The East Hill Foundation is a privately-funded family foundation, which evolved out of the Greatbatch family’s tradition of stewardship. Funding was initiated through small grants out of the family-owned business, Wilson Greatbatch Ltd. In 1986 with the help of Peter Greatbatch, Eleanor and Wilson’s youngest son, the East Hill Foundation was established. The family’s hope was to further the tradition of stewardship which could be enhanced and passed on to future generations. With the sale of Wilson Greatbatch Ltd. in 1997 and the abrupt death of the Executive Director, Peter Greatbatch in 1998, the Foundation was restructured. Ami Greatbatch joined the Board of Directors and was appointed Co-Chairman with her husband Warren Greatbatch. The Foundation’s area of interest was extended to the eight counties of Western New York. In 1999, Michele Schmidt joined the Foundation as the full-time Grants Director.
The Board of Directors, throughout its history, has been made up of mostly family members. The Board is now comprised of seven Board members (four family members and three non-family members).
In 1999, the Board of Directors decided that it was time to involve the rest of the family. Since the family was geographically dispersed, it was difficult for many of the family members to feel included in the Foundation’s activities. Therefore, the Family/Board Sponsored Grant Program was established. Family members (over age 21), Board members and current Staff members may annually sponsor grants to charitable 501(c)(3) organizations in the United States. Family, Board and Staff generate their own grant opportunities by personally inviting charities to apply to East Hill Foundation.
The Foundation went through another change in 2004 when Eleanor Greatbatch made a significant donation to the endowment. The Board hired Jenny Pierce (part-time) to create a program that focused on educating and involving the next generation of the Greatbatch family.
In 2007, the E & W G Foundation became a subsidiary of East Hill Foundation. The E & W G Foundation was founded by Eleanor & Wilson Greatbatch in 1975. Anne Sweeney coordinated the E & W G Foundation grants in the Akron, Clarence, Newstead and Alden communities.
In 2010, Kenneth Dulian was hired to develop a Sustainable Funding Program for WNY nonprofit organizations. This program funds training for local nonprofits to learn fundraising to become more self-sustainable.
In January 2011, one of the founders of East Hill Foundation, Eleanor Greatbatch passed away. Eleanor’s husband Wilson passed away in September 2011.
In 2011, Island Street Foundation, Inc. was established to elevate the philanthropic efforts of Western New York charities and to enrich and preserve local historic, architectural and environmental resources. Island Street Foundation, Inc. is a subsidiary of East Hill Foundation and is located at 17 Island Street, North Tonawanda, NY.
In 2012, East Hill Foundation and E & W G Foundation combined offices in Williamsville, NY. Rick Grosskopf joined East Hill Foundation in 2012 as the property manager for the new North Tonawanda location. In 2013, the Foundation moved the office to 17 Island Street, North Tonawanda, NY. E & W G Foundation adopted the same mission as East Hill Foundation in 2013. In September 2015, Kenneth Dulian was promoted to Executive Director.
In 2016, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper opened a satellite office at the East Hill Foundation office at 17 Island Street. Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper provides environmental education programs to the public (including kayaking) at the 17 Island Street location. Additionally in 2016, East Hill Foundation celebrated 30 Years of Giving! Since 1986, East Hill Foundation has provided grants to improve the quality of life for the residents in our local community and in other US locations where the family members live and work. A 30-year timeline is available in the power point presentation: East Hill Foundation Family Mtg
East Hill Foundation and E & W G Foundation grant funding is currently divided into four components: Western New York Grants, Family/Board/Staff Sponsored Grants, North Tonawanda Grants and Impact Grants.