Pioneer Marks Giving Tuesday by Presenting $20,000 in Donations, Launching Clothing Drive to Help Capital Region Children in Need


Five years after its formation, Pioneer’s Charitable Foundation has now reached $1.6M in giving, supporting more than 400 local organizations focused on ‘Helping Kids be Kids’

Albany, New York – Pioneer, a leading financial institution in New York’s Capital Region, today marked the national observance of Giving Tuesday by presenting $20,000 in donations to support local nonprofit organizations working to enrich the health and welfare of children in need. Founded in 2018 with a mission of “Helping Kids be Kids,” the Pioneer Charitable Foundation has now reached $1.6 million in giving over its first 5 years, providing vital funding to more than 400 nonprofits that offer housing, nutrition and health care services, along with educational, social and recreational programs, to assist vulnerable children in the Capital Region.

During a ceremony at Pioneer’s headquarters in Albany, NY, donations of $5,000 were made to each of  four local nonprofits: Green Island Little League, which has provided a safe place for children to play and grow for 70 years; Innovation Station in Ravena, created to inspire children’s love of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math); Jake’s Help From Heaven of Saratoga Springs, which provides mobility & communications equipment for children with spina bifida, among other support for those with multiple medical challenges and disabilities; and Sleep in Heavenly Peace of Mechanicville, which builds, assembles and delivers beds to children in need.

“These incredible people and organizations are truly unsung heroes in our region, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to support their essential efforts,” said Pioneer President and CEO Tom Amell. “What makes these donations particularly special is that they’re funded entirely by our employees, who care deeply about our community, are committed to helping those less fortunate, and are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families in need.”

The awards are funded through “Pioneers with Purpose” grants, which are fully supported by employee donations made throughout the year. Employees can apply for a grant for a nonprofit with which they are involved, and a committee of Pioneer employees selects the recipients.  

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from Pioneer, which is recognized as a longstanding community champion and staunch advocate for children in need,” said Heather Straughter, President of Jake’s Help From Heaven. “At a time when costs are rising and nonprofits are stretched especially thin, this donation will help us ensure that we continue to be able to support individuals with medical challenges and create opportunities for those with disabilities to thrive.”

In addition to financial support, Pioneer employees routinely donate their time – more than 12,000 volunteer hours since 2018 – to further the Pioneer Charitable Foundation’s reach and impact. That includes hosting and participating in numerous events, activities and initiatives, from community service work and quarterly giving drives to signature events like Pioneer’s All Together Forward Week, Grand Carnival, and Mini-Golf Tournament.

“It has been a humbling and rewarding experience to see the growth and impact of the Pioneer Charitable Foundation over its first five years,” said Susan Hollister, Pioneer Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and Co-Chair of the Pioneer Charitable Foundation. “We’re thrilled to support the work of nonprofits that give so much to our community, and excited to continue to build on our mission of ‘Helping Kids be Kids’ in the years to come.”

Also at the event, Pioneer announced the launch of a clothing drive that will collect new winter hats and gloves for children in need. Donations will be accepted at Pioneer’s headquarters on Albany Shaker Road in Colonie and in all of Pioneer’s 22 branches through December 19. This effort is being undertaken as one of Pioneer’s tangible giving drives, which are conducted quarterly and have also included collection and distribution of food and school supplies.

For more information on the Pioneer Charitable Foundation, and/or to make a secure online donation, visit