Foundation News

December 4, 2023

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Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation Give $5 Million to Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing to Expand Reach & Impact

Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing

Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation are pleased to announce a gift of $5 million to support the continued growth and expansion of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing at the St. John Fisher University Wegmans School of Nursing.

The gift, $4 million from Golisano and $1 million from the Foundation will bolster the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing's work to positively impact more than one million health encounters for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) over the next 10 years.

"I am grateful to Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation for their trust and belief in the unique work of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, which is transforming the quality of health care for individuals with IDD on a regional, national, and global scale,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of Fisher. “We are honored to partner with Tom and the Foundation and to join them in their continuing commitment to advancing this work on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

This new gift builds on a $5.8 million investment from Golisano and the Golisano Foundation in 2018 to fund the creation of the Institute, which is celebrating its fifth-anniversary milestone. The University has also concurrently committed to investing in its future and working to broaden its impact by funding an additional $5 million.

“Fisher has clearly demonstrated its commitment to improving health care for people with developmental disabilities by preparing the next generation of nurses and thought leaders with field-specific skills and knowledge. Tom and the Foundation appreciate the thoughtful approach and use of expertise to develop specialized content, activate leaders, and deploy educational materials across health systems effectively over the next five years of this award,” said Erica Dayton, executive director of the Golisano Foundation.

Nurses are the largest segment of the healthcare workforce and those most frequently caring for patients with IDD, yet historically, there has been little educational content and clinical experiences that specifically address the needs of this unique patient population. Additionally, research conducted by government, academic, and other entities have documented that there are significant health disparities between individuals with IDD and the general population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the barriers facing individuals with IDD is providers’ lack of knowledge and understanding of their unique needs and challenges.

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About Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation

Tom Golisano, — entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader — is the founder of Paychex, Inc., the nation’s largest human resource company for small to medium-sized businesses, providing integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services for more than 740,000 clients in the U.S. and Europe. Mr. Golisano’s vision, perseverance, and action have left an indelible mark on a broad spectrum of issues that touch our lives - in business, healthcare, education, voter policies, politics, and tax reform. His continuing investments are helping drive the success of numerous businesses and start-ups. His philanthropic contributions to hospitals — including three children’s hospitals that bear his name — and numerous educational institutions and other organizations exceed $335 million. He has dedicated more than $95 million to advancing inclusive health around the world. 

A fierce advocate for dignity and inclusion, in 1985 Tom Golisano applied his pioneering spirit to establish the Golisano Foundation to make the world a better place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With more than $60 million in gross assets, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. devoted to supporting programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities awarding about $3 million annually to non-profit organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida.

About St. John Fisher University

St. John Fisher University is a comprehensive liberal arts institution that provides a transformative education to approximately 3,800 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students each year. Across its five Schools, Fisher offers nearly 40 majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business, education, and nursing; 11 pre-professional programs; and master’s and doctoral programs in business, nursing, education, and pharmacy. Located just beyond Rochester, New York, the University’s 160-acre residential campus boasts a robust living and learning community and through online offerings, attracts students from more than 30 states.


An independent institution today, the University was founded by the Congregation of St. Basil in 1948 and celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023. As Fisher moves forward into the future, it stays true to its Catholic heritage and honors the Basilians by embracing their motto, “Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge.”