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Wishmaking Monthly
Officially Jacob's Day
This was officially Jacob’s day.

Wish granters came to the Make-A-Wish Northeast New York wish kid’s Schenectady home to give him his wish – an iPad with his accessories. But there was more.

The city’s Mayor, Gary R. McCarthy, was also on hand to present the family with a proclamation, stating this day was officially “Jacob Lall Day” in Schenectady. In addition, the clock tower at City Hall would be lit in Make-A-Wish blue in his honor that night.

“It’s always a pleasant side of the job,” the mayor said of taking part in the wish.

And there was still more for this 8-year-old. His original transportation-themed wish – he loves everything involving wheels – had to be shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So, the wheels were brought to him in the form of a surprise parade past his home involving police, fire and sheriff's vehicles, a CDTA trolley bus, and volunteers in decorated cars. 

“This is the first time we have ever done this type of parade,” Make-A-Wish Northeast New York CEO William C. Trigg, III, said.

Jacob, whose favorite song is “Wheels On the Bus,” grew excited as the parade rolled by, to the joy of grateful wish mom Laura.

“It made me cry. He made me cry,” she said. “I knew he would jump up once he saw the bus. He loves the bus."

The mom said the wish and surprise parade made Jacob’s day officially perfect.

“Thank you to Make-A-Wish for making this day happen and making him so happy,” she said. “Thank you to the mayor, the police – everyone – thank you for all these blessings today.”
Clifford Rises to Board Chair
At the Make-A-Wish Northeast New York Board of Trustees annual meeting this week, Vice Chair Lisa M. Clifford was elected chair. As of Sept. 1 she replaces Sarah A. McKinney, who completed her two-year term as chair and will stay on the board.

Robert Roemer was elected vice chair, while Jennifer M. Boll and David A. Druzynski were re-elected to the positions of treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Ms. Clifford is senior vice president and a family wealth strategist and wealth advisor with Key Private Bank, Capital Region. She is responsible for building investment management and trust relationships in the Capital Region as part of Key’s comprehensive wealth management services.

Ms. Clifford holds the Certified Private Wealth Advisor certification administered by the Investments & Wealth Institute® and the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor® certification through the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors®. In addition to Make-A-Wish, she is vice president of Wildwood Foundation.

Mr. Roemer is CAP COM Federal Credit Union’s senior vice President of systems delivery and was very actively involved with building the credit union's new headquarters. He currently oversees the Information Technology Software Engineering, Quality Assurance and Project Management teams as well as the Administration and Facilities department.

In addition to supporting Make-A-Wish as a Trustee, he has also attained wish granter status and is actively granting wishes along with his wife, Theresa. In prior roles, Mr. Roemer volunteered for Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County and the Albany Police Athletic League Board.

Ms. Boll is a member of the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC. She has extensive experience handling a broad array of corporate, tax and estate matters.

In addition to her legal practice, Ms. Boll is a lecturer for the MS in taxation program at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she teaches courses on federal, state and interstate taxation. She is also an adjunct professor at Albany Law School, where she teaches courses on corporate tax, state and local tax and estate planning. Ms. Boll is a frequent lecturer on various tax topics for the New York State Bar Association and for various trade and other bar associations as well as the New York State Society of CPAs.

Mr. Druzynski is vice president of People and Culture at DealerSocket, a leading provider of software for the automotive industry. He is responsible for the development of company culture, employee engagement and change management. Prior to the acquisition by DealerSocket, Mr. Druzynski was the chief people officer at Auto/Mate Dealership Systems where he led all Human Resources functions. 

A member of the Make-A-Wish Northeast New York Board of Trustees since 2015, Mr. Druzynski is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Business Management/Information Systems, and holds both his SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.
TOP: New Board of Trustees Chair Lisa M. Clifford; ABOVE: new Vice Chair Robert Roemer; RIGHT: Treasurer Jennifer M. Boll and Secretary David A. Druzynski.
A Virtually Different #WalkForWishes
Like so much of 2020, our 7th Annual Walk For Wishes had to be different – leading to our theme for the year “Walk Apart…Wish Together!”

And that’s exactly what we did.

We still gathered with friends, sponsors, wish families and more at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium – but only to shoot a kickoff video that aired on Facebook Live, and to hand out the Walk T-shirts and swag that participants worked so hard to earn by raising money. In fact, the Walk For Wishes teams averaged more than $1,300 raised!

Teams still gathered to walk together on Aug. 1. But instead of assembling at The Joe, they mustered at parks and in neighborhoods, on mountains and even youth ball fields. Even when we can’t gather in one place, the communities of people that surround our wish kids continue to prove that the power of a wish extends far beyond the wish child, or even their immediate family.

To all those who supported the 2020 Walk For Wishes – we say “Thank You!” Together, we raised more than $55,000 for wishes!
These funds will be put to immediate use to grant the wishes that can safely be granted now, as well as to keep hope bright for those waiting for their wishes to be granted.

A special thank you to all of our sponsors who made this year’s event possible, including our Presenting Sponsor – Upstate Chevy Dealers, Joy Sponsor – The Stewart’s Dake Family Foundation, Strength Sponsors – Adirondack Beverages and CDPHP, Joy Sponsor – The Property Shop, and Star Sponsor – Community Resource Federal Credit Union. We also thank our Venue Partner, the Tri-City ValleyCats, Media Partner, B95.5 and HIXNY for their donation of water!
A Wish a Long Time Coming
The activities that packed Cheyenne’s fun-filled day were a ruse in order to complete the 15-year-old’s wish – a new above-ground swimming pool – by the time she got back to her Cobleskill home.

But she says she figured it out.

“I knew it!” the teen squealed in delight as she entered her backyard, where she was greeted by cheering socially distanced family members, a DJ and confetti cannons.

Cheyenne’s July 1 wish is the first granted by Make-A-Wish Northeast New York since mid-March and the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The day included a trip to Adirondack Animal Land in Vails Mills, lunch and shopping. Cheyenne, mom Amber, 8-year-old sister Danica and family friend and teacher Rhea returned to see not just a backyard pool, but a wish that will make a difference in the lives of Cheyenne, who has a nervous system disorder and cerebral palsy, and her family.

“It will be something to do together – family time,” Amber said. “Hopefully, it will also be therapy. It will be good for her legs."
Seeking Schools, Businesses for Annual AAWC

As we gear up for the 28th Annual Adopt-A-Wish Holiday Campaign kicking off in November, we are looking for schools and business interested in selling stars featuring our wish ambassadors for donations to Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. Your participation can be in-person or virtual: We are more than flexible. If you are interested in being a vital part of this critically important fundraiser, contact Development Manager Jennifer Cullen at 518-456-9474 or
Park Hosts Holiday Campaign TV Shoot

Due to the pandemic and safety concerns, The Crossings in Colonie rather than a TV studio provided the backdrop for our television commercial shoot for the Adopt-A-Wish Holiday Campaign. You will learn more about our Capital Region ambassadors Madison, Sydney, Laney, Elijah, Evan and Jaden (pictured) in the months ahead. Thanks go out to them and our media partner WRGB CBS6 Albany.
Wish Granter Training Slated
for September

If you ever contemplated being a volunteer wish granter, here is your chance to act. The next round of wish granter virtual training will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

We are especially interested in wish granters from the southern, western and northern reaches of our
15-county chapter, but everyone is welcome. To register, contact Ray Gawlak, manager of volunteer engagement, at 518-456-9474 or
In Most Uncertain Times, a Reassuring Constant
As she completes her two-year tenure as Board Chair at the end of this month, Sarah A. McKinney deserves our gratitude for the passion and insight she has brought to the role. We are fortunate that she will be retaining her seat on the Board of Trustees for one more term of service to the chapter.

Ascending from Vice Chair to Board Chair for the next two years is Lisa M. Clifford, an accomplished Key Private Bank executive whose business acumen, nonprofit board experience and generous commitment to the Make-A-Wish mission will ensure her success leading the Board of Trustees through August 2022.  

This leadership transition takes place in the midst of a health crisis that has impacted our country and the Make-A-Wish enterprise in ways we could never have imagined. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its seventh month, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York has had to reconfigure its business plans and pivot its approach to everything from granting wishes to raising money to managing our day-to-day operations. But through the turmoil and uncertainty wrought by the ever-changing nature of this health crisis, there is one constant our wish kids and families have been able to count on: The commitment of our stakeholders – from donors to doctors, volunteers to staff, and business enterprises to local communities – to ensuring that our efforts to grant the heartfelt wish of every eligible child in our chapter will move forward!

As I have said before, we will not allow the hopes and dreams of our wish kids to become a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic! The leadership and dedication of our Board of Trustees, staff and YOU are among the reasons behind this pledge. Our appreciation for all of you, and for all you have done to support our mission during these past six months cannot be overstated. Thank you for your steadfast support and belief in the healing power of Make-A-Wish. 

With immense gratitude,

Bill Trigg

CEO, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York