In her past professional life, Joanne worked for the City of Rochester as an employment manager, benefits manager, administrative analyst, and administrative assistant. She was Director of Personnel and Civil Service for Monroe County. She has been Director of Human Resources for Preferred Care, the Rush Henrietta Central School District, and the Rochester City School District. She also has served as Board of Education President for the Rochester City School District.

Nancy Bloom has been a member of the RWGC since 2011. She has served on the Grant-making Committee since she joined the Giving Circle and was appointed co-chair in 2014. She is currently a business consultant focusing on strategic and operational analysis, market positioning and financial management. Nancy had a fifteen year career with Pfizer and held various management positions, including Vice President of Finance for the Research Division and Director of New Products for US Pharmaceuticals. Nancy teaches World of Business and Organizational Behavior at RIT’s Saunders School of Business. Her previous community work included advising the Jewish Family Service of Rochester, tutoring for Horizons at Harley and serving as chair of Let’s Read, a literacy initiative of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

Operations Chair

Alyce Van Patten is a founding member of the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle. She has served as co-chair of the Circle, co-chair of grant making and currently is the Operations Chair and Partner Coordinator. Alyce is on the boards of Zonta, RESOLVE, the Coffee Connection and Friendship Children’s Center. Alyce is a PALS mentor for Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester and past co-chair of Player Housing & Registration for the LGPA. She held various management positions in Launch and Customer Satisfaction at Xerox and patient satisfaction at Rochester General Health System for 36 years. As RWGC's Operations chair Alyce oversees all financial accounting and reporting, track membership, ensure the update and inventory of all materials representing the Giving Circle, as well as maintain and document RWGC’s history. In her spare time, you’ll find her traveling the country in her RV, reading historical novels, biking, golfing or spending time with her seven grandchildren.

Communications Chair

Nancy Nowak Rutherford is a Rochester area native and grew up in Irondequoit. She was a member of the Grant Making Committee for a year before becoming chair of the Communications Committee in 2009. She taught junior high school English for 18 years in East Irondequoit and Fairport before leaving to raise her family. She has been a long time volunteer at the Planned Parenthood of Rochester and Syracuse Region. She has been active in alumnae affairs at William Smith College and is a former president of the Alumnae Council.

Jolene Smith has been a member of the RWGC since 2010. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Communications Committee. Jolene comes to the RWGC after a career in education. She taught American history and government at Fairport High School for 25 years, and was responsible for bringing many innovative programs to the district including the prestigious International Baccalaureate. During her tenure she also developed a more comprehensive approach to teacher assessment, specialized programs for the gifted and talented, and curricula for many new course offerings. Her philanthropic interests include the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House where she has been a docent for 18 years. At the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, she co-founded the Friends of Susan B. Anthony, chaired fund-raising projects, and served on the Strategic Planning Commission. As a former teacher of history and government Jolene enjoys following current events and politics, but her lifelong cause remains equal opportunity for women.

Program Assessment Co-chairs

Ann Johnson joined the Giving Circle in 2012 as its 100th member. She served on the 2012 Grantmaking Committee and in 2013, after facilitating RWGC’s second five year strategic planning process, assumed the role of Chair for the Education Committe and recently assumed the role of co-chair of the Program Assessment Committee. Ann currently directs ACT Rochester, a community indicator program and initiative of Rochester Area Community Foundation. A native of Massachusetts, Ann worked in a variety of senior management positions at Xerox Corporation, GE and IBM. She also served as director of the West Virginia Governor’s Office of Community and Industrial Development. Ann is an active member of both Facing Race, Embracing Equity and the YWCA Racial Justice Committee. She also serves as an advocate on the Governor’s Finger Lakes Youth Justice Council.

Susan Halpern has been a member of the giving circle since 2013 and has been both a partner to several grant recipients and a member of the grantmaking committee. Susan is a financial planner with UBS Financial Services and holds the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. She is a member of Collaborative Law of Rochester. Prior to UBS, Susan was at Manning & Napier for 8 years. Before moving to Rochester in 1998, she worked at Merrill Lynch in both New York and Princeton in various capacities. Susan is currently a volunteer at the Jewish Community Center as a member of the Finance Committee and serves as treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee at the Alzheimers Association of Rochester as well as head of the Finance Committee. As an outdoor runner in all seasons, you might see her running around the 12 Corners/Pittsford area. Susan also enjoys traveling, golf, spending time baking and cooking in her kitchen and especially watching her beloved Buffalo Bills each Sunday.

Membership Chair

Nancy Hessler joined the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle in late 2012. She has become active with the Membership Committee and served on the second five year strategic planning committee. Nancy has been a leadership effectiveness consultant for the past 12 years. Prior to that, Nancy served in various Human Resources leadership roles for Xerox Corporation, Rochester Gas and Electric, and Nortel Networks for 22 years and as the Dean of Students at the Eastman School of Music for 8 years. She continues to serve on not-for-profit boards and participates in multiple fund raising activities. Nancy spends much of her free time outside, downhill skiing, long distance bicycling, hiking, kayaking and gardening.