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Donor Story | Nancy & Michael Griffin

Nancy and Michael Griffin know what matters most: family and friends, careers and community. And the good health to make the most of these things.

Through a charitable bequest to the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation, they are making a lasting impact on the community they love, by making sure their friends, neighbors and those who will live, work and raise families here in the future, will have the access to the same high-quality healthcare that they have had.

“We are so fortunate to have a great hospital and first-rate healthcare programs in our rural community,” says Nancy. “It’s something that cannot be taken for granted.”

How it Started For nearly 35 years, Nancy and Michael have made the North Country their home.

“When we first moved to the area we thought we would be here for a couple of years,” recalls Nancy. “But like so many people who come here, we decided to stay because we grew to love the community so much.”

It was in the early 1980s, when Michael and Nancy met as graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in communication at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. “We decided that when we graduated, whoever got the first job, the other would follow,” recalls Michael.

Nancy received the first offer. It was 1983, when she drove up to Potsdam to interview for a position as a graphic designer at SUNY Potsdam. That turned out to be the first and only job interview she has ever had.

Over the next three decades, Nancy and Michael built their careers; she continued at SUNY, eventually serving as a major gifts officer, while he assumed leadership roles in marketing and media relations at Clarkson University. Both retired earlier this year.

When Community is a Priority

As they climbed the professional ladder at their respective institutions, they always made community leadership and service a priority. “I think it goes back to the way we were raised,” says Michael. “Both of us have been volunteering and fundraising since our student days.”

Michael has been an active member and officer of the Rotary Club since 1986, while Nancy helped to rebuild the Kiwanis Club. That led to the couple’s involvement as founding board members of the newly incorporated Potsdam Holiday Fund in 2003. Other nonprofits related to the arts, education and animal welfare have also benefitted from the Griffins’ support.

But it is their support of Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH) and ongoing commitment to regional healthcare that promises to be their lasting gift to the community.

For more than 20 years, Michael and Nancy have supported CPH through volunteering and annual giving.  “Healthcare was always on our radar but it really wasn’t until 2004, when I required emergency care, that I personally experienced what it means to have great medical care so close to home,” says Michael. “Not long after, Nancy experienced an illness that required serious medical treatment. We were so grateful for the level of care we received that we began to rethink the level of our commitment to the hospital.”

A Lasting Legacy

Today, Michael is a member of the board of directors for both CPH and the St. Lawrence Health System, chairing the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety committee, while Nancy has recently been elected to the board of the CPH Foundation.

“This is an important time in rural healthcare,” says Michael. “Today, quality and results count more than ever. Consumer models have shifted and expectations have changed so we must work harder to provide care and deliver it in ways that best suit our patients.”

“That also means recruiting the best doctors and medical personnel to our region,” he says. “And we are fortunate to be able to do that.”

The Griffins made a charitable bequest to the CPH Foundation that will support healthcare in the years to come.

Through their leadership giving, the Griffins hope to inspire others in the community to consider the impact of CPH in their own lives and provide support for the Hospital’s future.

“It is important to make annual gifts, but making CPH a part of your estate planning is an easy way to provide for its future,” says Nancy. “If enough people did this, think of the impact it would have and how it would transform our rural healthcare system.”