(NEWS10) – If there’s one common theme we hear from all of our “Remarkable Women” finalists, it’s the encouragement for others to volunteer. Cindy Phillippe learned from the best role model.
“I was inspired to volunteer by my mother,” Cindy told NEWS10. Her volunteer work started with the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter in 1973 and has lasted through the decades since then.
“Hands-on volunteering is just so meaningful,” as she recalled her volunteer work with a variety of causes.
When there wasn’t one fulfilling the needs of her community, Cindy became co-founder of the Niskayuna Community Foundation in 1999.
“There are problems in Niskayuna just like in any community, there are people who need food, there are people who need clothes there are people with disabilities who have needs, there are senior citizens who need help with their homes.”
On The Niskayuna Community Foundation Day of Service, they placed 150 volunteers in 15 non-profits to help them out.
Over 20 years, the organization has given $350,000 in grants, $79,000 in scholarships to students and $80,000 in awards to dozens of teachers.
“That’s a lot farther than we ever thought we could go so we’re very proud of that.”
Many of her efforts have gone further than she ever thought, including the Niskayuna High School After Prom that provides a safe space for students long after her own children graduated, “And it worked and it’s still working to this day.”
Cindy’s most recent work has been with the Boys and Girls Club.
“The staff is so wonderful,” she said recounting what drew her to the group, “and they are so nurturing and really the club is a lifeline for children who need help the most.”
If you’re wondering why Cindy continues to look for those who need help, when she could be enjoying retirement and the company of her children and grandchildren, she shares one of her inspirations, a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others,’ I think that no matter how big the volunteer commitment or how small, everyone can make a positive impact on people and their community. There’s nothing that makes you feel better than helping people.”