Albany Med Announces "Partners in Leadership" Awards


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Albany Med Announces "Partners in Leadership" Awards

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March 9, 2009 - Albany , NY

ALBANY, N.Y., March 9, 2009-The Albany Medical Center Foundation, Inc. has given the 2008 Partners in Leadership awards to two prominent philanthropists and a business with a distinguished history of charitable giving. Jacqueline Dunbar Grande was honored with the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award, Neil Lempert, M.D., was awarded the Alden March Award for Public Service to Health Care, and Troy's Franklin Plaza was named Distinguished Corporate Philanthropist of the Year.

The awards were presented at the Foundation's Partners in Leadership reception, which was held on Wednesday, March 4 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Albany Medical Center.

"Albany Medical Center's success has-and always will-depend upon our community ,partners'-those who understand the importance of Albany Medical Center to our region, and who continue to champion our cause," said James J. Barba, president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center. "The Medical Center is privileged to be the beneficiary of such extraordinary community support and generosity as demonstrated by this year's Partners in Leadership award recipients. We are grateful."

Neil Lempert, M.D., a 1958 graduate of Albany Medical College, founded Albany Med's renal transplant program in 1967 and led the team that performed northeastern New York's first kidney transplant. He served as director of transplantation for more than 25 years and remains committed to ensuring the success of the program, which performed its 2000th kidney transplant in 2008. Additionally, Dr. Lempert has established two important funds through his charitable contributions-the Schaffer Library Mollie and David Lempert Division, in memory of his parents, and the Dr. Neil Lempert Endowed Chair in Surgery, which was officially activated at the professorship level in 2005.

A business born and bred in the Capital Region, Franklin Plaza operates under the leadership of founder Michael Cocca, President Michael Fusco, and Vice President Joe Galuski. Located in one of Troy's historic buildings, Franklin Plaza has hosted some of Albany Med's most prestigious events, including the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research reception and the Partners in Leadership awards ceremony. Most notably, Franklin Plaza employees have donated their time and culinary expertise for more than 20 years to the Dancing in the Woods black-tie gala. Franklin Plaza's charitable in-kind gifts to Albany Medical Center alone total more than half a million dollars.   

Jacqueline Dunbar Grande, senior vice president of client relations for the Ayco Company, L.P., began volunteering at Albany Med in 1992 when she joined the Dancing in the Woods Committee. After a decade of service, Dunbar Grande was nominated to the Albany Medical Center Foundation Board. She also has worked to engage the community in events to benefit the Alzheimer's Center at Albany Med, serving as chair of Albany Med's Friends of Alzheimer's as well as honorary host of the June Bryant Dunbar Alzheimer's Luncheon, named in honor of her mother who has the disease. In addition to her volunteerism, Dunbar Grande has made significant financial contributions in support of the Alzheimer's Center.

The annual event also recognized all donors who made a gift of $1,000 or more to the Medical Center last year. In 2008, nearly 750 "partners"-individuals, businesses and foundations-contributed to Albany Medical Center's Annual Fund and to capital projects.

Albany Medical Center is northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center. It consists of Albany Medical College, Albany Medical Center Hospital and the Albany Medical Center Foundation, Inc. Additional information about Albany Medical Center can be found at


Media Inquiries:

Kristen  Cook

(518) 262 - 3421

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