Rochester Education Foundation is focused on raising resources to help city school students succeed. We are independent and non-partisan. We also are legally and functionally independent of the Rochester City School District. REF is a 501(c)(3) corporation; all contributions are tax deductible to the full extent provided by law.

REF is governed by a board of directors drawn from the community, and advised by an Advisory Council. Day-to-day activities of the organization are overseen by the Executive Director.


  • Stuart Hencke, Executive Director

  • Patricia Braus, Director of Policy & Strategy

  • Joan Gerrity, Special Projects

Board of Directors

Todd Allen // Retired

Cheri Ancello // Retired, Xerox Corporation

Christine Casalinuovo-Adams //Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management, Monroe Community College

Diane Caselli // Attorney, University of Rochester

Edward Cavalier // Retired Principal RCSD/Former CEO, Charter School

Julie Cook (Vice-Chair)// Attorney and Compliance Specialist, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

Katherine Dexter//Realtor, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

Lori Florack // Director of Talent Management and Administration, Excellus BCBS

Fernando Garrido-Ferrari // Program Manager: Central America/Latin America Region Communications Systems, Harris Corporation

Anthony Green // Deputy to the Provost, University of Rochester

Laurie Haelen // Senior Vice President, Investment Officer, Wealth Strategies Group, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co.

Marty Jacobson // Relationship Manager, Advantage Federal Credit Union

Sara M. Kelly, Ph.D. (Board Secretary) // Interim Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, The College at Brockport, SUNY

Joseph M. Levy (Board Treasurer)// Retired, Xerox Corporation

Robert R. Neale. (Chair) // Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

Deidre Strutz // Assistant Director of Financial Aid, The College at Brockport, SUNY

Mark D. Wagner // Director, Provider Reimbursement Operations, Excellus BCBS

Advisory Council

Dan Burns // Rochester President, M&T Bank

Walter Cooper, Ph.D // Retired Kodak scientist, former New York State Board of Regents member, community activist

Jennifer Leonard // President and CEO, Rochester Area Community Foundation