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Lifetime Assistance Marking 40 Years, Presenting Awards to Tom Golisano and Donna Lowry

Back row – Lifetime Assistance Board Members Donna Lowry, Tom Smithgall and Don Furey. Front – Cori Piels. Photo provided

By Yolanda Clark –

Lifetime Assistance, a local agency serving people with developmental disabilities is celebrating 40 years of community service this year.

To highlight this milestone the organization will be hosting several activities including “The Heart of Lifetime—a collection of messages of what Lifetime means to families, donors, businesses and the community—and an anniversary celebration for their 700 plus staff members, service recipients and guests to be held on Friday, September 28 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The organization will present awards to local philanthropist Tom Golisano, of the Golisano Foundation and Donna Lowry, a founder of Lifetime Assistance along with her husband Don.

“Lifetime has achieved incredible success in 40 years; the most important being measured by the thousands of lives that we have forever changed,” noted Jamie Branciforte, Lifetime President and CEO. “For example, Cori Piels, a young woman who we have supported for many years, came to America from Mother Theresa’s orphanage in India. She was adopted by a Rochester family, has been employed by Lifetime Assistance, spoke to the United Nations, and now has moved into her own apartment. She continues to amaze us and blossom. And we hear stories like that every day, of people who are living fulfilling lives with independence.”

The company started with a single location in Brockport, NY in 1978 as a day treatment program for 32 people and has since grown to become the region’s largest agency serving more than 1,800 people with developmental disabilities.

Advocating for Inclusion in Housing, Employment and the Community
Lifetime Assistance has been an advocate for inclusion, working with dozens of community businesses, creating opportunities for partnerships and employment. Through these partnerships, an understanding of the vast amount of talent and skill among individuals with developmental disabilities has been developed, providing more opportunities for inclusion and success.

“The inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in employment, housing and the community was unheard of 40 years ago,” Branciforte said. “We have come a long way since then.”
Entrepreneurial and Collaborative

Entrepreneurial and Collaborative
In a field that is laden with red tape, mandates and regulations, funding and staffing shortages, Branciforte says the company continues to navigate those challenges, changing attitudes and perceptions about people with disabilities. One of the ways they have done this is by creating partnerships with others with common motivations, beliefs and challenges.

“This is a tremendously complex environment, so we can accomplish a lot more by working with peer agencies, board members, and community leaders, than we ever would alone,” added Branciforte. ”It is an uphill climb to begin with. We wouldn’t be able to succeed without those collaborations and common direction, energy and hard work, getting the investment from many people. We are grateful to all those who have stood with us over these past 40 years. They have helped us become a strong, spirited entrepreneurial organization that helps those in need lead inclusive, meaningful lives.”